Trainer Javed Khan`s aged galloper, Copernicus, scored another sensational victory, within nine days of his previous strike, on his way to claiming the 1,200m Arktouros Cup, Tuesday`s feature event. Jockey Ranidan Singh, who partnered the eight-year-old, had also guided trainer Sarfraz Khan`s quietly fancied Cocoanut to an equally upset victory, half-an-hour earlier, on an afternoon ruled, largely, by outsiders, after a favourable start.
Javed was bubbling with confidence. In a tete-a-tete, early in the afternoon, the trainer had opined that Copernicus, who was a convincing winner in a 1,100m race, would certainly relish the extra 100m as the opposition was almost the same. In fact, he also confided that both his horses -- the other one being, Brahamchari (app. P. Vikram) – would be there at the finish, in the order named.
Javed was spot on as Copernicus handed three parts of a length beating to Brahamchari while Vikash Jaiswal`s least fancied of his three runners, Lightning Strikes (Vinay Jaiswal) placed third, after raising some hopes of winning 100m from home.
Copernicus and Brahmachari, on the other hand, were ridden in their usual style, well off the pace, but were quick to gather momentum in the last furlong as Vikash`s pair of One Man Army (app. Sujit K. Paswan) and Denny Crane (P.S. Chauhan) made most of the running but weakened, handing Lightning Strikes the advantage, up-front.
Cocoanut, too, won a waiting race in the 1,100m Assertive Handicap. The winner, however, was always in a striking distance behind Vikash`s Dangal (Chauhan) and Aashay Doctor`s Shy Belle (C.Alford); until the final furlong. The five-year-old joined the issue, thereafter, to beat the late finishing 5/2 favourite, Pollyana, also from Javed`s yard – ridden by C.S.Jodha – about a 75m from the winning post. Both Cocoanut and Pollyana were, however, badly shifting out in the final furlong.
Trainer Raunak Banerji Big Star (app. Rupal Singh) won the 1,400m Active Asset Handicap, thanks largely to Vjay Singh`s joint favourite, Lancaster (Jodha) who failed the jump out with the field and was quickly hustled to race behind the fellow favourite, Jordana (Chauhan), the leader. Jordana, however, failed to win a tailor-made race, which fell into Big Star`s lap.
Trainer Rutherford Alford`s Houtzen (P. Tajeshwar) caused the biggest upset in the seven-event card. The Dean`s Kitten filly, who had scored in her maiden start last winter, had not been showing any form of late but won the 1,400m Mariinsky Handicap from a heavily fancied Vikash`s runner, Uncrowned King (Chauhan).
Houtzen was ridden off the pace to victory.
Trainer Harvinder Bath`s repeatedly battered, Fiorelle (app. R.S. Bhati), finally delivered the good in the 2,000m Fly Like The Wind Handicap. The Sedgefield daughter was held back behind early leaders, Adriatic Sea, City Heights and Athletico, until top of the turn before forging ahead for a two-length victory over the last named runner.
Trainer Vijay Singh`s day started early. The champion schooler pulled off a popular double through Diamond Harbour (Nikhil Naidu) and Arjuna (Jodha) – both sporting the late racing Baron MAM`s colours. Diamond Harbour expanding odds hardly worried Naidu, who held back his top-weighted runner, behind the speedy Shanayaa`s Pet, till about a furlong from home, to score over a late finishing Eastern Flame -- a filly trained by Richard Alford and ridden by Tajeshwar – who was equally supported in the betting.
The 16/10 favourite, Arjuna (Jodha), on the other hand, made his own running and simply cruised home in the 1,400m Steal The Glory Plate. In the same race Bath`s filly Expensive Affair (Chauhan) finished a promising second when held back for a late run.
Diamond Harbour (Nikhil Naidu up) winner of the Mischevious Trot Handicap
Arjuna (C S Jodha up) winner of the Steal The Glory Plate
Houtzen (P Tejeshwar up) winner of the Mariinsky Handicap
Big Star (Rupal Singh up) winner of the Active Asset Handicap
Cocoanut (Ranidan Singh up) winner of the Ascriptive Handicap
Copernicus (Ranidan Singh up) winner of the Arktouros Cup
Fiorelle (R S Bhati up) winner of the Fly Like The Wind Handicap