Prasanna Kumar trained War Hammer kept his date with destiny as he staved off a spirited challenge from Impavid to win the Gr 1 Colts Championship Stakes, the second classic of the season at Bangalore on Sunday. The progeny of Air Support produced his patented acceleration but was made to sweat before he could get the better of Impavid.
At the end of the Bangalore winter season, War Hammer and Impavid emerged as the best of the first season runners and they have thus far maintained their reputation. The only question mark about War Hammer was whether he would get the mile-long trip as effectively as he had done over a shorter trip. He answered in the affirmative though it is quite possible that he could be sorted out over the mile and a quarter trip of the Derby. On the other hand, Impavid should have no such problems. These two horses along with Fillies Championship Stakes winner Well Connected have emerged as the three prime contenders for the biggest race of the season to be held on Sunday, July 21.
War Hammer cornered all the support in the betting ring with Impavid and Trafalgar having their share of supporters. Jockey Suraj Narredu had Trafalgar dictate the pace with Impavid in close attendance while Trevor on War Hammer chose to play the waiting game. Trafalgar led well into the straight, but it was clear that Impavid would get the upper hand eventually. Impavid surged ahead with a furlong left in the race with War Hammer essaying a strong challenge. After a keen tussle, War Hammer asserted his supremacy in the shadow of the post. Hyderabad challenger Lightning Bolt pushed Trafalgar to the third position.
Irfan Ghatala trained Automatic brought off a big upset in the 1600 metres Racing Patrons Trophy, a race for horses rated 75 and above. Isn`t She Lovely who had recorded an impressive win in her last outing, was quoted at very cramped odds. The rest were all at long odds. After Ultimate Warrior led the field well into the straight, Sandesh let Isn`t She Lovely to grab the lead. But the filly did not draw clear and it was clear that the favourite would be in trouble as the other horses from behind were shadowing the favourite menacingly. Inside the final furlong, Auburn managed to surge ahead and shaped to win but was beaten in the closing moments of the race by Automatic who decided to put his best foot forward after a series of disappointing efforts. Pradeep Chouhan was astride the winner. Kambaku came up with a late flourish to take the third position while Isn`t She Lovely was relegated to the fourth position.
Parvati Byramji trained Gift of Grace made a smashing debut in the 1200 metres Red Divine Plate, a race for maiden three-year-olds. After being held back in about the fourth or fifth position in the early part of the race as favourite Constanza set the pace, Gift of Grace was brought into contention with a furlong left in the race by jockey Zervan. The progeny of Speaking of Which quickened well and left Constanza stranded to win by a widening margin of eight lengths. Stroke of Genius occupied the third position.
Rajesh Narredu trained Simply Magical recorded an upset in the 1200 metres Guindy Plate, a race for horses rated 0 to 20. Himachali was the betting rage despite no noteworthy effort to her credit. Jockey Yash Narredu took Simply Magical on a start to finish mission with Regal Force in proximity. Himachali was in about the sixth or seventh position. In the stretch, Trevor weaved his way in the centre of the course. Under a strong riding, Himachali began to respond but she did not have the turn of foot to overhaul the front-runner who held on comfortably to win the race. Regal Force stayed on to take the third position.
Arjun Mangalorkar trained Kirkwood`s credentials were enhanced when Northern Alliance whom she had beaten on the previous occasion had recorded a runaway win on Saturday and as such, was well backed to win the 1600 metres Adler Stakes, a race for horses rated 15 to 35. Crack of Dawn, however, was fancied more than Kirkwood. Ido What I Do took over the running approaching the final turn and led deep into the straight before being overwhelmed by Kirkwood. Crack of Dawn too produced a strong run, but Kirkwood managed to reach the safety of the winning post with a measure of comfort with Ido What I Do managing to save place money.
Prasanna Kumar trained Corona Del Corsa had the best credentials to win the 1400 metres Justice P Medappa Memorial Trophy, a race for horses rated 30 to 50 especially after the horse he had beaten on the last occasion namely Abhira had gone on to record a smashing win in her next outing. Suraj Narredu had the favourite take charge from the word `go` and Corona Del Corsa lasted out to win from the fast-finishing Land of Liberty. Akita Pro had all the chances, but she did not quicken enough to pose a danger. Star Cavalry once again ran without hope and eventually ended up a dismal fourth showing no improvement from the previous effort.
Neil Darashah trained War Hero had served notice of an early win by his forward run in the previous effort but the progeny of Strong Suit had fewer takers in the betting ring in what appeared to be a type of betting for the 1200 metres Classic Act Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 30 to 50. War Hero came up with a big effort down the final 300 metres in the hands of apprentice jockey Manish to swamp the field in great style. Wings of Desire also made a late bid to take the second position ahead of favourite Kvasir. Nityanand trained Star Man who had won against the run of expectations last time out, recorded an encore under a strong ride by Trevor Patel which enabled the progeny of Win Legend to stave off the strong bid of Birchwood in the lower division of the race. Bold Move ran on to finish third.
Kirkwood (S John up) winner of the Adler Stakes
Gift Of Grace (S Zervan up) winner of the Red Divine Plate
Simply Magical (Yash Narredu up) winner of the Guindy Plate
Corona Del Corsa (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Justice P. Medapa Memorial Trophy
War Hammer (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
War Hero (Manish R up) winner of the Classical Act Plate (Div-I)
Automatic (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Racing Patrons Trophy
Star Man (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Classical Act Plate (Div-II)