Trainer Manvendra Singh`s long shot, Interstellar (Hindu Singh-up) scored an authoritative victory over Vijay Singh`s equally neglected horse in the betting, Shivalik Story (P. Vikram) in the 1,400m Mysore Race Club Cup, on Thursday, the concluding fixture of the season. The last day also witnessed Vijay`s filly, Mahali (app. Nikhil Naidu), recording an impressive victory in the baby race, the 1,400m Aztec Plate. Vijay ended the season as the champion trainer while riding honours went to Dashrath Singh and Naidu was the top apprentice.
The fast pace in the race, thanks to Shivalik Story`s start-to-finish tactics, helped Interstellar to the hilt. The Top Class son unleashed a brilliant turn of foot in the final 150m to overhaul the field. Much was expected in the race from the sensational performer during the season, Sweet Music, but the Arti Doctor-trained four-year-old failed miserably on three counts: An excessive expectation, the short trip and reaching the mark at the scales. Yet the four-time winner, during the season, was voted as the champion horse of the season.
Most of the race in the eight-event card were claimed by those going for pillar-to-post victories but Vijay`s bolt from the blues, Mahali (Naidu) was simply brilliant when he was brought the shortest way home, from the way back of the field, to bury the winning hopes of Bharath`s 18/10 favourite, Lumenac (Dashrath), who was being hailed as a winner in the 1,400m Aztec Plate.
Another one who was also brought from an near-impossible position to win the race was trainer Harvinder Singh Bath`s long-priced winner, Dixie Diamond (Shezad Khan) in the Star of Italy Handicap. The five-year-old graced the wrong-end of the field till almost the final turn but covered good ground in the home stretch to down the Vikash Jaiswal`s heavily wagered Uncrowned King (Trevor Patel) after a brief dual in the last 150m of the race.
Vikash`s The Big Bull (Arshad Alam) and One Man Army (Sujit Paswan), however, delivered the goods as fancied runners in their respective events, the upper division of the 1,400m Contralto Handicap and the 1,100m Dark Legend Handicap.
If The Big Bull had to ward off a strong but late challenge from Richard Alford`s Looking Good (app. Tajeshwar), One Man Army made every post of the 1,100m scurry a winning one. The speedster, in fact, lasted out to beat Manvendra`s Pierce Arrow who was always in the chase of the winner.
Trainer Javed Khan had a very profitable season and thus finished a good third on the championship table. He effectively utilised the speed of his Carpe Noctem to victory, in a seven-furlong race, having scored a runaway victory over a 1,100m race. The utility allowance of apprentice P. Vikram on the 10/1 shot came as a bonus as the race was a virtual re-run of the scurry over the extended journey in the lower division of the Contralto Handicap. Vikam also displayed a matured head over his shoulders as he gradually built up a winning lead to score without a fuss.
Javed`s Pollyanna (C.S. Jodha) was a quiet fancy in the 1,100m Baqlava Handicap and the mare, too, was ridden in a big check till the field turned for home. The five-year-old also displayed a good turn of foot to humble the 5/2 joint-favourites – Patrick Quinn`s Alshafa (Trevor) and Vijay`s Multiple (Dashrath).
The afternoon started with the victory of 6/1 chance in the betting, Novikov (B. Mahesh) who paid a rich complement to her mentor, James McKeown) for transforming the Holding Court filly to a worthwhile galloper. Mahesh, too, build up a gradual lead, on Novikov, from the start to romp home by eight lengths.