Trainer Vijay Singh`s top-rated horse, Multitude (Neeraj Rawal-up) returned to the winner`s enclosure, on Tuesday, winning the 1,400m Baqlava Cup with ease. Multitude sequence of wins was broken when he failed against the visiting big guns, in the two premier events during the Invitation weekend, last winter. The afternoon also witnessed Vijay`s brilliant youngster, Shivansh, displaying a purposeful performance in the hands of the visiting jockey. Early in the afternoon, the trainer`s Fantasia (app Nikhil Naidu) had fully justified her short odds to compliment the trainer with a deserving treble, his first of the season.
Neeraj made his task simple, riding copy-book races in the two events picked by Vijay`s favourites. In the Baqlava Cup, the jockey allowed the Vikash Jaiswal-trained top-weighted runner, Amorous White (P.S. Chauhan), a marginal lead till about 300m from home, before quickening to a business-like victory, on the 9/10 public-choice, over the late-finishing Brahamchari (C.S. Jodha), a Javed Khan-charge.
In the 1,600m Arkade Handicap, Shivansh and Neeraj displayed urgency, at the top of the final turn, as the early leader, Outrider (Chauhan), ran short of gas. The Top Class/Immortal colt – 7/4 favourite -- took over the running from that point to leave the opposition – including Arti Doctor`s Mocha Loca (S. Zervan) and Harvinder Bath`s Dixie Diamond (Shezad Khan) – in a wild goose chase.
Vijay`s newly gained filly, Fantasia (app. Nikhil Maidu) also fully justified her western India form and her 13/10 odds, in the 1,400m Super Sunrise Handicap. In third, behind the early leaders, War Path and Rising From Ashes, the Midnight Interlude daughter proved good enough for the opposition to the delight of her large number of followers. She is bound to improve on this victory.
Vijay`s other fancied youngster Vrishank (Neeraj) wasn`t so lucky, in the baby race, the 1,400m Steinlen Plate. The top-weighted runner was comprehensibly beaten by Bharath Singh`s less-fancied filly, Kantai (C. Alford). Held back in third, the winner, the Ravel/Minnie Mouse daughter, took over the running from Vrishank 350m from home, as Arti`s fancied charge Opal (Zervan) and Javed`s heavily wagered ward, Chitrakala (Jodha) also struggled to gain the minor placings.
Competition was tough in the early half of the afternoon but the camera verdicts in two cases went in favour of Vikash. In day`s opener, the 1,400m Idaho Handicap, for instance, trainer Richard Alford`s quietly fancied, Looking Ahead (app. P. Tejeshwer), was a wee bit late to catch up with Vikash`s fancied runner, Go Zara Go (Chauhan).
The story was no different; in the 1,200m Bourbon Handicap when Javed`s strongly fancied Beatles Bible (Jodha) narrowly failed to contain Vikash`s late finishing Simran`s Choice (Chauhan).
In the 1,100m Jeweller Handicap Vijay`s strongly fancied horse, He Calls the Shots (app. Hasib Alam), too, was nosed by Aashay Doctor`s fancied runner, All Rounder (R.S. Bhati) at the all important end. However, each case the three named apprentices rode their hearts out. No complains.
Zara Go Zara (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Idaho Handicap
Fantasia (Nikhil Naidu up) winner of the Super Sunrise Handicap
All Rounder (R S Bhati up) winner of the Jeweller Handicap
Simran`s Choice (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Bourbon Queen Handicap
Multitude (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Baqlava Cup
Kantai (C Alford up) winner of the Steinlen Plate
Shivansh (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Arcade Handicap