Kilimanjaro Displays Brilliant Acceleration
Trainer S Padmanabhan leading Kilimanjaro (David Allan Up), winner of The Gulbarga Plate
Trainer Padmanabhan's three-year-old gelding Kilimanjaro (Ikhtyar-Ensenada) displayed a brilliant turn of foot while accounting for his seven rivals in a nine-furlong handicap for horses in Class III at Bangalore on Friday. The rangy horse dug deep into his reserves of stamina while coming from the tail-end of the field and scoring an impressive victory. This performance became more significant by the fact that in the process, he beat the piping hot favourite Deep Blue Sky out of sight. A close look at the earlier showings of the public choice would reveal that he had been running prominently in the regional Classics.
As recently as just a fortnight ago, Deep Blue Sky had run fourth in The Bangalore 2000 Guineas behind Sun Kingdom. The manner and margin of Kilimanjaro's victory today, signalled the emergence of a potential threat to the Derby hopefuls at this centre. His acceleration in the final furlong was a clear indication that he loves it longer. The mile and a half on Republic Day may just be the right trip for him. The astute trainer is bound to sharpen him for the big day. Racegoers expected Deep Blue Sky to assert his superiority in an event that looked tailor-made for him. The horse had been performing consistently, and was known to be comfortable over the present trip. His main threat seemed to emanate from Neil Darashah's Rezoom, who had beaten him in the Summer Season. But a marginal advantage at the scales in addition to his present form, made Deep Blue Sky an even-money choice of the punters.
Spark Of Atan, Kilimanjaro and Senor Speedy had stray support in the betting rings. Rezoom darted out of the starting gates and set a strong pace, as the field travelled down the slope towards the far end of the Bangalore track. He was many lengths ahead of Spark Of Atan, Senor Speedy and The Darling Boy as they made their journey towards the home straight. Gluteus Maximus, Deep Blue Sky and Kilimanjaro made up the trailing group at this stage. The runners began to bunch up thereafter. David Allan and Kilimanjaro made their move through the pack while PS Chouhan produced Gluteus Maximus on the wide outside. Suraj tried his best to rouse Deep Blue Sky at the same juncture, but the favourite continued to plod at the back. Rezoom, Kilimanjaro and Gluteus Maximus were almost abreast near the furlong pole before the scene altered.
Kilimanjaro sported a pair of wings and flew away from the others. Within the next few seconds, he opened up a yawning gap over the others, and won by a widening margin of almost six lengths. He stopped the clock at a timing which was fractionally over the course record. Rezoom held on to the second spot ahead of Glutes Maximus, while hot favourite Deep Blue Sky ended almost ten lengths behind the winner. The other notable performance of the afternoon came from first-timer Araceli. This got-abroad filly (Chineur-Rippling) from Darius Byramji's stable showed a lot of speed while claiming The Bharachukki Cup. The day's feature had attracted a dozen runners. With most of them running for the first time in their careers, it was difficult to assess their chances. On his showings in a couple of gate practices, the Attolahi-trained Shoot Out received one-sided support to start as the 11/10 favourite. He looked fresh in the paddock, and was on his toes while being led towards the gates.
The others that impressed in the parade ring were Araceli, Brilliance, Preordained and Win Again. With declared rider C Alford missing in action, jockey Sylvester Desouza was asked to ride Araceli. The group of youngsters got off to a level start with Win Again showing a lot of speed and leading from Araceli and Brilliance. Shoot Out found the initial pace a bit too hot for his liking, and the chestnut colt had little option but to bide his time in fourth position. The four of them were seen to be travelling much better than the rest of the juveniles. Win Again's dominance ended in the final furlong when Araceli wore him down with authority. The filly swept past the leader and assumed command of the proceedings. She continued her march towards the winning post and won comfortably from a late-finishing Shoot Out and a tired Win Again.
Under a strong ride from Chris Hayes, Shoot Out made a valiant effort to go close to the leader. Being a progeny of Adler, Shoot Out showed that the five-and-a-half furlong trip was a trifle short for him. He is bound to improve after today's exercise, and will certainly be a strong contender to win his next start. The last of the maiden three-year-old races of 2010 was held on Friday. Irfan Ghatala's Lad Fury (Ikhtyar-Fly The Fury) was acknowledged to be the best three-year-old maiden at this centre. The compactly build horse confirmed this opinion by posting an easy victory over Don Diego and Fame And Glory. The half-money favourite gave Suraj Narredu and armchair ride to victory and enabled him to score the first of his two victories this afternoon.
Lad Fury ran a settled race and wasn't unduly punished to win in a smart time of One Minute and 13 Seconds. Even though the going was pretty fast today, this was an extremely smart effort. He can be confidently backed to win again in open company. Suraj's other winner was saddled by Darius Byramji. The two professionals were delighted with the performance of Rip Van Winkle (Gaswar-Minetta), who scored an encore to enable both of them to achieve their doubles for the day. The big-made horse had disappointed as a three-year-old. He never ran according to his immaculate pedigree and was a source of disappointment to his sporting owners. A change of stable has apparently done him a world of good. Rip Van Winkle shocked the followers of form by scoring an unexpected victory in November. The trainer decided to test him further by subjecting him to some extensive preparation. The connections backed him with confidence, and the horse ran the best race of his career.
Rip Van Winkle settled into an early lead, raced well within himself till the bend before tearing away from his rivals. He was eased up at the end to finish ten lengths clear of Seven Star and Foresight. Now that he has discovered his galloping shoes, Rip Van Winkle can improve from his present mark. The Dominic stable landed a neat gamble in the lowest category with a modest acquisition called Fruit King (Inner City-Land Lady). Chris Hayes mount Classical Charm was joined at the top of the betting boards by a strongly fancied Sweet Performer in this race. The latter had flopped as an on-money choice in the higher class last season, and was running on demotion. The two market fancies were backed to the exclusion of their rivals, who were all available at 10's and over. A couple of minutes prior to race time, there was strong support for Fruit King. The mount of PS Chouhan was backed down to 5/1 at race time. The boy rode a copybook race to score astride this runner.
While Classical Charm led till the bend before running out of steam, Sweet Performer was hopelessly placed at the bend. By the time Ahsan Qureshi managed to extricate this horse from trouble, the race was over. Chouhan kept Fruit King in striking position till the bend before making his charge. The horse led inside the final furlong and managed to hold on to his advantage from a late-finishing pair of Thrillseeker and Sweet Performer. The last race in the day's card witnessed the most exciting finish of the afternoon. In an open betting affair, there was equal support for quite a few runners. Dance N Celebrate, Shahizaar, War Artist and Flame Back started as joint favourites in this event. There was quite a bit of jostling in this race, and a couple of hard-luck stories at the end of it. War Artist and Shahizaar raced prominently till the bend before calling it a day. VR Desouza chose to make his run with Dance N Celebrate on the rails, and while doing so, encountered numerous problems.
Paul Mulrennan and Flame Back were knocked around in the initial stages, and the pair of them got into their strides only after entering the straight. The ultimate winner Allez Vite (Rakti-Alazima) made full use of his unhampered passage, and lasted out to hold onto a slender advantage till the very end. Only a neck and a short head separated the three of them. Apprentice Nausad Alam received the deserved accolades for confidently piloting this charge from trainer Suleiman Attaolahi's stable.