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By Ikram Khan | 18 May 2019 | BANGALORE

Trainer Prasanna Kumar leading Knotty Ash (Akshay Kumar Up), winner of The Own Opinion Cup

The summer season opener didn’t go kindly for the punters. The Sulaiman Attaollahi- trained Ambrosio was the only public choice to score, while lesser fancied contestants waltzed to victory in the rest of the six events.

Despite the fact that Ambrosio was making an appearance after a five month lay-off after his belated winning debut in December last year. The bred in the purple Sulaiman ward was fancied most in the Bourbon King Plate run over a distance of seven furlongs. Ambrosio enjoyed a 8.5 kilos handicap advantage from the topweighted Secretive Force and this actually proved to be the difference at the end.

Secretive Force piloted by Zervan stole a march the moment the 11-horse field hit the straight and gallantly held the advantage before Ambrosio stormed up to clinch the issue close home. The winner, it is needless to mention will benefit most from this exercise and is certain to record a hat-trick if his connections provide him more ground next time out.  

The opening event proved to be a disaster for the followers of form. Alberto was considered a moral certain in the lower division of the Welcome Trophy, railbirds confidently making big investments at a miserly price (60/100). The on-money favourite first behaved badly at the gates and then to the disappointment of his followers failed to keep pace in the event, eventually finishing in the ruck. The second in demand at the betting ring, Animal Queen from Rajesh Narredu’s yard in the hands of Kiran Naidu gained the day, pegging back Musterion. Crack Of Dawn despite looking a trifle gross at the paddock finished a suggestive third and is one for the notebook. 

The upper division of the event was claimed by the lesser fancied Corona Del Corsa from trainer Prasanna Kumar’s yard. Leading pro Suraj Narredu produced a copybook effort on the winner. Abira from Arjun Manglorkar’s yard, who opened the favourite before Tenno Sho from Neil Darashah’s yard was slammed in the ring and closed a firm favourite, finished a game second ahead of the Hyderabad challenger

Ruletheworld, while Tenno Sho much to the chagrin of his connections only managed to make the frame. 

Trainer Imtiaz Khan brought off a successful coup on Ice Speed in the Happy Valley Plate run over a mile. The good looking grey who graced the wrong end of the field for most part of the mile long journey produced a sparkling gallop at the distance post to outclass her eight rivals in the hands of Ramu. The winner appears in good nick and it will pay to again support her when saddled next. Three Wished from Ganapathy’s yard did well to gain the runner-up berth ahead of Track Striker while the favourite Honey Trap from the stables of Arjun Manglorkar in his attempt to make every post a winning one lacked the gas in the tank in the final furlong and only managed to finish a poor fourth. 

The Mumbai hopeful Sea Quest and the local mainhope Lady Legend started joint favourites in the first plum of the season, the Own Opinion Cup run over a sprint. Minutes after the bookmakers opened the odds, punters went bang-bang on the Sulaiman ward, who had registered a hat-trick in winter. The public choice piloted by top Mumbai-based saddle artiste Sandesh met a tartar in Knotty Ash who after failing to make his presence felt in the classic scene proved too good over a sprint. The Hyderabad ace Akshay Kumar produced a neat effort on the winner from Prasanna Kumar’s yard. Lady Legend in defeat was not disgraced and lives to fight another day. The same cannot be said in favour of Sea Quest, who was seen struggling even before the field negotiated the final curve. 

Another Neil Darashah ward who failed was Here And Now, who had the credentials to shed his maiden status after finishing second thrice in the winter season. But as luck would have it, the public choice jumped out and violently swung in dislodging his pilot Trevor. This provided the second in demand at the betting ring Natalma a good chance to score but the Darius Byramji ward too failed in her mission to raise a winning gallop and finished third behind Stars In His Eyes. The eight to one shot Constantinople won the event impressively helping Sulaiman share the professional honours with Prasanna Kumar. Ryan Marshall produced a good copybook race on the winner who now looks good to provide an encore. 

Sahara, one more from Neil’s stable was the public rage in the concluding event, the Littleover Plate run over 1100M dash. But the favourite fell on his back while he was coaxed into the box and was rightly withdrawn. With Sahara out of the race, it was an open affair and in a close finish, the Dominic schooled Touch Your Destiny edged out the two long shots Industrialist and Lagopus.