Nectar Jewel Scores an Encore
Trainer Rakesh is set to retain his firm hold on the Tainer's Championship at Mysore. He scored another two points on Wednesday with Nectar Jewel and Dragonair in a small card of seven events framed for the day's racing, and led his colleagues into the second half of the Winter Season. The powerful stable has been sending out winners on a regular basis. He is likely to leave behind a large string of older horses at this centre, once he makes his expected move to Bangalore in the month of March.
The relatively young professional has become adept at his craft, and a large number of owners have apparently agreed to patronize him as a licensed trainer at The Bangalore Turf Club. The highly rated Nectar Jewel made light of the penalty that he had received for a victory a couple of weeks ago. The eight year-old had done most of his racing in Western India before shifting to Mysore. Despite numerous efforts, he had not won in the last one year. He scored an overdue victory at the end of December, when he was backed down to firm favouritism.
The speedy horse had proved to be too good that day. He was given a stiff penalty by the handicapper and pushed up to Class I. Nectar Jewel was making an attempt to carry the heavy impost of 62 kgs over a trip which was considered to be beyond his compass, and was therefore neglected in the betting ring. The seven-furlong race had attracted the hitherto unbeaten Saddler's Glory, who was venturing to make it four-out-of-four today. Saddler's Glory had numerous things in his favour. Apart from being the youngest in this group, he was also set to carry the lowest weight over a trip which was ideally suited to his style of running.
Bipin's horse received all-round support ahead of Sword of Power and the others, and reached the gates as an even-money chance to land the spoils. A small incident at the start altered the entire scene. Saddler's Glory entered the stalls and became restless. He played around for a while before he was pulled out. A routine examination by the veterinary doctors confirmed that he was trotting short. Saddler's Glory was immediately withdrawn from this race. The race began on expected lines, as Nectar Jewel made a quick getaway and took them along at a brisk pace. The one's racing closest to him were done by the fast pace and began fading from the scene. Fancied Sword Of Power was caught wide, and he too was unequal to the task on hand. Danger Diabloic came with a late run, but that effort wasn't enough to catch the frontrunner. Nectar Jewel dug deep into his unknown reserves of stamina and kept going. He caused a big upset by winning comfortably from Danger Diabolic and Laguna Blue.
Rakesh's double was completed with public choice Dragonair in almost identical fashion. Apprentice Khurshad took him to the front and despite running erratically in the straight, lasted out to hold the belated challenge of World Is Toomuch. Missiszippy, Bullish Luck and Champion's League finished in a heap to seek the third spot. The unsound Dragonair has a lot of ability and is raced sparingly. In his present form and physical condition, this six year-old can be targeted for another success in the next couple of weeks. The Solitaire Cup was the only trophy event in the day's card. It was a typical minefield from the betting point of view. It had the looks of a lottery as one could back any horse at fives and over.
With fancied Anoosheek losing ground at the start, it was Al Qamar and Kandiate who dictated pace and came into view. All Round came alongside and joined the fray. Not many noticed the steady move of Worth A Gold, who was improving all the time. In the hands of rookie P Mani, the Santosh Rao trained mare came with nice strides and went past Kandiate and All Round. Young and improving Skyfleet has been one of the most consistent performers at Mysore.
After winning one race and finishing a close second in his other three starts this season, he was tackling a group of runners in Class III today. John made the trip to Mysore for this solitary ride. He was a picture of confidence as Skyfleet galloped well within himself and chased Ride And Shine and Testarosa till the final bend. John put him in top gear thereafter, and the big made horse galloped away from the favourite Mr Hurricane. Skyfleet won by a widening margin of four lengths. Minchu ended a poor third while the others were not even sighted. The winner is sure to repeat this performance. Trainer Monappa was a worried man as we came to the last race of the day. His first three runners, namely Mr Hurricane, Danger Diabolic and World Is Toomuch had finished second in their respective races.
His last and final runner was a short priced favourite in the last race of the day. Perfect Bond was an on-money choice to win this sprint. Monappa was hoping that there would be none in a dozen horse field who would come out and beat him in this race. His worries were short-lived as Perfect Bond showed a clean pair of heels to his rivals and won in style. Queen Of Destiny was able to retain her second spot in front of a late rushing Suleman Pasha. The last named is an unsound type and one should not read too much into today's performance. He seldom reproduces his known form. A nice ride from Gaurav Sapra enabled Bipin to lead-in Leather Queen as the winner of a Class B race earlier in the afternoon. Leather Queen was the favourite till a huge amount of money was wagered on a horse named Cruise Control.
The Ranjeet trained Cruise Control is a ten year-old and is at the fag end of his career. The horse faltered under the top weight and finished off the board. On the other hand, Leather Queen found herself at the tail end of the pack as the runners straightened for home. Gaurav did not panic and awaited his opportunity. It appeared in the form of a yawning gap on the rails, and Leather Queen was good enough to take it. She grew stronger with each stride and sailed past the front running Tropical Flyer with a measure of comfort.