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Durango asserts superiority in Asaf Jah Cup

By: Tippu Sultan   October 7 , 2019
   

Although Vittal Deshmukh trained Durango hadn`t won for 239 days, the four-year-old had given enough indication that he was knocking on the doors of success and so it was in the 2000 metres Asaf Jah VII Memorial Cup, a race for horses rated 60 to 85, the feature event of Monday`s Hyderabad races. Jockey Ajeeth Kumar rode a well-judged race on the winner.

The last three efforts of Durango had been impressive, but he could not convert the performance into victory because the ones who beat him were better placed on those occasions. In his last start, he was beaten by stablemate Egyptian Prince who had won the race in record time. However, the market perception initially suggested that it would be a cakewalk for Satheesh trained Mark My Word who was bidding to complete a hat-trick. Close to race time, Durango came in for big support which boosted the hopes of those who had plumped for Durango.

Chase Your Dreams who had been running over the staying trip for the first time in his career has lost the form which had given him a bagful of wins over a sprint as a juvenile. He was perhaps in the race for an outing because his form was poor, and he hadn`t won for over 700 days. He set the pace till approaching the final bend and weakened to finish last. Jockey Ajeeth Kumar on Durango judged the pace of the race to a nicety and made a significant move approaching the final bend and took over the running at the top of the straight even as jockey Suraj Narredu on Mark My Word was perhaps caught by surprise and had to shake the reins to improve. Durango spurted clear on hitting the stretch and it was clear that it was going to be a futile chase for Mark My World who found the front-runner slipping away with more on hand. Doroteo who was sluggish at the start ran on to finish third.
  
  


Akshay Kumar had to exert himself fully on favourite No Compromise to extract a win over the luckless Sporting Smile in the 1800 metres Auxiliary Plate, a race for horses rated 40 to 65. No Compromise took a long while to warm up and Sporting Smile who showed swiftness in the stretch had gone into a useful lead going into the final furlong. However, once No Compromise warmed up, there was no stopping the favourite. Under the strong riding of Akshay Kumar, the issue was settled in favour of the favourite who managed to prevail by ¼ of a length. Gusty Look ran on from way off the pace to take the third position while those who went at good speed from the start faded out of the reckoning in the stretch.

Prasad Raju trained Safra who had run a noteworthy third in her last outing despite not getting a clear run was backed down spiritedly to win the 1200 metres Classic Story Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 45. Safra had to be fully extended by Suresh Narredu to thwart the bid of Green Turf and Augenstern who put up a valiant fight in the final furlong. Safra prevailed by ¼ of a length over Green Turf who in turn had her head in front of Augenstern. This was the third winner of the day for Suraj. Apprentice jockey Surya Prakash showed good enterprise when driving out the fancied Actually to stave off a strong challenge of Vallee Tiger in the 1800 metres Red Surprise Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 45. Elysian came in for good support but was planted at the gates much to the disappointment of those who had put their money on the six-year-old. Limousine led from the start and held the lead midway through the straight but was overhauled by Actually at this point. The fancied runner opened a few lengths lead which held the five-year-old mare in good stead. Vallee Tiger came up with a big effort, drew level but the apprentice held his ground against the more experienced Akshay Kumar to get Actually to prevail by ¼ of a length. Charlie Brown was third. Euro Zone who seems to have left the best days behind them was in the betting but made no show.

Apprentice jockey Surya Prakash showed good enterprise when driving out the fancied Actually to stave off a strong challenge of Vallee Tiger in the 1800 metres Red Surprise Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 45. Elysian came in for good support but was planted at the gates much to the disappointment of those who had put their money on the six-year-old. Limousine led from the start and held the lead midway through the straight but was overhauled by Actually at this point. The fancied runner opened up a few lengths lead which held the five-year-old mare in good stead. Vallee Tiger came up with a big effort, drew level but the apprentice held his ground against the more experienced Akshay Kumar to get Actually to prevail by ¼ of a length. Charlie Brown was third. Euro Zone who seems to have left the best days behind them was in the betting but made no show.

The last run of Laxman Singh trained Siyabonga was questionably poor as the four-year-old filly had flopped badly after a loss by a whisker to Ace Ace Ace who subsequently had won again. The run was the subject matter of an enquiry. Whatever the findings, the fact that run of Siyabonga had to be accepted with a pinch of salt was proved by the easy win recorded by the filly after receiving inspired betting. Siyabonga tracked the speedy Pentagon into the straight before storming clear in the final furlong to win with easy from Shaquille. Pentagon stayed on to take the third position of the well-backed Trump Girl who was blocked for a clear run along the rails in the crucial stages of the race which put paid to her hopes. The trainers have learnt a fine art of confusing the punters by varying the distance each time which works as a perfect alibi for the in and out running of the horses. The fluctuating odds on Southern Legacy whose price first crashed and then went up substantially in the betting ring would have sowed a seed of suspicion in the minds of those who intended to back the favourite to win the 1200 metres K Srinivas Reddy Memorial Cup (Div II), a race for horses rated 40 to 65. Those who persisted with the horse stood to benefit as Suraj Narredu who is earnestly chasing 2000 winners drove out the favourite to get the better of One One One. After Honest Hunter slipped into the lead in the final furlong, One One One came into strong contention and measured the lesser fancied runner inside the final 100 metres. Southern Legacy who warmed up to the task was brought home with a big effort, first to cover the leeway and then get the better of One One One in the closing strides of the race. Honest Hunter was third. Delphina let down expectations.

Robin Reddy Kondakalla trained Kesariya Balam who was running after a break of 666 days pulled off an upset win over favourite Starboy in the 1400 metres Shamshabad Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. Starboy assumed command from a forward position and stormed clear in the final furlong with only Kesariya Balam in the chase a few lengths adrift. The latter covered ground swiftly and managed to nail the favourite in the closing strides of the race. Sun Dancer was third more than eight lengths behind the runner-up. Fancied Surseine was sluggish at the start and did not raise a fluent gallop and finished a poor fourth.


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Ayur Shakti (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Classic Story Plate (Div-II)




Actually (Surya Prakash up) winner of the Red Surprise Plate




Durango (P Ajeeth Kumar up) winner of the Asaf Jah Vii Memorial Cup




No Compromise (Akshay Kumar up) winner of the Auxiliary Plate




Southern Legacy (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the K Srinivas Reddy Memorial Cup (Div-II)




Safra (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Classic Story Plate (Div-I)




Siyabonga (Akshay Kumar up) winner of the K Srinivas Reddy Memorial Cup (Div-I)




Kesariya Balam (Abhay Singh up) winner of the Shamshabad Plate




 
 
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