There is no method in madness to racing in Bangalore. The authorities have been found lacking in administering the sport. The professionals are playing havoc with the system but the Stewards who are mostly ill-informed, have been unable to stem the tide. Saturday`s racing was an ample illustration of the fact that the Stewards have completely lost the grip on racing and topsy turvy results are something that punters will be forced to accept as being par for each day`s racing. Punters are like punching bags for all sundry. Everything is rotten in BTC including the warped thinking of the powers that extends from planning and execution of races as well. To compound the misery of punters, as many as three races were framed for apprentices which could have been spaced out.
Trainer Sulaiman Attaollahi who otherwise enjoyed a successful season having won all the classic races run thus far has proved to be a nightmare for the punters for the erratic pattern of the running of his horses. The day`s feature event, the Gr 3 Sherlock Bangalore Juvenile Million, a terms race for three-year-olds was won by lesser fancied Cool Rider who put daylight between himself and the rest while romping home by a widening margin of six lengths. The Neil Darashah trainee made the expected progress and beat last start winner Pecanwood with a great deal of ease. Stockbridge ran on to finish third. The most distressing performance came from favourite Scruples from the stables of Sulaiman Attaollahi. The daughter of Air Support had won back-to-back races and was running in the million without any penalty and as such, she was expected to maintain her supremacy. Jockey Suraj Narredu replaced Trevor Patel in the saddle. Much to the chagrin of the backers of Scruples, the filly ran way down the field, finishing 13 lengths behind the winner. It was hard to expect how the filly could have deteriorated so much unless the trainer either raced the filly which could have had some issues or raced her too many times or he is simply not capable of getting his wards to perform consistently. The pathetic performance of Scruples left a bad taste in the mouth.
Arjun Mangalorkar trained Abira pulled off an exciting win in the 1400 metres Stewards Trophy, a race for horses rated 75 and above. Northern Alliance who had a raw apprentice guiding his fortune and Colonel Harty were the preferred horses with Abira being available at nourishing odds. Sulaiman Attaollahi trained Saint Petersburg who had finished last on the previous occasion, went on a start to finish mission and nearly pulled a wool over the opposition`s eyes by enjoying a sizeable uncontested lead which nearly made it very difficult for those coming from behind to catch up. Saint Petersburg began to slacken close home and Abira and Northern Alliance both came home with huge efforts. Abira, in the hands of Neeraj Rawal, managed to put her nose in front with Northern Alliance (apprentice Arul astride) another nose behind Sant Petersburg. Saint Petersburg had finished 11 lengths behind in his last start gracing the rear from start to finish but this time out the pattern of running was totally different as the six-year-old led from the start. Yet again the pattern of running and the consistency of running of Sulaiman`s wards left a lot to be desired and it is a surprise that he is not being pulled up for the questionable performances of his wards.
Another horse from Sulaiman to shock was Schafenberg who hadn`t won for 574 days and had finished 14 lengths behind in the same category on the last occasion, showed out to be in different colours when claiming the 1200 metes Planetarium Plate, a race for horses rated 30 to 50 without coming under pressure. After tracking Port of Beauty into the straight, Schafenberg, in the hands of jockey Inderjeet Singh, bounced clear and had enough cushion to stave off the challenge of late-finishing favourite Tokyo rose and Spirit of London. This type of performances of Sulaiman`s horses have surely hurt the racing public but the authorities themselves seem to be finding excuses for such in and out of running of horses from this stable.
Prasanna Kumar trained Redoubtable who had failed as a favourite with possibly an alibi to support the failure, proved too good in the 1600 metres Kedarnath Plate, a race for horses rated 15 to 35, racing aggressively in front and win by a widening margin of four lengths over Royal Blossom and Pissarro. Amazing Blaze failed to justify favouritism and finished a tame fourth. There is a pending enquiry against Trevor for his riding on Redoubtable. The Stipes need to be firm in their dealing with the professionals for any infraction even for dropping hands before crossing the winning post for it will not only have a bearing on the various pools that the clubs operate apart from inconveniencing those who rely heavily on the timings.
Irfan Ghatala trained Griffin was the only favourite to win on a day that saw the public suffer mayhem. Griffin who had been running consistent races had no problem in obliging the expectations in the hands of raw apprentice Salman Khan in the 1200 metres Horanadu Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 15 to 35. Rank outsider Java Peninsula shaped to cause an upset before being overwhelmed by the favourite who provided the first career win for Salman Khan. Chain of Thoughts was third. The lower division of the race was claimed by Darius Byramji trained Decorum. The four-year-old colt had finished 20 lengths behind the field on the last occasion but this time out, shocked the followers of form winning in the hands of first season apprentice Akash Chavan with an easy win over Star Hopper. Phoenix Surprise was third a distance behind the runner-up.
The day itself had begun on an ominous note with Narayan Gowda trained Commandpost who had finished 25 lengths behind the winner swamping the opposition, leaving the field stranded in the final furlong to win by a widening margin of nine lengths over Fierce Fighter and Azeemki Princess. Such violent fluctuations of form are a reflection on the way racing is conducted under our esteemed Stewards who are busy claiming the credit elsewhere for insignificant things.