Darius Byramji trained Secretive Force, aggressively ridden by jockey Zervan, staved off a strong challenge from My Opinion to lift the Gr 3 2400 metres Governor`s Cup, the feature event of the concluding day`s races of the Bangalore Summer Season on Sunday. Secretive Force thus completed a hat-trick of wins and since he had finished second best in the first run of the season, he also won the Horse of the Season title for his consistent performance.
Roberta who was running in 12 days after a game second behind Desert God in the Leger over the gruelling trip was the favourite with the others being quoted at long odds. Trevor Patel took Roberta on a start to finish mission followed by Royal Sceptre, Secretive Force, Isn`t She Lovely, My Opinion, Watchmyscript and Super Smart racing behind. Roberta held the lead into the stretch, but it was clear for anyone panning the field that Secretive Force who was inching closer to the front-runner was the best travelling horse. Secretive Force went ahead inside the final 300 metres and opened a useful lead but was faltering in the end when My Opinion closed with an aggressive rally. Zervan managed to keep Secretive Force in front even as the progeny of Multidimensional was desperately looking for the post. My Opinion felt short by a neck. Watchmyscript showed some vigour when finishing third. Sandesh pulled up Isn`t She Lovely who finished down the field. The official announcement said that the filly had burst her blood vessels. Roberta who faded out in the final furlong came back lame. The summer season has seen Zervan firmly establish himself as one of the leading lights among jockeys in India.
Neil Devaney trained Northern Alliance had the best credentials to win the Bangalore Summer Million having recorded a runaway win on the last occasion. The horses which finished far away second and third behind Northern Alliance namely On The Trot and British Empress had subsequently recorded impressive wins thus flanking the form of the progeny of Gusto. Corona Del Corsa led the field deep into the straight followed by Ice Floe while Suraj Narredu preferred to keep Northern Alliance in the rear till turning for home. Northern Alliance covered the leeway with an aggressive effort and drew clear in the final furlong to win by a margin of over lengths. Corona Del Corsa stayed on to take the runner-up berth ahead of Ice Floe with the others finishing far behind.
Satish Narredu trained Treasure Delight who had let down huge expectations last time out made amends with a late rally to win the 1400 metres Leading Owner Cup, a race for horses rated 45 to 65. Commodus was widely expected to complete a hat-trick but lost a possible winning chance by losing pace after a good jump out from the gates. Unlike on the last occasion when Treasure Delight had been ridden aggressively in front, Suraj Narredu held Treasure Delight way behind and the progeny of Midnight Interlude covered acres of ground in the straight on the wide outside to contain the rally of favourite Commodus to land the spoils at lucrative odds. Teodoro also came from a long way back to take the third position but burst his blood vessel. Noah`s Park and Air Command who were fighting it out till the final 200 metres completely faded out from the scene when the race came to the boil.
Darius Byramji who had a good season along with his retained jockey Zervan was also able to get an outstanding result from Aeolus who recorded a hat-trick of wins by edging out the strong challenge of Aeisir to win the 1400 metres Leading Stud Cup, a race for horses rated 75 and above. Aeolus produced a powerful effort in the final furlong and engaged Aeisir in a stiff battle for supremacy before surging ahead in the shadow of the post. Diamond Rays ran on to finish third. Peluche ran way below expectations.
Prasanna Kumar trained Jersey Legend was backed down from a higher quote to win the 1200 metres Champion Trainer Cup, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Jersey Legend had finished 19 lengths behind the winner on the last occasion but this time out hit the front from the word `go` and skipped away to win from favourite Daring Prince who could not make his debut a winning one. Such form fluctuations are hard to understand, and the pity is that there is no explanation forthcoming for such improved performances because we don`t have a full-time Chief Stipe who is perhaps is busier explaining the steep penalties he imposes on the winners in his dual role as a handicapper. Incidentally, the horse was ridden by the same rider on the last occasion also.
Azhar Ali trained Great Celebration shocked the field in the 1600 metres Leading Tipsters Cup, a race for horses in the lowest category. Great Celebration had missed the kick last time out, struggled throughout to eventually finished about 40 lengths behind the eventual winner Three Wishes. The only alibi was that the horse missed the kick but since he had struggled throughout, he was not considered to have a serious chance. Since the surface form was poor, Inayathulla trained Grey Channel who appeared to be the medium of a gamble was backed spiritedly but this time out, the favourite missed the kick! Great Celebration led early, brought the field into view and skipped clear to win from Grey Channel who had to cover too much of leeway in the straight to justify the expectations. Aleef ran on to finish third.
Lokanath trained Ultimate Speed was another upset of the day in the 1200 metres Champion Jockey Cup (Div I), a race for horses rated 15 to 35. Kishan Thomas trained Dagobert was the medium of a gamble receiving one-sided support in the betting ring despite having finished 16 lengths behind in his last effort and not having won for 783 days. Ultimate Speed whose last win was during the last year`s Mysore regular-season hit the front from the start and had no problem in keeping his challengers at bay. There was a cluster finish for minor placings with Hafnium getting the second spot ahead of Stars In His Eyes. Favourite Dagobert struggled to pick up speed all the way in the stretch and finished a tame fourth.
Irfan Ghatala trained Bernardini who had been withdrawn at the gates on the last occasion because of his tantrums at the gate which had resulted in his bridle coming off, obliged quiet expectations in the 1600 metres Leading Bookmaker Cup, a race for horses rated 30 to 50. Foi Et Amour who had consistently found one better was backed in the hope she may prove third time lucky. Bernardini who got a dream run along the rails as the front running Nitromax shifted out, came into strong contention in the final furlong and drew clear to win with a measure of comfort. Foi Et Amour who showed some flourish could do no better than to manage another runner-up berth from the late-rallying Reczai.
Pradeep Annaiah trained After Hours built on the good forward run she had and gave a bold show in the 1400 metres Independence Plate, a race for horses rated 15 to 35. Jockey Sai Vamshi had the well-fancied After Hours chase Good Word into the straight and then pushed the five-year-old mare to take over the running inside the final two furlongs. After Hours quickened well to go storming clear of the rest and won by a comfortable margin of over three lengths with favourite Blue Jack finishing a tame second ahead of Zala Princes.
The last race of the season, the lower division of the Champion Jockey Cup, a race for horses in the lowest class, saw Imtiaz Khan trained Sun Power backed to the exclusion of the rest to end up as an even-money favourite from a higher quote. This perhaps indicated either the overconfidence on the part of the punters to back a favourite with such conviction because the earlier results didn`t go in favour of them or the fact that there were no other serious jobbers in the race. After Genuine Star brought the field into view, Sun Power in the hands of Darshan took over the running at the top of the straight and stormed clear of the rest to win untroubled. Estella was second ahead of Air Force One.
Northern Alliance (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Bangalore Summer Million (Gr.3)
Great Celebration (Vinod Shinde up) winner of the Leading Tipster Cup
Jersey Legend (Akshay Kumar up) winner of the Champion Trainer Cup
Ultimate Speed (Shamaz Shareef up) winner of the Champion Jockey Cup (Div-I)
Secretive Force (S Zervan up) winner of the Governor`S Cup (Gr.3)
Treasure Delight (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Leading Owner Cup
Aeolus (S Zervan up) winner of the Leading Stud Cup
Bernardini (C Umesh up) winner of the Leading Bookmaker Cup
After Hours (G Sai Vamshi up) winner of the Independence Plate
Sun Power (Darshan R N up) winner of the Champion Jockey Cup (Div-II)