GALATICUS, CLIFFORD BAG ‘MONSOON CLASSICS’
The mid-week Calcutta monsoon meeting proved to be studded with thrilling finishes, bringing turfites to the edge of their seats. The brief season seemed to have warmed to the occasion as three ‘terms’ events were conducted – The Calcutta Fillies Trial Stakes, The Calcutta Colts Trial Stakes and The Calcutta Monsoon Sprint. The return of one of the country’s leading commentators – Cyrus Madan –injected further excitement into the day’s proceedings. He was unfortunately indisposed on the first two days of the season.
The Calcutta Colts Trial Stakes run over seven furlongs saw the 4/1 shot from Neil Darashah’s stable – Clifford –pull off a great victory in a three-way finish. The three-year-old gelding by Phoenix Tower out of Jolie Rue appeared to be badly hemmed in midway up the straight but jockey Suratia Zervan did extremely well to switch his mount to the outside in the final fifty metres and peg back rank outsider Hornbill and the course favourite La Dominate at the winning post. Trainer Neil Darashah thanked his owners and breeders for the support they have provided in his post-race comments. His ward Clifford appears to have a fair chance in The Monsoon Derby on the final day of the season as he is likely to stay the mile and quarter trip.
One race earlier, in the Calcutta Fillies Trial Stakes, an equally nail-biting finish was seen as stablemates from Rajesh Narredu’s yard – Galaticus and Long Lease – fought tooth and nail till the very end. Yash Narredu atop Galaticus (Roderic O’Connor-Mine Forever) held on to his advantage to edge out the on-money public choice Long Lease. The trainer later said that the runner-up may prefer a longer trip indicating somewhat that she may be his Derby spearhead.
Trainer Patrick Quinn stole the limelight in the Calcutta Monsoon Sprint as his two runners Savvy Chic and Golden Oaks fought out a ding-dong duel till the wire. Golden Oaks (Letir Mor-Messalina) with Sujit Paswan up prevailed over his more fancied and younger stablemate by the narrowest of margins. Quinn was of the opinion that Savvy Chic is more suited to seven furlongs. The public fancy Delphini took the bend seven wide and her run should be ignored. Savvy Chic paid the penalty of finishing close up in a ‘terms’ race as she was penalised 10.5 kg by the handicapper. One race earlier, Hornbill incurred a penalty of 13.5 kgfor his superlative effort.
Yash Narredu got a chance ride in the day’s first race as jockey Akshay Kumar declared atop Thalames was absent. Yash made no mistake on the heavily fancied colt by Planetaire out of Zahwah from Aashay Doctor’s yard. He won The Free Energy Handicap comfortably from Reagan. Another runner at cramped odds – True Marshal – produced an effortless encore. The four-year-old gelding by Roderic O’Connor out of Lombardia won the Andrada Handicap start-to-finish in the hands of Suraj Narredu to complete a brace for trainer Aashay Doctor.
The third race saw B.Mahesh-trained Jean Lafette get the better of his fancied stablemate Rimel without raising a sweat. Jockey Antony Raj rode a measured race atop the five-year-old gelding by Knight’s Tour out of Jeux De Danse. Trainer Patrick Quinn completed a double too as his Dragon’s Head (Roderic O’Connor – Lisa’s Kitten) brought the curtain down in style. Jockey PS Chouhan made the mile race a start-to-finish affair.