Trafalgar, the 9/10 favourite, kept his date with the Calcutta Derby Stakes on Sunday. Trained by James McKeown, the Western Aristocrat son was partnered the public choice to victory by none other than the course specialist, David Allan. In the process of his victory, Trafalgar also achieved the rare feat of winning the winter Derby, having already claimed RCTC`s monsoon edition of the prized event. The Alokananda Stakes, considered as the babies` Guineas, was, on the other hand, an easy pick for Vijay Singh`s improving filly, Silver Bracelet, who was given peach of a ride by the champion jockey Suraj Narredu. The other baby event, the Pat Quinn Memorial Cup was also claimed by Vijay`s Dornish (Nikhil Naidu).
It also seems an opportune time for yours truely to regret Suraj Narredu`s name inadvertently added with trainer Vijay Singh`s runner, Lesrel, in racingpulse.in`s January 11 column. It was jockey Hindu Singh, and not Suraj, who was, in fact, not even a participant in the race named the 1,200m Madras Race Club Cup.
Coming back to Trafalgar`s victory; the horse was held back behind Jaivant (A. Sandesh), Streaming Gold (S. John) and Inca (Hindu Singh) until 300m from home, before making his winning bid.
The challenge to the winner came from trainer Neil Darashah`s Tenno Sho (Trevor Patel), who was brought the shortest way home and appeared to be moving dangerously. May be, the switch from rails for the galloping room, 250m from home, had cost the 5/1 shot, a stride or two but also consider that Allan had dropped hands in the final 100m or so.
Silver Bracelet`s Alokananda Stakes` victory was a run-of-the-mill affair from the start of the 1,400m race. Suraj did sense emergency in the final furlong as he pushed the Win Legend filly, with an odd tap of the stick, too, to keep her going. The end-result was a shade under three length win that tells the tale.
In the other baby race, the 1,100m Pat Quinn Memorial Cup, Vijay`s rank-outsider, Dornish (Nikhil Naidu) returned triumphant, and handsomely, too. The Abbeyside son was made to gallop in the mid-division till the early half of the home straight before taking an easy measure of the long time front runners like Nandini`s Pet (P.S. Chauhan), Zodiac Prince (Imran Chisty) and others. The tiring first two named, were taken care of by Vijay`s better fancied runner, Gold Ray (Trevor).
The two sponsored event in the day`s card – the t2 Cup and the 42 Cup were claimed by the two failed favourites, respectively, Raunak Banerji-trained Louboutin (B. Mahesh) and Shafiq Khan`s Cocoanut (Akshay Kumar). Both horses have been knocking on the door and were also brought with late runs to score.
The 1,600m Bangalore Turf Club was an event worth going miles to watch. The South India challenger, New Moon (Trevor Patel) and Shafiq Khan`s Caiden (Chisty) fought long, but close, duel inside the final furlong, with end-verdict favouring the New Moon.
Trainer Manvendra Singh`s speedster, Fortune Express (app P. Vikram) may not have won a race for long but the horse has designed many ruinous battles. The fast pace cut by the speedster did spoil the chances of the top-weighted Riquewihr (Chisty) and also for that matter Vijay`s After Shock (Dashrath Singh) and others, including Vikash Jaiswal`s Double Nine (Chauhan), too. As a result of this Harvinder Singh Bath`s heavily fancied Surf Romance, with crafty rider Trevor in the saddle cashed in on the advantage, on his way to winning the Quasar Handicap.
The day`s opener, the Aggregated Handicap produced a shocker in trainer Javed Khan`s Raq s Sharqi (Dashrath) after letting down a millions time but it was curtains on a happy note when Vikash`s Namak Halaal (Chauhan), once again, triumphed almost from the start to lift the 1,100m Hall Of Famer Handicap.