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Vulcan halts Big Sur’s winning streak in a tight finish

By: Frankel   January 11 , 2018

Adhiraj Jodha trained Vulcan refused to budge from his position in front despite tremendous pressure applied by favourite Big Sur and finally lasted out by the skin of his teeth to win the 2400 metres General Obaidullah Khan Trophy, a race for horses rated 60 to 86, the feature event of Thursday`s evening races. The quality of fare dished out was pedestrian with punters unable to benefit even when the favourites won because of lack of competitive nature of these races. The other races proved to be a minefield for the followers of form.

Big Sur was backed down to cramped odds as Frivolous who was expected to be a threat not attracting the kind of betting that his colours often do. Jockey Yash Narredu took Frivolous to the front from the start and his lead was only on sufferance because the moment Vulcan essayed his challenge at the top of the straight, Frivolous not only fell back but ended up a dismal last thus showing total drop in performance vis-à-vis his run with Big Sur on the last occasion. Vulcan who led by a few lengths going into the final furlong was strongly pressed by Big Sur and both these horses fought out a thrilling battle all the way in the final furlong. Vulcan though looking vulnerable dug deep into his reserves and managed to prevail by the proverbial whisker over the strongly ridden Big Sur on whom Trevor Patel did his best without getting the desired result. Uncle Scrooge who had scored a surprise win lapsed back to his old ways by finishing poorly.

Vishal Gaikwad trained Auburn who was backed to strong favouritism, had no problem in winning the 1600 metres Tiger Tops Plate, a race for horses rated 40 to 66 with a start to finish mission. The fancied Gloriosus tried hard to catch up with the front-runner but found much to his chagrin, the favourite slipping away. Grand Vitesse was a tame third.

The well-prepared Pioneer, despite running green and giving immense problems to jockey Suraj Narredu managed to get the better of favourite Oomph close home in the 1200 metres Assert The Right Plate, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Pesi Shroff invariably has a runner in most of these races and by virtue of their breeding, they always pose a confusing scenario to punters. Some of them do come out and win in their first outing while the others would be too backward to make any impression. Spirtfire belonged to the latter category as he was sluggish at the start and had to be goaded and coaxed to get on with the job. Oomph who had lost by a whisker last time out led all the way and shaped to win especially since Pioneer was going all over the place. Suraj however was equal to the task, correcting the waywardness of the horse with alacrity and then getting the fancied runner to stretch out to measure the favourite in the final moments of the race. Perpetual Winning was faraway third, seven lengths adrift of the runner-up.

Karthik Ganapathy trained Grand Accord who was loitering in the rear till turning for home, covered up the leeway in the homestretch with a ground-saving run along the rails and managed to thwart the late bid of favourite Khartoum to win the 1600 metres Perceived Value Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Khartoum who was the betting rage, did not get a clear run at a crucial stage of the race but when he found a clear path, came home with a big effort only to miss the berth narrowly. Khartoum appears to relish trips longer than the mile. Marvel necked out Sumaaq from the third position. There was a Stewards enquiry into the race with the Stipes who asked for the same being not sure whether the winner caused the fall of jockey Amit on Wabi Sabi. The Stipes were too tentative and their asking for a Stewards enquiry without watching the TV replays before their action was surprising to say the least. They were searching for reasons during the enquiry and decided to continue look for the same after the last race! There was no change in the placings as Grand Accord did not appear to be the cause of the fall of the jockey

Vishal Gaikwad trained Roosevelt faced a modest opposition which lacked both intent and talent and the favourite had no problem in winning the 1200 metres Rao Saheb D K Parkar Trophy (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Last start winner Backstreet Bay edged out Philadelphia for the runner-up berth. Jodha trained Gold Field attracted disproportionate betting in the lower division of the race as no one could spot who could be a serious contender in the race especially since the odds-on Checkmate shot up dramatically. In the event, Gold Field who always held a forward position barely managed to contain the challenge of Make It Shine to land the spoils. Checkmate warmed up to the task late to finish third ahead of Rain Dance.

Trevor Patel had no problem in steering favourite Oracle to an easy win in the 1000 metres Indian Air Force Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Oracle rolled out in the closing stages of the race but still was good enough to win by more than two lengths. Angel Child ran on to take the second position ahead of Double Nine. Invictus Maneo who was bidding for a hat-trick put up a dismal performance.

A pathetic field of 10 runners were in the fray for the 1200 metres April Blossom Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. It was difficult to pick who could be the winner as none of the horses had given hopes of an early win. One horse had to win the race and in this sort of a situation, any horse attracting noticeable betting in the ring against the known form has won more often than not. Shazaan Shah trained Polyneices who had finished 11th out of 15 runners in his last outing and finished 13 lengths behind the winner, came in for substantial betting which proved to be well directed as the progeny of Mull of Kintyre displayed hitherto hidden form to swamp the field with a start to finish dash. Such form fluctuations do not bring the sport any goodwill and unfortunately those who are in positions of power are also guilty of encouraging such practices. Epiphany who was the default favourite was a well beaten second ahead of Skysurfer.


Vulcan (A Imran Khan up) winner of the General Obaidullah Khan Trophy

Auburn (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Tiger Tops Plate

Pioneer (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Assert The Right Plate

Grand Accord (A Imran Khan up) winner of the Perceived Value Plate

Gold Field (D S Daman up) winner of the Rao Saheb D K Parkar Trophy (Div-II)

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