Trainer Bharath Singh`s prized youngster, Eastern Star (Y.S. Srinath-up), won the 1,400m Bahrain Cup, from the visiting South India filly, Punjabi Girl (A. Sandesh), on Sunday, the opening day of the cold weather season. It was a close finish between the two well-performed youngsters but the out-station invader attracted better support in the betting though the local Star went on to put his stamp of authority inside the final 100m of the race.
The verdict between the two happened to be half-a-length, a flattering one for the filly`s supporters but the 6-kg weight advantage enjoyed by Sulieman Attaollahi`s filly, and the defeat, leaves her connections to hope for a weaker set of fillies, waiting for in the opposition, in the first Classic of the season, early next month.
However, there are more than half a dozen smart youngsters waiting in the wings and about a couple of more are expected to arrive to take a tilt at the local Classics.
Purists, however, complained that the filly could have performed better had she been allowed to race in her preferred style, a long check, instead of being ridden up with the field. Eastern Star, in fact, was held back quite a bit till about 250m from home, before seeking the rail-side passage to victory.
Half-an-hour earlier, two more fillies – the western India challenger, Adjudicate (Christopher Alford), and the local challenger, Advika (Nikhil Naidu) -- were seen in engaging action, in the 1,400m Allodium Handicap. The narrow verdict in this race went in favour of Advika. It is not because Naidu rode a great race but for Alford`s ageing process, on the half-money favourite was clearly visible.
To be fair, the champion horseman for many years, fought a neck and neck fight, practically throughout the final furlong but lost by a neck.
Also, one must not forget, Advika is beginning to settle down after a poor monsoon season and a part of last winter, too. More over, the Multidimensional daughter was also enjoying 3-1/2kg from her half sister.
Jockey Sandesh, early in the afternoon, rode a well-judged race on trainer Javed Khan`s 4/1 shot, Tomorrow Forever, in the Romantic Liaison Handicap. The visiting jockey, in fact, rode a copybook race on the four-year-old filly who has never been a reliable customer but beginning to settle down.
Racing otherwise was far less entertaining in rest of the card.
Trainer Vikash Jaiswal, opened his season`s account in the curtain raiser, the Psychic Flame Handicap which was an easy pick for I Me N Myself (app. Sujit Paswan) led from the start to sweep the opposition off their feet.
Jaiswal`s next win was a kind of charity, or a gift from the institution for loyalty. The trainer`s Stunner (P.S. Chauhan), drawn one, won from the start, thanks to Jugnu Gurung, the jockey of the winner`s stable-mate, Born To Win, who shifted out badly from draw two, crowding the rest in the field towards the outer rails and to stumble and fall. Jugnu himself had a fall 200m from the start and also was totally responsible for the unseating of jockey Dashrath Singh from Bharath`s colt, Bojangles, a 4/1 shot.
Stipes said after the stewards` enquiry that Jugnu lost his stirrup iron soon after the start and it was an accident. The race was allowed to stand instead of being declared null and void.
The race goers felt Jaiswal was rewarded for his loyalty. He was the only trainer who did not sign last week`s complain letter to the stewards, against the RCTC Vice president`s, Robin Corner`s high handedness.
I Me N Myself (Sujit Kr Paswan up) winner of the Psychic Flame Handicap
Tomorrow Forever (A Sandesh up) winner of the Romantic Liaison Handicap
Stunner (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Real Danger Handicap
Demonstrate (R S Bhati up) winner of the Star Contender Handicap
Advika (Nikhil Naidu up) winner of the Allodium Handicap
Eastern Star (Y S Srinath up) winner of the Bahrain Cup
Artiste Royal (Afzal Khan up) winner of the Star Angel Handicap