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Vijay, Dashrath claim titles but Alford wins hearts

By: Goldie Boy   April 5 , 2017

Trainer Vijay Singh and jockey Dashrath Singh claimed the championship honours in their respective fields as the curtain came down to the 29-Day winter season, on Wednesday. In fact, there was hardly any change in their positions since Tuesday`s racing and the two professionals defended their one point lead stoutly. Vijay, in fact, went on to celebrate his title with a win in the concluding race, the 1,200m Romantic Memories Handicap, when his charge, Fabienne who scored an easy win over Manvendra Singh`s Miraculix (Hindu Singh).

Ironically, it was Dashrath who partnered Fabienne, displaying his professional commitments and attitude, too, towards his rides in demanding situations. Dashrath, however, was already in the driver`s seat, on the championship table, after Bharath`s 6/1 shot, Storm Front, had scored a narrow victory in the 1,400m Aazish Handicap; which was considered as a mere formality for Vijay`s Sans Prix (Neeraj).

Dashrath is already a popular jockey in the RCTC`s racing circles and he must have won few more friends and admirers, though the expanding odds of Fabienne had raised many an eyebrow.

Finally, a word about jockey Christopher Alford, an undisputed champion for many years: Age has not affected his performance as he proved by his energic performance. He tried all his rides in earnest though the luck was not always on his side.

Many viewed Christopher as the real hero of the season. Christopher suffered greatly after Khaitans` horses trooped out of Vijay`s stable to a relatively quite inexperienced trainer, Raunak Banerji`s yard. Banerji totaled only nine wins during the season and it tells the whole tale. More importantly, having missed the sport for about six weeks, because of a hand injury, Christopher still came close to achieving the impossible, falling short only by two points.

Vijay`s other runners in the eight-event card also performed like duds. Aragon (Neeraj Rawal-up), for instance, hardly performed like a 9/10 hot favourite, thanks to his burst blood vessel during the running of the race. The horse was always among the frontrunners but failed to take the pressure when challenged by his long time upfront companion, Artificial (C. Alford) and the late-finishing pair of Modification (Ashhad Asbar) and Uptown Girl, the ultimate winner from trainer Vinay Jaiswal`s stable.

The story was no different in the day`s feature, the 1,200m Xisca Cup, which witnessed Vijay 9/4 favourite, Setaflame (Neeraj) performing in a pathetic manner. The horse raced in the mid-division and never improved, allowing trainer Shafiq Khan`s long-shot, Flanker, to fight out the finish with Jaiswal`s pair of Bull Run (app. Nikhil Naidu) and No More Politic (Akash Rajput), while the Dashrath-ridden Noverro placed a close fourth.

The last three weeks of were totally ruled by Jaiswal`s contingent – comprising of the home raised and also the Western India migrants. The young man finished a creditable third, on the championship table, though way behind the Singh brothers – Vijay and Bharath.

Besides, the excitement added by Bull Run and No More Politics in Flanker`s race, Jaiswal had notched up a brace of wins through I Me N Myself and Uptown Girl. The baby race on the card, the 1,400m Sabre Dance Plate was also keenly contested. It was trainer Rutherford`s quiet fancy, Antiquarian (Anil Bandaal) who scored in the blanket finish, involving Harvinder Bath`s Demonstrate (Neeraj), the 5/2 favourite Danceress (C. Alford) and Shafiq Khans`s Be A Star (Akshay Kumar).

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