Trainer Vijay Singh`s prized runner Shivansh (Suraj Narredu-up) scored an easy victory in the 2,800m Calcutta St. Leger, the star attraction in Saturday`s card. Vijay, in fact, totally ruled the afternoon`s proceeding, winning five of the eight events on the card. Suraj`s contribution to Vijay`s tally of five was three while the other stable`s riders, Nikhil Naidu and apprentice, Hasib Alam, picked up an event apiece. The afternoon was also witnessed the fall of three jockey S. Zervan, Hindu Singh and Nikhil Naidu from their respective rides in the Classic Sky Cup and the Queen`s Court Handicap.
Shivansh had displayed his penchant for the staying trip while trouncing the opposition in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, over an identical trip. Therefore, the Top Class-Immortal Story colt, despite the presence of trainer Javed Khan`s charge Barbaresco (A. Sandesh) , who had placed marginally ahead of Shivansh in the Calcutta Derby, the Leger line-up, attracted tonnes of money favouring Shivansh who went to the start as an even-money favourite. May be because, Barbaresco had not been showing any progress in this morning trials, after changing stables – Pesi Shroff`s to Javed`s.
The race was run at a fairly fast pace as Aashna (Naidu) showed the way to the favourite who took over from the 1,000m marker and went away with the task of winning.
Shivansh did face a some challenge inside the last 150m of the race when trainer Arjun Mangalorlokar`s Point To Prove (Neeraj Rawal) was brought with a pouncing run but Suraj held on his ground firmly to score by a shade over a length.
An hour ago Suraj had guided Vijay`s another hotly fancied favourite, Arjuna to a narrow victory from a difficult position to land the 1,600m Eastern Air Command Cup. With the top-weighted Coup de Grace (C. Alford) making all the running and threatening to upset, Suraj had to use all his experience to get the winning-post verdict. In the same race, trainer James McKeown`s Fabiola unseated her jockey Nikhil Naidu who, however, escaped with minor injuries. Naidu had replaced Hindu Singh, who had a fall from Avebury in the 1,200m Classic Sky Cup. In the same race the visiting jockey S. Zervan was also unseated from trainer Bharath Singh`s favourite, Duke, who had taken the winning lead when the mishap happened. Trainer Aashay Doctor`s Izzy (C. Alford) won the race from Jasbir`s Singh`s Roxon (Mohit Singh).
Coming back to Vijay: The story was no different in the concluding event 1,400m Queens Court Handicap; in which Suraj partnered Vijay`s favourite, Lakshya, to a photo-victory. The 7/4 favourite allowed the top-weighted Millenium Glory (app. Vikram Singh) to dictate terms but the apprentice`s failure to stop the long time leader`s shifting out course nearly cost Suraj dearly.
Smith And Wesson (Naidu), a 8/1 shot, put his best foot forward to down a friendless, Rule Downunder (app Tejeshwar) and the 3/1 favourite, Tiger of Mysore (app. R.S. Bhati) in the 1,600m Indian Air Force Cup. Smith And Wesson produced his usual electrifying run to beat Rule Downunder and Tiger of Mysore just 50m from home.
Dakshesh, too, was ridden in a similar fashion by apprentice Hasib Alam, to win the 1,100m Audubon Handicap, in a desperately close finish, from trainer Jasbir Singh`s quietly fancied Kefira (Rajendra Singh) who was making a start-to-finish bid. Vikash Jaiswal`s Indus Prince (Vinay Jaiswal) made every post of the 1,100m Commuter Handicap, a winning one. The horse won despite drifting out badly.