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Jockeys protest delays proceedings

By: Tippu Sultan   January 6 , 2021

The Hyderabad Jockeys who were shaken by the death of apprentice jockey Jeetendra Singh on the track in the races held on Sunday, expressed their apprehensions about the safety of the race track and refused to ride after the first four races were gone through at Malakpet on Wednesday. It took a herculean effort on the part of the authorities to persuade the normally submissive jockeys to complete the formalities.

Keeping the safety aspect in mind, nothing was lost if the authorities had cancelled the remaining races. The races will be held on the regular winter track from the next racing day. Luckily, the races which were gone through after the protest by the jockeys, with fear on their mind, was uneventful.

The Hyderabad racecourse has two tracks, one for the monsoon season and the other for the winter. The monsoon track is a sand-based one which holds good during the rainy season. With the uncertainty about racing resuming due to COVID induced halt to all activities, the authorities perhaps did not pay attention to the winter track and planned to conduct the season on the monsoon track itself. The monsoon track poses its own problems as in the absence of rain the kickback becomes more than normal. The jockeys also had a grievance that the track, especially in the home stretch, was loose in certain places causing a number of horses to lose footing, often causing the jockeys to be thrown from the saddle. One hopes that the winter track, even if far from ready to the expectations, will pose no such problems.

Coming back to the racing, Satheesh trained Sporting Smile who had found the winning post elusive for more than two years, came good, winning the 1200 metres Eclipse Plate, a race for horses rated 40 to 65, the feature event of the day`s races with a start to finish dash in the hands of jockey B R Kumar. Sporting Smile went miles wide in the straight but had enough leeway to reach the safety of the winning post ahead of Her Legacy. Cincia Azzurra held off Marina Del Rey by a whisker to save place money. Favourite The Special One was not spotted at the busy end.

Favourite Crazy Horse from the stables of Faisal Hassan had no problem in winning the fifth race of the day, the 1400 metres Fair Court Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 45. Despite a scare due to the saddle shifting, Suraj Narredu managed to guide the horse for an easy win with a start to finish essay. Beautiful Luv headed Win Vision to get the runner-up berth. Jockey Mukesh Kumar brought Chuckit into a handy second position from the wide outside draw and chased Look of Love into the straight before driving out the fancied runner to easy win over late rallying Melting Ice in the lower division of the race. Blickfang necked out the longtime leader Look of Love to get the third position.

The trend of the day`s proceedings was set in the first race itself as the horses which were in the front bunch ad greater chance of winning than those rallying from behind. Lesser fancied Red Snapper won the day`s opener, the 1400 metres Megatop Plate (Div II), with a start to finish effort. Favourite Maxwell who had too much leeway to cover could only end a disappointing second ahead of Explosive.

Donald Netto trained Alta Vita won against the trend which prevailed during the day`s action by coming from the rear of the field to bring off an upset in the 1600 metres Tudor Jet Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 45. Royal Pal did the front-running but weakened approaching the final furlong. Attica then had the advantage before being overwhelmed by Alta Vita who produced a big run on the wide outside and got the nod close home. Attica held off stablemate and strong favourite NRI Touch. Another strongly fancied runner Nova Scotia gave a pathetic performance.

Leo D`Silva trained Art In Motion brought off a big upset winning the 1400 metres Republican Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated up to 25 with a start to finish mission in the hands of jockey Ajit Singh. Favourite NRI Gift chased the front-runner but found it hard to overwhelm the long shot and had to settle for the second slot. Diesis Dream necked out Princess Shana for the minor placing. Suraj Narredu had it easy on favourite Cheltenham in the lower division of the race which was held in poor visibility. Suraj had Cheltenham chase Halo`s Princess into the straight before quickly assuming control at the top of the straight. Cheltenham burst clear to win by a widening margin of four lengths over late-finishing Star Dancer who pinched the second slot from Moka close home.

Jockey Akshay Kumar had an easy winner through House of Diamonds who overwhelmed the field by a margin of three lengths to justify favouritism in the 1200 metres Florina Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 45. House of Diamonds stormed clear in the final furlong and the fight if any was for minor placings. Brisbane necked out Four One Four to get the runner-up berth. Jockey Deepak Singh did well to steadily move from the widest draw to take a handy second position till turning for home. Days of Reckoning quickly assumed command in the stretch and won the lower division of the race quite easily from Exclusive Art who came from way off the pace to grab the second position from Augenstern and Royal Romance. A short head each separated the second, third and fourth-placed horses.

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