Trainer Bharath Singh`s 6/1 shot, Eastern Star (Y.S. Srinath-up) served a big jolt to the rival aspirants in the 1,400m Calcutta Colts Trial Stakes field on Saturday. The speedy Knight`s Tour-Lycel son not only displayed substantial improvement, since his first season, he also indicated that he was a great fighter when ridden in a check. Early in the afternoon the trainer-jockey combinations had also claimed the 1,800m Defence Forces Cup when their 4/1 fancied charge Pothus, had scored a bloodless victory.
Favourites were under stress, on the whole, in the seven-event card, and those who managed to score were far and few between.
Eastern Star may have easily added a few inches to his ‘head` verdict, had he not remained boxed for a galloping room for about a 100m of the final 200 meters.
Eastern Star was directly behind the long time leader, Sniper (Neeraj Rawal) while Lumos (C. Alford) and trainer Neil Darashah`s 75/20 hot favourite, Mongolian King (Trevor Patel), galloped, right abreast of him, for most of the journey.
It was only after Lumos and Mongolian surged ahead, Easter Star switched the course, from rails to the wider out.
In the final 100m Eastern Star was the fastest travelling horse as Lumos shortened strides leaving, the favourite in full command.
Pothus` won a slow run race. He waited behind the front-running favourite, Avarua (Nikhil Naidu), till about 300m from home in the 1,800m Defence Forces Cup. Shooting in to the lead, thereafter, the Midnight Interlude son, who in his first season, was rated as good as Rufus, stretched out to score by five long lengths.
Trainer Manvedra Singh, newly acquired horse, Shivesh (P.S. Chauhan) was a quite fancy in a 1,100m preparatory race, which was won by Mongolian King. The horse was strong rage in the 1,400m Unknown Warrior Cup. Ridden in check, on the wide out, behind Akshya (Neeraj), Mocha Locha (S. Zervan) and Splash Proof (Naidu), the heavily backed Shivesh justified his 5/2 odds fully as he accelerated in the final 150m to score handsomely.
Vijay`s Cadman (Neeraj) also scored in a thrilling finish. In the 1,800m Alternator Cup, the five-year-old was a fancied runner while another South India migrant, Mogadishu (Zervan), cornered the public money at 2/1. The favourite was, however, a spent force after showing the way to Shivalik Showers (Hindu Singh), approaching 200m marker. It was at this stage, Cadman unleashed his final burst to get the leader virtually at the post.
Trainer Aashay Doctor`s pulled off a good gamble on Seventh Step (Zervan) in the 1,400m Helping Hand Handicap. Backed down to 2/1 the New Famous filly was always close behind Vijay`s Diamond Harbour (Naidu) till about a furlong from home. Taking off from that point Seventh Step went on to beat Shafiq Khan`s quiet fancy, Airlift (C. Alford) by about half-a-length.
The Curtain raiser saw Adriatic Sea (P. Vikram) winning, sorry, lending a helping hand to his hospitalised trainer Farley Rodrigues, in the 1,600m Armed Forces Handicap. The 5/1 shot won the race almost from the start. Rodrigues had fractured his toe in a road accident early in the week.
Arti Doctor, the lady trainer, saddled the winner of the concluding event, the 1,100m Amar Jawan Handicap when jockey Srikant Kamble drove home a 8/1 chance Lady Two to winner`s enclosure.
Adriatic Sea (P Vikram up) winner of the Armed Forces Handicap
Seventh Step (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Helping Hand Handicap
Pothus (Y S Srinath up) winner of the Defence Forces Cup
Shivesh (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Unknown Warrior Cup
Eastern Star (Y S Srinath up) winner of the Calcutta Colts Trial Stakes
Cadman (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Alternator Cup
Lady Two (Shrikant Kamble up) winner of the Amar Jawan Handicap