Padmanabhan trained Klipspringer led all the way and held off the challenge of Chul Bul Pandey quite easily in the 1400 metres Shantiniketan Cup, race for horses rated 80 and above which featured Friday`s races. The tail swishing Klipspringer broke into a decisive lead inside the final furlong which in the end proved to be too big to bridge for her pursuers. Padmanabhan and jockey David Allan had a double for the day as earlier in the day they were associated with the success of Petite Fleur.
Trainer Padmanabhan leading in Klipspringer David Allan up), winner of Shantiniketan Cup.
Classic winner Southern Bay who had run a forward race in her last outing was widely expected to return to winning ways as she appeared to have overcome whatever problems that resulted in her poor performances during the summer season. However, the filly could not reproduce the spark of old though she was ideally positioned to launch the assault.
David Allan had Klipspringer lead the field from the start with Southern Bay and Astounding Gallop in close proximity while Chul Bul Pandey was not far behind. The rest of the runners were spaced out behind. Rounding the final turn, Klipspringer quickened for home while Southern Bay failed to pick up speed and rolled out under pressure. Chul Bul Pandey, who entered the straight along the rails, was angled out to essay his challenge but he found the front runner beyond his reach. Klipspringer, despite swishing her tail aggressively as is her wont, however, was in no mood to relent as she sailed to easy victory. Talisker who has been in good nick ever since he struck winning form at Mysore edged out Southern Bay for the third slot.
The small made Petite Fleur won the 1400 metres Gangavathi Cup, a race for maiden three year olds in fine fashion. Vistabella, whose winning chances last time were hurt by a slipped saddle, was the favourite ahead of Bella Pinky and Petite Fleur. The last named was sluggish at the start and had to be goaded to keep in touch with the front runners. Vistabella set a fast pace but could not sustain as she faltered in the final furlong. Petite Fleur covered ground in the middle under the forceful riding of David Allan and managed to bounce ahead to win with ease from late rallying Bella Pinky. Assurance who chased Vistabella into the straight lost the runner up berth in the final strides of the race while Vistabella packed up without a trace.
The 1400 metres Kalinadi Plate (Div I) was an exciting affair with favourite Deep Blue Sky prevailing over Kripa and Unique Show in a three horse finish. The race highlighted the fact that when Srinath puts his heart and soul into his performance, there can be no better jockey in India for forceful riding. Deep Blue Sky ran into rough weather in the final 100 metres but each time Srinath reacted swiftly and did not break the stride of the horse. He got a clear run with hardly a few metres left in the race but he drove out powerfully to edge past the front running Kripa. The well backed Unique Show did not get a favourable position early on due to crowded field and jockey Pradeep Chouhan had to settle the filly in the rear group. Approaching the climb, he decided to circle round the field and came into the straight very wide. Though she had to cover a big leeway on the front runners, Unique Show came up with a strong run only to miss the target narrowly. The luck of the race was not in favour of Unique Show.
Trainer M P Mahaesh, M P Vishesh and Ramaswamy Krishnan leading in Native Indian (Shoban Babu Up), the winner of Antaragange Cup.
The lower division of the race saw a huge upset as bottom-weighted North Cape led all the way and skipped beyond the reach of favourite I Specialist who found the front runner unrelenting and beyond his reach. I Specialist has often let down huge expectations.
Last minute change of jockeys has often resulted in controversies if better quality of a jockey within the category is replaced especially when the horse is in receipt of unprecedented betting. Frenemee had been backed down from a higher quote despite the fact that little known apprentice M Prasad had been declared to ride. Prasad was replaced by seasoned apprentice Sahanawaz who was value for his allowance. The withdrawal of Front Runner further saw Frenemee being backed exclusively. Sahanawaz indeed made a difference to the chances of the favourite as he was able to push the three year old through a tight opening in the run in for home and drove out forcefully to contain the challenge of late finishing Sareeta. Jayem`s Pride, who did the front running, was relegated to the third spot. There is need for Stewards to look into the reasons why the jockey change was made especially since there was inspired betting on the horse. What one saw on Frenemee is an age old tactic.
Prasanna Kumar trained Archibaldo was backed down strongly to win the 1200 metres Sohna Stud Plate, a race for horses rated 60 to 85. The six year old gelding had been the recipient of big betting during the summer season but on that occasion, the progeny of Juniper had lost all his chances at the gate itself. This time out, the horse jumped out well from the gates, stayed in touch with the front runners and shot into the lead with a furlong left in the race and won with a measure of comfort from Free Law who was putting in good work at the finish. Long-time leader Swift Star weakened to finish third. Lads Ability had all the chances but failed to quicken when it mattered the most.
M P Mahaesh`s Native Indian was backed to the exclusion of the rest in the 1400 metres Antargange Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 45. Jockey Shoban Babu had Native Indian in third position as Cash Is King and Surprisesucceeding race in front. Native Indian steadily improved rounding the final bend and readily responded to the urgings of the jockey to go storming clear and win with ease from Arun and Surprisesucceeding.
Chiron, trained by Hidayat Khan, recorded an encore when winning the 1800 metres Adichunchangiri Stakes, a race for horses rated 40 to 65 with ease from Cocktail Circuit and Supreme. Cocktail Circuit attempted to win from the start but had no answer when Chiron swooped on him inside the final furlong. Chiron sped away for an easy win. Supreme ran on to finish third.
The well backed Key of Knowledge picked up speed in nick of time to get the better of a poorly ridden April Babe in the 1100 metres Planetarium Plate, a race for horses rated in the lowest category. April Babe showed lot of speed to go into the lead but apprentice jockey Arshad Alam looked back a couple of times without reason instead of sticking to the task on hand. Cash The Cheque made her intent rather late in the day.