WINDSOR FOREST PIPS SANA IN FILLIES TRIAL STAKES
Mr Sarosh Mody & trainer P Shroff leading Windsor Forest (Suraj Narredu Up), winner of The Calcutta Fillies Trial Stakes
A clever piece of horsemanship by Suraj Narredu ensured a narrow victory for Pesi Shroff-trained Windsor Forest in the monsoon season’s first classic, The Calcutta Fillies Trial Stakes, run over a distance of 1400m at RCTC on Wednesday. The prize property of Pallon S Mistry (and partners) was a well positioned third at the top of the straight while second favourite Sana was on start-to-finish mission at a scorching pace. Occitan matched strides with the front-runner briefly before crying off. Windsor Forest (Phoenix Tower-Samsa/ Manjri Stud) was a trifle sluggish before the turning for home but Narredu’s stick did the trick. Thereafter, Suraj’s snap decision to take the shortest route home and forge a passage between Sana and the rails won the day for him in a nail-biting finish. The runner-up was courageous in defeat as she came back at her vanquisher with telling strides only to succumb by the proverbial whisker. Both the fillies possess staying blood on their dam’s side and it is left to be seen just how they will fare over the longer trips such as the Monsoon Derby and The winter Oaks. The true victor in such a spectacular race was the wonderful sport of thoroughbred racing.
Despite giving weight all round, Vijay Singh-trained Multitude (Multidimensional-Haedi/ Usha Stud) faced little problem in sailing past front-running Constantine in the six-furlong race for The Calcutta Monsoon Sprint. That Multitude is a cut above his rivals was clearly evident as he picked up a late gallop after stagnating in the straight for a brief period near the distance post, the reason being that Shivalik Storm was travelling a little too close for comfort on his outside and Neeraj obviously did not want an untoward incident in such a small field of four.
Earlier Neeraj had ridden a copybook race astride James McKeown-trained Everybreakingwave to land the spoils in the Sir Aali Handicap. Tracking Adzukis till the straight, Everybreakingwave (Win Legend-Tidal Chorus/ Dashmesh Stud) shot ahead to win comfortably from the favourite Theo.
Vikash Jaiswal-trained Mariska (Multidimensional-Xisca/ Usha Stud) won her maiden race in her 12th career start when she lifted the 2000 metres event for The Slade Valley. Apprentice Nikhil Naidu used his 3kg allowance to good effect as he took the top-weighted mare to the helm of affairs as the gates opened and stayed there all the way. The favourite Antiquarian closed at 11/10 despite this being her first run of the season. She finished on in eye-catching fashion and may well have turned the tables had jockey Anil Banndal not given her so much to do so late.
The outsider of the day was Raunak Banerji-trained King’s Crown (Top Class-Bella/ Mukteshwar Stud) who won the Verge Handicap by a hair’s breadth from the course favourite Ambleside. Apprentice Jorawar Singh got the better of seasoned campaigner Y. Srinath in a close contest. The ones for the notebook are the third and fourth placed runners Warpath and Midnight Magic.
The afternoon commenced with trainer Jasbir Singh’s Sicario (Dancing Forever-Astral/ Hazara Stud) coming good in the hands of the retained stable jockey Mohit Singh. The filly had performed creditably at the end of the winter meet and was given a lung-opener in the monsoon. Thereafter the trainer had prepared her systematically with gate practices and regular morning trackwork. Runner-up Carpe Noctem ran a good second and will be worth keeping an eye on.
Though his gamble on Ambleside came apart, trainer Patrick Quinn had the last laugh as his Amicus Curiae (Phoenix Tower – Tigi/ Manjri Stud) brought the curtain down by bagging the Annihilator Handicap. The filly, with A Imran Khan astride, went on to peg back Monaco’s bid for an encore.