Democraticus tames Thundering Power, Holding Court
Democraticus (Colm O'Donoghue up) winning the Haig Gold Label Maharaja Jiwajirao Scindia Trophy (Gr.3) from Thundering Power (C.Rajendra up)
There are so many facets to horseracing that keep manifesting themselves at regular intervals and this probably could be one of the reasons why racegoers don’t regard the statement ‘this is truly a fascinating game’ as a cliché. One such aspect of horseracing came to the fore when Democraticus (Royal Kingdom – Mea Culpa) earned his first bracket of the year beating Holding Court in the Haig Gold Label Maharaja Jiwajirao Scindia Trophy (Gr.3). Democraticus had made a splendid winning debut at Bangalore a couple of years back which made everybody sit up and take notice of his talent. Not only this, it was Democraticus who sounded the arrival of his sire Royal Kingdom in India as a stallion of immense potential. Around that same time Padmanabhan saddled another Royal Kingdom progeny Holding Court. Interestingly, Padmanabhan played a pivotal role in scripting Royal Kingdom’s arrival in India. After his spectacular win Democraticus suffered a setback and was laid off till he made a resounding comeback by winning two races last winter. Holding Court meanwhile held centre stage beating Flashing Star to claim the Bangalore Derby before finding his nemesis in Mystical in the Indian classics at Mumbai. Democraticus always lived in the shadow of Holding Court though both thoroughbreds never battled for supremacy though racing together twice at Mahalaxmi. Democraticus, in his last appearance, was the main challenger to Mystical with the distance and the terms of the race both in his favour. But Mystical remained elusive for Democraticus. His defeat however turned out to be Democraticus’ last stint under Padmanabhan’s care as he was then sent to Nosher Cama’s yards. Come Christmas Day and the two former barn-mates, Democraticus and Holding Court, came face to face to vie for the feature race. Both enjoyed equal support in the betting though it must be mentioned that the terms were once again in favour of the former. Flareon set the pace for the ten-horse field followed closely by Thundering Power. The latter was in command once the heads straightened for home with Holding Court also in the process of making his presence count. His racing fitness probably a minor irritant but the volume of lead in the saddle definitely took toll of Holding Court as he struggled to pull along side Thundering Power. Colm O’Donoghue meanwhile executed a workmanlike job astride Democraticus and came charging down the straight to snatch the verdict from Thundering Power. Holding Court ended a length away. It was difficult to guess the thoughts that were running through Padmanabhan’s mind as he stood in front of Holding Court, just metres away from the winner’s stall where Democraticus stood victorious. The same horse whom he had nursed and nurtured all along till just a couple of weeks back. Well, isn’t horseracing a truly fascinating game? Earlier Balthazaar (Alnasr Alwasheek – Lorne) also celebrated first success after shifting his residence to Imtiaz Sait’s barns. The three-year-old bay returned to form with a smashing victory in the supporting event of the card. It was one of the bread-and-butter rides for jockey C. Rajendra as Balthazaar didn’t require any exceptional steering skills in this victory. Alamshaara, Don Gama and Desert Conqueror and the other runners were all reduced to mere spectators once Balthazaar headed the field opposite the grand stands. Two of Dr M. A. M. Ramaswamy runners Definite Spice and Sensuous Touch made a belated entry to the winner’s enclosure. But it was not B. Prakash who fetched victory for these two maidens but Irishman Colm O’Donoghue who was allowed to hog the limelight. Before his conquest in the feature race, the Irish rider booted home a brace for S. Ganapathy. Definite Spice (Diffident – Pure Spice) decimated her rivals including Red Dawn and Dance Diva, who didn’t make any impression on the winner. The strong finishing efforts of O’Donoghue came in handy for Sensuous Touch (Greensmith – Sensuality). Last outing winner Pure For Sure very nearly upset the favourite’s applecart with a start-to-finish mission which would’ve succeeded but for O’Donoghue’s dogged pursuit. Elusive Pimpernel’s daughter Clairet, who is out of Goulaine, made an impressive debut in the hands of Niall McCullagh. Trained by Pesi Shroff for Dr Vijay Mallya, Clairet chased no-hoper Fairy Fantasy and Star of Paradise into the straight and went surging past them when Niall shifted gears. Reflected Glory did show any overt interest in the race and her plans seemed to be shelved for some other day. With the scales in his favour and having got a dream opening towards the rails near the bend, Sanjay Kolse trained Born To Lead (Diffident – Charente) stole a march over his rivals to register an upset. Ante post favourite Schubert’s odds charted a straight upward course in the bookie’s ring and then ran wayward on the track to the chagrin of the punters. What’s more Schubert and Oojah collectively extinguished the chances of Helmsdale, who was denied a clear passage close home. Magic Spell produced a late run when the race was all over bar the shouting. Last’n Impression (Reasonable – June Show) from Magansingh Jodha’s yard with Dashrath Singh in saddle snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as his flared nostrils stopped Flying Glory from hitting the tape first. It was a cliff hanger as a blanket finish took place for this sprint after Red Amytheist made the entire running. Red Amytheist was initially challenged by Flying Glory and Really Romantic with the former gaining a slight upper hand. Meanwhile Last’n Impression found his rhythm late and flew towards to the wire to stun Flying Glory and Really Romantic. Shiraz Sunderji led in a well-backed double in association with jockey K. P. G. Appu. First Cakravana (Cruachan – Sheikh Chillee) showed vast improvement over his last run to clock an easy win over Wild Vegas and Sphinx. Later, Forces of Destiny (Concordial – Momentous) made rapid ground in the straight to go sailing past Englehart. His task was made easier by the feeble attempt of Hazelhead in the straight. Asad Siddiqui saddled filly Dancing Diva (Brave Hunter – Dance Move) scored her second successive win of the season and had the services of Malesh Narredu on this occasion. The filly had no difficulty in tackling early leader Incomparable and then stretched out for a comprehensive win over Druids Glen and Orlando Bloom. The latter ran below par but the punters could see it coming after Ganapathy entrusted the saddling responsibility of Orlando Bloom to Saeed Shah. As far as Orlando Bloom’s chances in the race were concerned, the writing on the clearly on the wall.