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By Ikram Khan | 13 Jan 2022 | CHENNAI

It was a disaster from the punters point of view.  Walking Brave was the only favourite to score, while the rest took a back seat  in the seven-event card on the eve of Makar Sankranti. Competing in the Track Thunder Handicap run over a distance of nine furlongs, a cool and composed Yash astride the public choice from his brother Deepesh Narredu's yard  hit the front soon after the dozen horse-field settled down and set a decent pace before packing punch in the final furlong to peg back the James Mckeown schooled Moresco and the third placed Dominant. Earlier, Yash partnered the Behram Cama schooled Django to a convincing victory in the Monte Carlo handicap run over a distance of seven furlongs.

Euphoric from Adhirajsingh Jodha's yard garnered the maximum support on the strength of his final preparatory gallop in the morning trials, but  up against a rival who was confidently piloted and more importantly produced his best, Euphoric had to rest content with the runner-up berth. Django on the strength of this effort is set to provide an encore.

The lesser fancied Shivaratri from the stables of Sebastian reigned supreme in the AMM Arunachalam Memorial Trophy.  The winner piloted by Nikhil Naidu  produced a sparkling gallop in the final furlong to wrest the initiative from the favourite Terminator and then gallantly peg back Still I Rise to register a smart victory. Chaposa Springs finished third ahead of Timeless Romance, who certainly would have emerged the winner had he not shifted out to the outer rail. The fourth placed contestant despite racing all the way very wide  in the 1000 metres dash still finished only one-and-half length behind the winner and  this eye-catching excercise only suggests that this filly from Robert Foley's yard will canter home the day she races straight in this class.

The in-form Umesh, who is consistently booting winners at all the premier racing centres including his stellar effort astride the Pesi Shroff schooled Alicia in South India 1000 Guineas, started the day booting home the five to one shot Stern Maiden in the opening event, the Star Blaze Handicap. The winner tracked the leader Driftwood Pacific all through the five-and-half furlong scurry before Umesh setalight the strongly travelling Stern Maiden and the Ajith Kumar ward shot through to assume command and romp home an emphatic winner. Driftwood Pacific hung on to finish second ahead of Priceless Treasure, while the public choice Obsession, who raced keenly at the start finished down the field much to the chagrin of the favourite players.

Rushmore in the next event, the Say My Name handicap dropped the biggest bombshell. The nohoper returned a rich dividend of Rs 1,479 on a tenner at the tote window to the delight of only a couple of fluke seekers. The M M Uthaiah schooled shock winner piloted by Ayz Khan comfortably beat Choir and Henrietta who was strongly fancied to place and did well to finish third, edging out Pinewood by the shortest of margins much to the relief of her supporters who had invested big in place. The favourite Uncle Sam from trainer Anil Kumar's yard had a bad day in office, racing in patches to eventually finish in the ruck.

It is good to see  hardworking  D K Futnani  enjoy a good run this season. Glenary from his yard added one more win to his kitty, reigning supreme in the Tease Me Handicap. The promising Gaurav Singh guiding the fortunes of Glenary pushed the Futnani hopeful to the front soon after the 10 runners came under the starter's flag and never let the initiative slip, gallantly holding on to snuff out the belated bid of Fun Storm close home. Lady Royal finished a creditable third, while the public fancy MS Boss like five other favourites only managed to take a lot of good money down the drain.

Umesh, who struck through Stern Maiden in the opening event shared the riding honours with Yash recording a double through the Mandanna-trained Wakanda in the concluding event. The winner, who looked a picture of fitness at the parade ring produced a sterling effort to detonate his eight rivals in the straight to romp home a impressive winner. Mon General surprised most finishing second ahead of the public rage Judy Blue Eyes from Behram Cama's yard who surprisingly failed to repeat her impressive showing in her last essay.