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Antibes breaks maidens rank in the Oaks

  January 2 , 2021

Arjun Mangalorkar trained Antibes who went into the Gr 2 Bangalore Oaks as a maiden, had her status altered when she got the better of Mumbai challenger Rambunctious close to home to win the third classic of the Bangalore Winter Season on Saturday. The quality of the field in the fray was pretty modest if only because there was not enough data on them because of racing activity having been devastated by the Pandemic which had forced the clubs to shut operations for nine months.

Antibes had come within striking range of winning her outings but had lost in close finishes on two occasions. Her pedigree suggested that the mile and a half trip could be her forte against her opponents who had many limitations including the question mark about their staying ability.

Mumbai challenger Moldova set a modest face followed by Amazing Blaze, Rambunctious and the rest, with Antibes in about the fifth or sixth position while Lake Tahoe was in the rear of the group as a good surveyor. At the top of the straight, Moldova gave way for Amazing Blaze who then held the lead till approaching the final furlong. At this point, Rambunctious shot ahead and gave hopes for her supporters even as John had pulled Antibes to the wide outside to make the bid. Antibes finished on powerfully in the persevering hands of John, overwhelmed Rambunctious close to home and made her maiden win a classic one. Rambunctious was second while Lake Tahoe came up with a late bid to edge past Amazing Blaze to save place money.

The 1200 metres Lalit Mahal Plate, a race for horses rated 60 and above, was declared null and void after favourite Abira won the race quite easily from Regal Music and the rest. The outermost gates, 13 and 14 did not open. But the starter failed to notice it and did not call the runners back. One of the fancied runners Galvarino was stranded at the gates. There was a Stewards enquiry into the running of the race and the race was declared null and void. The practise adopted in recent times all over the world is to allow the race to stand but to declare those who were affected by the technical flaw in the starting gates to be declared non-starters and the bets on them refunded. Since the race has been fairly run, it is not right to penalize the winning connections and also those punters who had backed the horses which occupied the first three spots. In similar instances, the same method has been applied but then our Stewards are poor in remembering the precedents. Since the Stewards enquiry was not shown live, one is not privy to what other reasons forced their decision. In a way, it is good to hide the ignorance!

Darius Byramji trained horses have often confounded the followers of form for the unpredictable way they perform. The runs or wins of Multifaceted have followed a definite trend. Multifaceted flopped as a favourite in the Sprinters Cup at Mysore at a short price but the very next day smashed the field in a seven-furlong group race for the first time in his career. During this season, Multifaceted failed twice inexplicably as a strongly backed horse but this time out, showed total reversal of form, treating the formidable opponents with disdain in the 1400 metres New Year Cup, a terms race for four-year-olds and over. The pattern of running in front was the same but this time out Multifaceted didn`t slacken and left the field gasping. One doesn`t know logically what explanation one can give but then the professionals have perfected the art of coming up with the most ingenuine excuses to the officials who are willing to buy any explanation.

Sulaiman Attaollahi trained Cosmic Ray had beaten Multifaceted on the last occasion when the two had clashed and with the latter putting up a poor show in his next outing, Cosmic Ray was considered as a better betting proposition by punters in the New Year Cup. In the event, jockey Sandesh who replaced Suraj Narredu in the saddle this time out, had Multifaceted in the front as is the practice and the progeny of Multidimensional killed his opponents going at a good clip in front and quickening from his opponents on turning for home. He won with plenty in the saddle from Cosmic Ray and Snowdon. There is no dispute about the ability of Multifaceted but it is its many avatars that leaves a bad taste.

Irfan Ghatala trained Watchmystars was another whose runs were hard to understand. Backed for the third time as a strong favourite by the persistent punters, Watchmystars cruised into the lead from the widest draw and won the 1400 metres Dharmasthala Plate (Div II), a race for horses rated 15 to 35 with jockey Suraj Narredu hardly having to move a muscle. Though an explanation could be forthcoming because Watchmystars had slight interference at the start on the last occasion, the enthusiasm and the class that was on display this time was missing. Possibly the spark had misfired. Long shot Smithsonian edged out the fancied Golden Memory to get the runner-up berth. Forever Together from the stables of Rajesh Narredu towered over the rest in the upper division of the race so much so that the short price on the horse was justified. In the hands of jockey Suraj Narredu, the favourite cantered home winning by a widening margin of six lengths over Towering Presence and Rosy Rapunzel.

Favourite Scruples rallied strongly in the final furlong to measure the front-running Allamanda to grab the 1200 metres Novice Plate, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Perhaps for the first time, we did not have a single race for two-year-olds and this was the first race framed for the debutants. War Chieftain was faraway third. Most of the runners appeared to be very backward.

There was so much talk about Narayan Gowda trained Baroness well before the odds opened for the 1100 metres Devarayanadurga Plate, a race for horses in the lowest class, that the hype about the horse could be its undoing was clearly revealed during the race. Though Baroness did not have the form to recommend her credentials, such horses in the past have won when in receipt of unprecedented money. This time out, the price on the horse drifted out so much that the writing was on the wall about the fate of the favourite. Baroness led the field into the straight before doing the disappearing act. Country`s Jewel who came in for good support, in the end, won in the hands of jockey John from late rallying Song And Dance and She`s Superb.

Padmanabhan trained Sporting Memories duly won the 2000 metres Mercara Plate, a race for horses rated 30 to 50. Trevor Patel took Sporting Memories on a start to finish mission and the progeny of Leitir Mor had no problem in staying put in front. The heavily supported Ansaldo failed to make an impression and finished a tame second ahead of Redoubtable who nosed out Johnny Brave to save place money.


Scruples (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Novice Plate

Country`s Jewel (S John up) winner of the Devarayanadurga Plate

Watchmystars (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Dharmasthala Plate (Div-II)

Sporting Memories (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Mercara Plate

Multifaceted (A Sandesh up) winner of the New Year Cup (Gr.3)

Antibes (S John up) winner of the Champion Bangalore Oaks (Gr.2)

Forever Together (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Dharmasthala Plate (Div-I)

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