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By Mahendra Mallya | 30 Dec 2018 | HYDERABAD

Mr Baldev Singh & Mr Rajesh Sanghani leading Titus (Suraj Narredu Up), winner of The Umraolal Gupta Memorial Cup

Titus (Green Coast – Sabakh), trained by D Netto, compiled a fine hattrick scoring his third straight win since October. He was off to a smart start and led the field galloping at a crisp pace right from the outset. He was fresh after a six-week break and set off for the final run soon on turning for home. Both Astra and Amazing Response who were close behind, fell back as Titus stretched away from them. Magical Skill and Ambitious Approach churned up some speed to try and make the chase interesting, however, Titus galloped on relentlessly giving neither even a sniff of a chance. Titus won easing up with Ambitious Approach doing well to finish a good second ahead of Magical Skill.

Victory Parade (Top Class – Harmonica) showed out in the paddock and was the pick of the lot. He justified the cramped odds on offer by striking on his debut with an easy start to finish essay, partnered by jockey Suraj Narredu. He made a rush for the lead soon on start and then settled beautifully to dictate the pace. The field of eight raced in two sections with Victory Parade, Shooter and Flamboyant Lady racing well ahead of the rest and did not allow the others that were following to gain on them. 

Victory Parade, trained by D Netto, stepped up acceleration once they turned for home and stretched out nicely to stay well clear, passing the winning post many lengths ahead and with a lot left in the tank. Flamboyant Lady got past Shooter to finish a faraway second. 

Tootsie Roll (Chinese Whisper – Confluence) caused a flutter with a terrific burst of speed at the business end to storm ahead of a fighting bunch of horses and pull of a mind-boggling victory which caught most by surprise. What made it mind-boggling was the fact that Tootsie Roll was last to enter the straight and also took the turn a lot wider than ideal. 
Ikigai, Valle Bloomer and Rutilant were fighting for the lead, while favourite Sarvatra was desperately looking for a clear run, stuck behind these runners. Tootsie Roll, ridden by apprentice Jitendra Singh, picked up speed with 300 to go and sailed past the bunch with surprising ease, to clinch the win the prestigious Telangana & Andhra Sub Area Cup Division I. Within a matter of strides the L D’Silva trainee blasted off to rocket ahead making the others look pedestrian. He won well with a margin of three lengths and his splendid victory has come up after a year and half for Tootsie Roll, taking his win tally to three. Ikigai ran on to finish second in a three way rush for the minor placing with Digger and Sarvtra. The last name was perhaps a tad unlucky to have encountered traffic problems at a crucial stage. 

Robin Reddy’s ward Ashka Ashka Ashka (Win Legend – Masquenada) won the lower division of the race with much the same manner and with a similar margin, ridden by a five kilo claimer as well. Ashka Ashka Ashka led early and once they turned for home accelerated fluently to skip away from buddy Brothers who was right alongside until into the straight. Ashka Ashka Ashka kept the momentum going and was out of bounds in the final furlong to win it convincingly. Thundering ran on to finish second, while New State recovered from a bad start and did well to finish in the money. 

Prasad Raju’s Reach The Heights (Lucifer Sam – Celestrella) had been showing some forward form recently and he built on it exceeding well to notch up his second career victory. Jockey Kunal Bunde had to work hard for the win as he had to ride out all through the long straight in his bid to get past the front runners and later ward off a game challenge from favourite Cymbal. 

Space Ship led them into the straight with Indian Aristocrat making his run slightly wider outside. Reach The Heights slipped in between the two and began to gain speed to surge ahead. Cymbal had to switch lanes and that could have cost dearly as he skirted around for clear passage and then began to quicken. By that time Reach the Heights had snatched the upper hand and although Cymbal came at him at a fast clip, Reach the Heights had enough cushion to hold on by half a length from Cymbal. Indian Aristocrat finished in the money. 

Takisha (Green Coast – Political Power) was another one on the day to pull off a start to finish victory. The Laxman Singh trained filly dashed into the lead soon on start and held the advantage all the way. She had Ispahan and Cash For Rank close behind until into the straight, however, neither could match her speed as Takisha stretched out nicely and built a handy lead approaching the distance post. Ispahan tried hard to close in, but Takisha kicked on gallantly to hold Ispahan convincingly and sprung a surprise win and with conviction. Takisha had in her last two runs shown the tendency to fall back rapidly in the straight and had finished more than 20 lengths behind. It was indeed surprising that she was backed with confidence and was the prime favourite after two disastrous recent runs and had nothing to show since July this year.  Ispahan took the runner up berth, while Withrosemakeup did well to cover a lot of ground in the straight to beat Cash for Rank for the third place. 

Laxman Singh trained Excellent Hope (Excellent Art – Freefall) scored a facile victory in the concluding race of the day, ably ridden by Suraj Narredu and justify the strong support she received in the betting ring. Suraj eased her to settle in second position behind Hurricane and made his move soon past the 400m mark. Excellent Hope showed a clean pair of heels and shot ahead gradually adding distance as she progressed nicely and looking the winner with some distance still to go. She won easing up and begs to be followed next time out as well. Hurricane ran a good second, although he messed up a bit by veering out under pressure. Curcumin ran on to take the third place, while His Excellency disappointed. 

For the professionals, trainers Laxman Singh and D Netto saddled a double each, while jockey Suraj Narredu scored a double.