Trainer Vijay Singh`s fancied galloper, Shivansh, scored an easy victory in the hands of the champion jockey Suraj Narredu, to lift the 1,600m Aperitivo Cup, Wednesday`s feature event. Races were, originally, billed for March 7 but were postponed due to inclement weather. Early in the afternoon, Vijay`s Namiki (Trevor Patel) had also provided the champion trainer with a decisive victory while Suraj had partnered trainer Raunak Banerji`s strongly fancied runner, Trouboutin, to business-like victory. Jockey Imran Chisty, who is locked with Suraj for the championship honour, also scored a point when Manvendra Singh-trained Kimaya had an easy measure of an equally fancied Supermodel (Suraj) in the King Wajid Ali Shah of Oudh Cup.
The success rate of the outstation migrants has instilled fear of a kind among the local aspirants. Therefore, a fair number of them had attracted big wagering only to disappoint.
In the Aperitivo Cup, for instance, Ace Ace Ace (Trevor) was rage of bettors but the Decaan star was no match for Shivansh, who despite shifting out badly in the final stages of the race, scored over the long time leader, Shivalik Showers (Dashrath Singh) and the top-weighted New England (P.S. Chauhan).
Vijay`s Namiki (Trevor) was also ridden in a check, behind Daring Heart (Suraj); until 150m from home before shooting into the winning lead. The winner was, however, a trifle lucky as Javed Khan`s Divine Chakra (Chisty) had taken an angular start and suffered. The horse trailed the field till the final turn. Chisty tried his best in the final stretch on the wide out but fell short at the wire by a length and a half.
Score by the end of the day was level, between Suraj and Chisty who had started the day with a solitary point advantage on the championship table.
Trainer Manvendra Singh`s Kimaya (Chisty) was strongly fancied to beat the 11/ 4 favourite, Supernormal (Suraj) and the 13/4 fancied runner, proved the point in the 1,600m King Wajid Ali Shah of Oudh Cup. Chisty sent the filly into a two-length lead within two furlong of the start and managed to retain the advantage over Bharath Singh trained horse.
Suraj, too, had made his intentions clear, about the championship, early in the afternoon when he guided Raunak Banerji`s Touboutin to a start-to-finish victory to claim the 1,400m Usher Handicap, a no whip race. The Air Support filly, faced some challenge from the western India migrant, Cliffs of Capri (Chauhan) but the latter, perhaps, needed this run after about a 13-weeks of lay off.
Chauhan also scored a winner. In the 1,100m Nero Handicap, the crafty jockey took an easy route, start-to-finish, to victory when Vikash Jaiswal`s speedy runner, Namak Halaal, lasted out to beat the late challenger, Long Shot (Suraj) an R.H. Sequeira`s charge and a long shot named The Kiss (Satish Nayak) from Javed Khan`s stable.
The jockey-turned-trainer, Christopher Alford`s magic continues. A 10-week rest, fuelled the extra energy into his mare, Romantic Zeal (Shezad Khan), a long shot, to steal a march over her 11 rivals in the 1,400m Voltage Handicap.
The story was no different in the concluding event, the 1,200m Coxcomb Handicap that was an easy pick for trainer Robert Gowli`s less fancied Itsamoocow, who was ridden off the pace only come back strongly in the final furlong of the race to score with ease.
Romantic Zeal (Shezad Khan up) winner of the Voltige Handicap
Louboutin (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Usher Handicap
Namiki (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Gridiron Plate
Namak Halaal (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Nero Handicap
Kimaya (Imran Chisty up) winner of the King Wajid Ali Shah Of Oudh Cup
Shivansh (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Aperitivo Cup
Itsamoocow (Imran Chisty up) winner of the Coxcomb Handicap