Jockey Christopher Rides Brilliantly
Thursday's racing at Mysore saw the bookmakers running for cover as seven out of nine races were won by well-supported horses. The club had framed a nine-event card with a couple of races earmarked for 2 year-olds. The rare presence of jockeys Suraj Narredu and Christopher, declared to ride during the afternoon, indicated the seriousness of the connections and the chances of their respective wards. Barring the first two events which saw minor upsets, the rest of the card was kind to the punters who were seen riding the momentum. The Victory Zone Cup was the feature event and was split into two divisions. Trainer Dinesh Pujar had prepared Master Prospect and Ride and Shine to take part in these two races. There were many similarities in the two events. Both Master Prospect and Ride and Shine were slammed down to first favouritism. Both the horses raced in an identical fashion by going start-to-finish in their respective events. Both of them retired comfortable winners with their respective jockeys easing them up before the winning post. It needs to be mentioned that Irish Whispers was an impressive second to Master Prospect. With 62 kgs on her back, this small-made filly galloped resolutely in the straight, and will be too good to miss in the higher class when she reappears. The upper division of the youngsters’ race saw huge support for Kamath-trained Blood Stream. Last outing winner Bold Promise was set to concede weight to his rivals. Suraj Narredu took Regal Winner to the front and seemed to be holding on to the lead, when Jagadeesh brought Blood Stream with a long stretch run and romped home to an easy victory. Despite a couple of checks received at a crucial stage of the race, Bold Promise came with giant strides and deprived Regal Winner of the runner-up berth. The lower division saw Rajesh-ridden Eona making use of her inside draw, going into the lead and staving off the challenge from the on-money favourite Dancer's Wave. San Siro came from the rear of the field to end a close third. Suraj Narredu rode a well-judged race on Exclusive Design, who had been well supported on the basis of his last run. He allowed Star Danzig, Fast Colours and Haley's Comet to lead him into the straight, before he pulled out his mount and attained an easy victory. The other runners in this race were an average lot and should be left alone for a while. Gnaneshwar-ridden Pal Joey attracted big betting in a seven-furlong race for horses in class III. Arisia, Berkeley Square and Stornoway made the early running in this race before the Suraj Narredu-ridden Way to Wealth challenged them. However, it was Pal Joey who delighted his numerous supporters by capitalizing on a rare opening and running away for an easy victory. Way to Wealth and Settle the Score finished in close order. Apprentice ridden Cartouche was a detached last into the straight before he finished an unextended sixth, and should be noted when he runs over an longer trip. Jockey Christopher and trainer V Apachu signed off with a back-to-back double in the last two races of the day. Last outing winner Eclair Blanche had been penalized and was carrying a backbreaking weight of 63.5 kgs. That did not deter her connections from backing her and she did not let them down. Christopher allowed the front-running Ansonia and Sword of Power to dictate terms till the distance post before he asked her to quicken. Éclair Blanche responded wonderfully and sped away from Sword of Power and a late-finishing Matter of Opinion. The last race brought out the best in jockey Christopher. He was riding the even money favourite Storm Ahead and found himself in second last position as the heads turned for home. Outoforder had taken over the running while the favourite had a wall of horses in front of him. He pulled out Storm Ahead on the wide outside and then made his charge while making free use of the whalebone. The response was electric as they gained ground on the frontrunners and sped away to a popular victory ahead of Outoforder and Cadre Noir. Trainers D Pujar and V Apachu were joined by jockeys Suraj Narredu and Christopher in cornering the day’s professional honours.