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Stunning twist to the script in Indian Derby

  February 4 , 2018

Expect the unexpected is what is par for the Indian Derby. There was a stunning twist to the script with Shiraz Sunderji trained Rochester shocking the fancied runners while recording a decisive win in the mega event of the Indian racing calendar in front of a large gathering of regulars and first-timers on Sunday at the Mahalakshmi.

Jockey C S Jodha seized the opportunity with both hands with an impeccable ride. Destiny is shaped by the decisions that you take in the spur of the moment. The victory of Rochester against all odds was a perfect example what one can one achieve by merely aiming for it and not being too obsessed with planning and execution.

The amazing success story of Rochester was truly excitable for the promotors of Manjri Stud. Shapoor Mistry who is the boss of the Manji Stud Farm has proved to be a great promoter of the sport and doesn`t hesitate to keep shares with his produce even if it means running his operations in an economically manner. There is unmistakable passion in the man who could not but demonstrate his immense joy in winning the big event. Though this was the fourth success for Manjri Stud Farm in this event, Rochester was also party owned by Shapoor Mistry along with a syndicate of owners. The enthusiasm in winning the event had also made Shapoor Mistry acquire a share in multiple classic winner Lady In Lace and he was not to regret the decision as he ended up with the unexpected 1-2 in the event. ``I thank the staff of my stud farm and director Sharosh Mody for the excellent job they have been doing which is showing in the results,`` Shapoor said in the post-race presentation.

Darius Byramji trained Prevalent Force who had remained unbeaten in his last six outings was a favourite as the consensus favoured his victory in the event. Lady In Lace and Manifold were the others who were in betting consideration. Rochester had finished more than seven lengths behind Lady In Lace in the Pune Derby and as such one did not reckon him to have a chance in the Indian Derby. The one factor that most forgot was that he had beaten Castlebridge over a trip of 2000 metres and the defeat was attributed to the inadequacies of the loser rather than focus on the merits of the winner.

If you want to make an ass of yourself, you just have to give an unquailed statement about a race horse and the horse will take it from there. The main dissuading factor which did not attract many supporters for Rochester was because of the fact that the progeny of Phoenix Tower had never excelled over a mile and the mile and half trip and this was considered beyond the scope of the talented horse. But then there has to be a first time and the honour of doing that went to Rochester who was one of the longest priced winners of this race in recent times throwing all the well argued theories into the sea.

The designated pace maker Daffodils set the pace as the field set out for the mile and half trip followed by Aggregated in prominent position along with Zenon. Lady In Lace was in about the fourth or fifth position along with Rochester. Manifold and Prevalent Force were in the rear position. Manifold received a check after negotiating the first bend and lost position and had to drop back to the rear position which perhaps had also a bearing on the result as the race was run at a modest pace. Barring Lady In Lace, both Prevalent Force perhaps because of the wide outside draw and Manifold by circumstances had to concede lot of ground to those in front which ensured that they had much to do in the homestretch.

Aggregated was the first of the fancied runners to come under pressure approaching the final bend and gradually fell behind. Jockey Suraj Narredu who had held a comfortable position on Lady In Lace perhaps though it prudent to make his move early in the straight. The daughter of Chinese Whisper cruised into the lead with 300 metres left in the race and set sail for what would have been history creating win. However, destiny willed otherwise as she had nothing much in reserve when Rochester essayed his challenge. Despite being the progeny of Phoenix Tower, Rochester had lot more in hand as he surged ahead in the hands of jockey C S Jodha to produce what was thought an improbable win. Prevalent Force and Manifold who were in touch with each other came home with big efforts but were left with impossible tasks as the front-runners were not going to call it day especially since the pace was not hot and they could sprint in the straight. Manifold came from a long way back to edge out Prevalent Force for the third position. The winner clocked a smart time of two minute 29.618 seconds.

The Indian Derby once again proved that reputations have little value and the performance on the day matters. The victory of Rochester was in keeping with this and his win was like the one recorded by horses like Antonios and Super storm in the pest. The favourites have found it tough in this race as the pressure of expectations have got to these horses. Horses like Rochester had only reputation to build and hence the horse or the jockey did not have pressure to live up to which often has a bearing on their performance. It is possible that the Indian Turf Invitation Cup which will be held next month could well have a different script awaiting us.

Imtiaz Sait trained Dance The Dream was the smashing winner of the B K Rattonsey Memorial Maiden Multi-Million. The progeny of Wester Aristocrat was kept in a handy third position by Srinath before he asked the fancied runner to quicken. Dance The Dream at once changed gears and sped clear to win easily from Steppenwolf who spoiled his chances of finishing closer to the winner by drifting out under pressure in the final furlong. Chosen One was third. Cormorant and Perpetual Winning who were in serious betting, failed to impress though they ended up finishing on the frame.

Adhiraj Jodha trained Colombiana Princes won the day`s opener, the 1000 metres Dr M A M Ramaswamy Juvenile Sprint as a long shot. Favourite Run Forest Run struggled hard to catch up with front-runner who stayed on stubbornly in front and pulled away in the closing stages of the race for an easy win. Godsword was third.

Sandesh who had been low on confidence had been finding winners hard to come up. However, he struck from winning three races through Checkmate, Smasher and Lincoln, all of them trained by Pesi Shroff.


Colombianaprincess (Nirmal Jodha up) winner of the Dr. M A M Ramaswamy Juvenile Sprint

Checkmate (A Sandesh up) winner of the Rule Breaker Trophy By Shaze

Smasher (A Sandesh up) winner of the Sakshi Gallery Million

Brainstorm (David Probert up) winner of the Deltin Casinos Million

Dance The Dream (Y S Srinath up) winner of the B. K. Rattonsey Memorial Maiden Multi-Million

Rochester (C S Jodha up) winner of the Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby (Gr.1)

In The Stars (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Padmini Gobind Jhangiani Million

Lincoln (A Sandesh up) winner of the Ebco Livsmart Million

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