The relatively more experienced Lombardy from the stables of trainer Vittal Deshmukh pulled off a comfortable win against a modest lot of opposition in the Gr 1 2400 metres HRC Golconda Derby Stakes, the biggest race of the Hyderabad Winter Season at Malakpet on Sunday. Lombardy who had the experience of going over the mile and half trip as against the opponents, most of whom were traversing the trip for the time, was given a peach of a ride by Trevor Patel who exploited the situation to the maximum advantage.
There were only two horses which enjoyed almost similar rating and both belonged to the local brigade. The 2000 Guineas winner Ashwa Bravo had proved to be a speedy sort who had shown an inclination to pull hard if the pace didn`t suit him. On the other hand, Lombardy had no such issues and had a better temperament and willing follower of the instruction given by the pilot. Among the horses brought from Western India by champion trainer Pesi Shroff, Roaring Tiger had more supporters. The market sentiment was such that it was hard to look beyond the top two fancies, with a possible upset slot being reserved for Roaring Tiger.
The race was run at a fair clip with Hidden Hope setting the pace. The only horse which was fighting for his head was Ashwa Bravo who was not happy with the pace. Trevor was able to ease Lombardy in the rear position behind Roaring Tiger. Passing the five-furlong marker, Suraj Narredu gave a little more rein to Ashwa Bravo who gradually crept up and shot ahead with four furlongs left in the race even as Hidden Hope weakened and disappeared without a trace.
Ashwa Bravo came into the straight well clear and had a big lead over the rest when the two other fancied runners began to make their move from way behind. Ashwa Bravo had a big lead but it was clear that he would find it hard to carry the lead to the winning post when Lombardy showing a better turn of foot came up with a big run and collared the front-runner and went sailing clear. Roaring Tiger came up with a late flourish but the front-runner was always in control of the situation. Jockey Srinath reportedly lost his whip inside the final two furlongs and this could have contributed to the outcome of the race because the effectiveness of our jockeys is blunted to a great extent without the aid of the whip. The jockeys are so habituated to the use of the whip that they are often found wanting without the aid of the same. The fact that a maiden horse Towering Presence managed to head Ashwa Bravo to pinch the third slot tells its own tale. Incidentally, Lombardy`s was the first success achieved by the progeny of Leitir Mor over this distance. Leitir Mor is having a dream run through his progeny.
Trevor Patel also rode the winner of 1600 Bangalore Turf Club Cup, a race for horses rated 80 and above, the other highlight of the day. Vittal Deshmukh trained Lightning Bolt who is in the great form recorded his fourth straight win without any fuss. Lightning Bolt moved with raking strides inside the final 300 metres after being relaxed in the mid-group and had the race sewn up a long way from home. Premier Action gave the chase in vain. Consigliori who did the front-running weakened to take the third position.
Laxman Singh trained Downtown Gal recorded the third win of the season by easily accounting for the opposition in the 1600 metres Royal Western India Turf Club Cup, a race for horses rated 40 to 65. The one-eyed daughter of Multidimensional was a cut above the rest as she easily asserted her supremacy down the final furlong to provide jockey Suraj Narredu with an easy win. Spicy Star and Ayur Shakti disputed for the minor placings, with the former getting it by a whisker.
Ravinder Singh trained Thunder Road brought off a big upset in the 1400 metres Mysore Race Club Cup (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 45. In the hands of apprentice jockey Abhay Singh, Thunder Road led all the way and comfortably held off the challenge of Blue Valentine. Unstoppable snatched the third position from Miss Marvellous. On a day which was otherwise dominated by fancied runners, Thunder Road was the biggest upset of the day as both the heavily supported horses King Roger and Scramjet were nowhere to be spotted. In fact, the start of the race was delayed because of the tantrums of a few horses and Scramjet was perhaps not ready when the start was given resulting in jockey Pradeep Chouhan being unseated. The Stewards who held an enquiry into the start of the race declared Scramjet as a non-starter. Despite the refund on the fancied runner, Thunder Road paid Rs 483 on a fiver! Laxman Singh trained Vijays Simha who was a cramped favourite to win the lower division did so without coming under pressure to provide Suraj Narredu with another easy win for the day. Star Dancer was second ahead of NRI Sun.
Donald Netto whose horses were seen at the busy end often during the course of the day`s action led in a short-priced winner through Knotty Dancer who provided jockey Suraj Narredu with an arm-chair ride to victory in the 1200 metres Madras Race Club Cup (Div I), a race for maiden three-year-olds. Stunning Force was more than five lengths behind the winner while Inside Story was faraway third. Leo D`Silva trained Mandala Bay made an impressive winning debut slamming the opposition in what was a one-sided affair in the lower division of the race. Soloist was second ahead of Costello.
Prasad Raju trained Certitude won the 1100 metres Hovercraft Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 45 with a comprehensive win at nourishing odds. After Best In Show ran freely in front and expended her energy, Certitude who was in the chase, overhauled the front-runner in the final furlong to provide jockey Pradeep Chouhan with an easy win. Favourite Good Connection was a tame third. Even money favourite Lagos from the stables of Donald Netto gave jockey Suraj Narredu with the fourth win of the day, tackling the opposition with ease in the lower division of the race. Amyra and Art In Motion occupied the next two slots.
Netto rounded off the tally with Sugar An Spice who won the 1200 metres Twin Star Plate, a race for horses rated up to 25 in the manner of a better quality horse. Sugar An Spice produced a tremendous gallop down the final furlong in the hands of jockey Deepak Singh to record a facile win. NRI Gift head Amaretto to pinch the second place.
Mandala Bay (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Madras Race Club Cup (Div-II)
Certitude (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Hovercraft Plate (Div-I)
Vijays Simha (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Mysore Race Club Cup (Div-II)
Downtown Gal (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Royal Western India Turf Club Cup
Knotty Dancer (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Madras Race Club Cup (Div-I)
Thunder Road (Abhay Singh up) winner of the Mysore Race Club Cup (Div-I)
Lightning Bolt (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Bangalore Turf Club Cup
Lombardy (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Hrc Golconda Derby Stakes (Gr-1)
Lagos (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Hovercraft Plate (Div-II)
Sugar An Spice (Deepak Singh up) winner of the Twin Star Plate