DIVINE PROPHECY ROMPS HOME IN GODOLPHIN BARB MILLION
Trainer R H Sequeira leading Divine Prophecy (Hindu Singh Up), winner of The Godolphin Barb Million
Among his eight contestants in the fray on Saturday, Hilton Sequeira had entrusted four to jockey Hindu Singh. Remarkably all four including Divine Prophecy, who romped home in the feature event, were well fancied to win. A winner on debut as a two-year old, Divine Prophecy was turned out well by her master, which proved crucial in the filly’s triumph in the Godolphin Barb Million. Jockey Hindu Singh settled Divine Prophecy close on the heels of Get Lucky, who once again made a start-to-finish bid, till the field straightened for home. With two furlongs left for home, Divine Prophecy (Dali – Ice Fantasy) tackled Get Lucky to seize the initiative and went on to score easily from Duke Of Tuscany, who made an unsuccessful attempt to collar the winner in the final furlong. Favourite Star Forever failed to raise a fluent gallop throughout and just about managed to finish a tame third ahead of Get Lucky.
Before leading in Divine Prophecy, Sequeira had another winner lined up in Miracle Mary, which should have made him equally happy if not more. After shedding her maiden status a year ago, Miracle Mary was in the news for all the wrong reasons as she failed five times in a row after returning from Bangalore. She was a piping hot favourite thrice and in both her subsequent outings, Miracle Mary opened as the favourite only to find a negative drift in her odds in the betting ring. The filly remained unsuccessful though Sequeira equipped her with every possible racing gear. Finally, in her previous run, Sequeira got Miracle Mary rid of all the equipment except the tongue-strap following which she gave an encouraging performance despite the tender handling from apprentice Shivansh. Ridden by Hindu Singh on this occasion and installed as a favourite yet again, Miracle Mary lacked initial speed and was a distance behind Golden Forza, who led all the way and was still travelling easy when the winning post was in sight. Miracle Mary, however, unleashed a big run and galloped resolutely when her rider switched lanes and put her into top gear in the final stretch. Miracle Mary (Planetaire – Zahwah) emerged as the fastest moving horse in the straight and wrapped up the race after drawing level with Golden Forza with less than a hundred metres to go for the wire. Deccan Daisy and Swiss Girl took the other two minor places on the judges’ board.
The Sequeira-Singh combine would have had a cent percent result were it not for Clefairy playing spoilsport for Juramento a race earlier. Juramento chased speedy Garnet from the word go in the six-furlong sprint and fought a grim battle with his rival for about a furlong in the home stretch. Just when he had gained the upper hand close home, KSV Prasad Raju-saddled and P. Sai Kumar-ridden Clefairy (Kingda Ka – Sinetta) came flying from the rear to snatch the verdict in her last stride. Garnet saved place money by finishing third whilst Angelita ran a faraway fourth.
Three-year old White Pearl was another K. Satheesh trainee this season to have defied the odds when recording an upset win in the opening event in which Sequeira’s fancied runner Star Of Night was withdrawn. Satheesh’s fancied runner Rolls Royce hit the front with RS Jodha in saddle while Oliver’s Mount went in pursuit. As the field entered the straight, K. Mukesh Kumar launched his assault and gradually inched closer to the leader but Rolls Royce refused to succumb. Both horses fought a pitched battle for a furlong or so and, in the meanwhile, the 15 to 1 longshot White Pearl loomed large on the outside. Eventually, when Oliver’s Mount snuffed out Rolls Royce’s resistance, White Pearl (Sedgefield – Grey Mist), ridden vigorously under the whip by Nakhat Singh, lunged forward to pip Oliver’s Mount on the post. The two horses were separated by the proverbial whisker with Rolls Royce keeping the third spot while Desert Hero ended fourth. Favourite Jungle Girl struggled throughout and finished off the board.
Apart from White Pearl and Clefairy, Silver Lining was the other successful horse to have scored at the start of Saturday’s proceedings, which saw contestants with an outside chance prevailing in tantalisingly close finishes. Unlike the other two winners, Leo D’silva-groomed Silver Lining survived the onslaught of Bold Beauty. Afroz Khan-steered Silver Lining (Total Gallery – Emilia Romagna) snatched the lead from Star Cruise about a furlong away from the post with apprentice Kuldeep Singh astride the favourite D Battle throwing his challenge at her. However, it was last-outing winner Bold Beauty who came from nowhere with a long-stretched run in the straight and went past the post locked together with Silver Lining, who survived by a head in the photo-finish verdict. Had jockey NB Kuldeep been a little more enterprising, Bold Beauty would have surely turned the tables on the winner. D Battle ended third, just ahead of Flashing Memories.
Having emerged from the maiden ranks in the lowest class late last month, Prasad Raju-nurtured Crown Witness registered a quick encore on promotion. P. Sai Kumar kept Crown Witness within striking distance of Sucker Punch and Caraxes as the former dictated the terms when the field embarked for the mile journey. Caraxes tackled Sucker Punch shortly after the heads turned for home even as Crown Witness started to improve with every stride. Crown Witness (Sanus Per Aquam – Crown Empress) got stronger at finish and wore down Caraxes close home. With Caraxes tiring out, Sucker Punch put in a second effort to take the runner-up spot. Alcahol Free and Sundance Kid ran on late to take the minor places ahead of Caraxes.
Sai Kumar completed a fine treble when he partnered Laxman Singh-trained Australia to a narrow victory in the penultimate race. Australia surged ahead as the three front-runners Quality Warrior, Worcester and Encore spread out while taking the final turn and kept going under the whip to ward off the spirited bid of Reigning Beauty. K. Mukesh Kumar brought top-weighted Reigning Beauty very wide into straight when launching his assault yet the filly covered ground rapidly to reach the haunches of Australia (Knight’s Tour – Sunflower), who managed to stave off the threat. Wallop And Gallop warmed up late to finish third ahead of Encore. Magnum took the shortest route at the bend and headed the field briefly before being steadied by Kuldeep Singh (Sr.) in an evasive action to avoid collision with Quality Warrior and Worcester.
Last-outing winner Midsummer Star was heavily backed in anticipation of an encore after his impressive victory earlier. The Prasad Raju-saddled favourite appeared to be on course for a repeat success when he overhauled Classical Music on entering the straight. Midsummer Star, however, came across one better in G. Sandeep-groomed D Minchu (Kingda Ka – Renee). Kuldeep (Sr.) astride D Minchu tracked Midsummer Star closely all the way and stepped up the pace at the same time when the favourite made his move. D Minchu was denied a clear run when trying to make his way through Classical Music and Midsummer Star but the mare recovered quickly to swoop down the latter in the last hundred metres and went on to register a convincing victory. Coming Home finished third ahead of Malibu.