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By Ikram Khan | 10 Feb 2024 | BANGALORE

Mr Dean Stephens & trainer Prasanna Kumar leading Siege Courageous (Vivek G Up), winner of The Aga Aly Asker Sprinters' Trial Stakes

After a couple of ups and downs, punters returned home evens-stevens, the two strongly backed  favourites  Siege Courageous winner of the Aga Aly Asker Sprinters' Trial Stakes and  Oxytocin, who donkey-licked her six rivals in  the concluding event, the upper division  of the Winslow Stakes helping  the followers of form recoup their losses and and live to fight another day. 

On the strength of his impressive effort on the Derby day, second behind Sofiya, Aquamatic from the stables of Azhar Ali was rightly fancied most in  the opening event, the Bidar Plate run over a distance of nine furlongs and the confidently supported  public choice in the hands of Imran Chisty produced another stellar effort, which was good enough to earn his cornbill. Stormy Ocean from Darius Byramji's yard followed the winner home ahead of the topweighted Nikolina. 

Making his debut, Monterio from Prasanna Kumar's yard was backed to the exclusion of the dozen juveniles in the fray for the Topmost Plate run over a distance of seven furlongs. The fact that Prasanna has swept most of the juvenile events saw most punters blindly pinning their hopes on the debutant ahead of the second in demand at the betting ring, Art Of Romance from Dominic's yard who had finished a game second behind the talented Exceed in his debut and stablemate Redefined who also was making his debut after he was withdrawn at the gates last week. Redefined, it was who proved too good, romping home in the hands of English pro Fanny Norton to send the short-priced favourite `Jodi' out of the window.  Monterio partnered by G Vivek, however, finished second behind the smart winner Redefined, while the Dominic schooled Art Of Romance, who lost a couple of lengths at the start  failed to live upto his debut promise and eventually finished in the ruck.

The Warren Singh-trained Born Dancer opened a strong favourite in the lower division of the Winslow Stakes despite the fact that the five-year-old mare was making her maiden appearance. Born Dancer had impressed most in a mock race beating a couple of higher rated horses without really extending herself and that was a good indicator, taking into account that the fit mare looked a picture in the paddock. .But moments after she opened the favourite, the price on Born Dancer went up and up and that stopped most railbirds with their ears to the ground from making smart investments before the insiders and the right connections went bang-bang in the ring a couple of minutes before the start, the Warren ward closing an overwhelming favourite. The public choice jumped out nice and easy and the way she travelled the first half of the six furlong trip, it was clear that the public choice would canter home and Born Dancer did just that powering home in resplendent style. This Warren trainee is certain to score again when saddled next taking into account that she will only improve after this emphatic effort. Mega Success from Inayathullah's yard followed the winner home ahead of Capri Girl, stablemate of Born Dancer, who was fancied strongly in place and the `Girl' didn't disappoint her supporters finishing in the money. 

The upper division of the event was claimed by another Warren ward Oxytocin, who was touted a `moral certainty' and was backed with defeat out of question . AR Pradeep listed to pilot her had nothing to do and only guide the on-money public rage who pulverized her rivals, winning by more than six lengths. On the strength of this emphatic effort, Oxytocin is certain to repeat when saddled next. Chisox again finished second, while Lady Godiva came home third. The lesser fancied Golden Gallery and Sacred Creator in no mood to enter the stalls were withdrawn at the starting gates. 

Ten to one shot Remontoir from the stables of Imtiaz Khan shocked the followers of form making every post a winning one in the Bhadra Plate. The winner piloted by apprentice jockey Siddaraju had finished last in his last essay, a good 15-20 lengths behind the winner Kallu Sakare and the marked improvement and the performance enhancement only confirmed that Remontoir had not performed to his ability in his last start. Well the sea change in the performance of Remontolir calls for an explanation . War Trail from MR Singh's yard who was fancied most did her best , but found Remontoir a tough nut to crack and had to rest content with the runner-up berth. Glow In The Dark from Warren Singh's yard  finished on fastest at end to take the third spot. It was clear from Glow In The Dark's effort that he would have easily emerged the winner had his jockey Naveen shown the required enterprise and willingness to win a race. Naveen performed like a novice and it will surprise most if he is given a benefit of doubt in this hot case. 

The Arjun Manglorkar schooled Czar , it appears is back at his best. The quality sprinter competing in the principal added attraction, the HB Gundappa Gowda Memorial Trophy hacked the field in the hands of Imran Chisty and on the strength of this performance is certain to add to his kitty in  the weeks ahead. Advantageously placed in at the scales, Prophecy from Imtiaz Khan's yard garnered the maximum support, but after raising hopes at the top of the straight she failed to match strides with Czar and eventually failed to even save money in place. Ricardo, stablemate of the winner helped Arjun post a 1-2 in the event and the lesser fancied Marzgovel  edged out Prophecy to claim the third spot.