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Desert God smashes field in President of India Cup

By: Tippu Sultan   September 9 , 2019

Padmanabhan trained Desert God came home in solitary splendour to win the Gr 3 President of India Gold Cup, a terms race for four-year-olds and over to complete a hat-trick in this event at Malakpet on Monday. Desert God who is the highest stakes earner in the history of Indian racing with over Rs 8 crores gave an arm-chair ride to victory for jockey Sandesh who was winning this event for the fourth time in a row. This was the 17th win for Desert God from 26 outings.

Bookmakers were generous enough to send him to the post at good odds considering his undoubted superiority over this trip. Perhaps they were either mislead by the weighing scales which showed Desert God`s weight to be at around 470 kgs which is much higher than what he normally runs at or they thought that Secretive Force could pull a fast one. In the event, those who encashed were happy that they could at least get an opportunity to back him when they least expected the opportunity.

Sandesh took Desert God to the front and the progeny of Burden of Proof enjoyed his foray in front. Sandesh increased the momentum on turning for home and immediately Secretive Force who was in the chase from the start was stranded while My Opinion made no progress. Desert God stretched away from his rivals to eventually win by a widening margin of six lengths over Secretive Force. My Opinion ran below known form finishing third another three and a half lengths behind the runner-up.

Desert God is the most durable horse in Indian racing history like his sire Burden of Proof who was kept in racing till the age of 13. Desert God has lost none of his zest for racing and he has always been a willing performer. Desert God has surely been a horse of a lifetime and it must have been doubly thrilling for trainer Padmanabhan who not only owns it in partnership but has also bred the champion same through his top-performing mare Running Flame.

Suraj Narredu who had been the despair of the punters who put faith in his wards in the last two weeks were a frustrated lot. However, his power-riding on Phenomenal Cruise could be considered a redeeming effort in his bid to regain the confidence of not only himself but also of the punters. The well-backed runner from Donald Netto was ridden with great commitment by Suraj to nail Ashwa Yashobali on the post to land the spoils in the 1400 metres Original Vel Mrs Radha Balasubramani Gold Cup, a terms race for three-year-olds and over. Lesser fancied Ashwa Yashobali led from the start in the race held in the pouring rain and poor visibility with Phenomenal Cruise settled along the rails in about the third or fourth position. Ashwa Yashobali kicked on gamely with Sandesh going all out even as Suraj was trying to get a clear run between the front-runner and Semper Fidelis. Phenomenal Cruise got the clear run closer home and Suraj packed punch in his effort to get the favourite to put his head in front at the finish. Be Sure ran on late to finish third ahead of Semper Fidelis who was in the hunt till deep in the stretch.

In the battle between two apprentice jockeys, Abhay Singh was able to get long shot Mahira to stave off the late flourish of well-backed Delphina to land the spoils in the lower division of the Half A Crown Plate. Once More and Delphina were the two strongly fancied horses in the fray. Once More took over the running with a furlong left in the race but Mahira who was in the chase and warmed up faster than Delphina managed to wrest the lead close home and enjoyed a good break which stood the long shot in good stead. Delphina who had some lengths to cover on the front-runners, came home with a late flourish only to miss the berth by a desperately close margin. Once More was a close third.

Satheesh trained Magical Skill who had lost a possible winning opportunity thanks to a poor ride by his jockey Bopanna on the last occasion made amends in the 1200 metres Nawab Khaja Moinuddin Khan Memorial Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 40 to 65. Proud Warrior took over the running inside the final furlong and stormed ahead but closer home was challenged by Magical Skill and Scooby Dooby Do who charged home with powerful efforts. Magical Skill managed to put his neck in front while Scooby Dooby Do managed to head Proud Warrior to get the runner-up berth. Those who were in serious betting barring Scooby Dooby Do were not spotted at the busy end. Ravinder Singh trained Yanga got a dream run along the rails and apprentice jockey Afroz was quick to pounce on the opportunity by ducking his horse towards the rails to win the lower division of the race. With the front-running Arc of History shifting out closer home as apprentice jockey Gaurav Singh unable to keep it on a straight course, Yanga could sail through and edge out the long-time leader to win at nourishing odds. Shandaar was third. The jockey of Pentagon, Naresh was not in the saddle when the start was given, and the Stewards declared the horse as a non-starter.

Donald Netto trained Kimberley Cruise made a winning debut in the hands of jockey Kiran Naidu in the 1100 metres Elusive Hero Plate (Div I), a race for maiden three-year-olds. Since the horses which had the benefit of a race run had performed poorly, it was only to be expected that a debutant could have a decisive say. Kimberley Cruise who had been subjected to judicious preparation was backed ahead of those who had a race run to their credit. Kimberley Cruise was taken on a start to finish and the favourite stayed put there, checking in comfortably clear of Dimension by a margin of over three lengths. Golden Faraska ran on to finish third. The heavily supported Reno Star managed to edge past another equally well-fancied Aristocrat`s Charm in the final furlong to land the spoils for trainer Hilton Sequeira in the Division II of the race. Reno Star was lugging in badly but jockey Aneel Kumar managed to take corrective action and ride out the horse to a facile win over Aristocrats Charm who flattered to deceive. Glendale was third. Rathasapthami returned lame. The well-backed Strategist from the stables of trainer Sequeira obliged expectations in the Division III of the race. Stepper who came in for strong support led the field into the final furlong before surrendering the lead to Flying Queen. Strategist who was several lengths adrift was driven out aggressively by jockey C S Jodha to cover the leeway. Strategist easily measured those in front and recorded a comfortable win over Flying Queen while Stepper weakened to finish third.


Kimberly Cruise (Kiran Naidu up) winner of the Elusive Hero Plate(Div-I)

Reno Star (Aneel up) winner of the Elusive Hero Plate(Div-II)

Mahira (Abhay Singh up) winner of the Half A Crown Plate(Div-II)

Magical Skill (Jitendra Singh up) winner of the Nawab Khaja Moinuddin Khan Memorial Plate(Div-I)

Phenomenal Cruise (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Original Vel Mrs.Radha Balasubramani Gold Cup

Desert God (A Sandesh up) winner of the President Of India Gold Cup (Gr.2)

Yanga (Afroz Khan up) winner of the Nawab Khaja Moinuddin Khan Memorial Plate(Div-II)

Strategist (C S Jodha up) winner of the Elusive Hero Plate(Div-III)

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