Irfan Ghatala trained Salazaar who has been a prolific performer over longer trips came up with a superlative performance in the 1400 metres Rajyotsava Trophy (Gr 3), a terms race for four-year-olds and over, the feature event of the opening day`s races of the Bangalore Winter Season on Sunday. The progeny of Burden of Proof proved too classy clocking a mind-boggling timing of one minute 21.81 second. If the official timing is free from any inaccuracy, it is a big improvement over that clocked by the record holder Sergeant At Arms which stands at one minute 22.3 seconds.
Much to the relief for the legion of race-goers, the resumption of racing was something to cheer about though the Bangalore Turf Club did its best to spoil the party by unjustly hiking up the access fee as Rs 500 per day and not uploading the videos till late in the evening. What BTC authorities were trying to achieve is something hard to fathom except their pettiness. You can`t be a spoilsport and yet pretend that you are there to promote the sport. Though officially there was only restricted official betting in the Hyderabad counters, the betting activity was full-fledged in the channels which operate without the legal sanction. The flip side of having racing without official betting is that you are helping illegal channels to flourish and fully consolidate the lion`s share of the betting and it remains so even when the official channels open up.
Be that as it may, it was a day dominated by lesser fancied runners. Shall we say least expected to win in academic discussion and considered upsets in the illegal betting channels? The feature had a very competitive field with winner-picking a hazardous guess as all of them were running after a longish absence from the track and the fitness of the horses was a factor in deciding the outcome. After the speedy Areca Legend led the field into the straight, Multifaceted showed up briefly before Salazaar in the hands of jockey Anjar Alam overwhelmed the front-runner and went storming clear in the final furlong. Cosmic Ray chased the owner mate to take the second position ahead of Shesmyscript and Cavallo Veloce. The run benefit should help many of the stalwarts to give a better account next time out.
The BTC, in its wisdom, has appointed an inexperienced handicapper in Karthik who hadn`t worked independently in any turf club. Point To Prove was rated at 114 after running second in the Gr 1 Stayers Cup at Mysore with Ambrosia, the winner being given the rating of 118. For reasons best known, Point To Prove ran at a rating of 102 which is a drop of 12 points. Even granting the six-point drop given at the end of the winter season, the drop is something that needs to be explained. Even if the handicapper were to re-assess the rating, it can only be done after the horse runs in a race. The inexperience of the handicapper is there for all to see. Hope he doesn`t make series of blunders given his inexperience and the fact that the handicapper comes under pressure from trainers and horse owners about the penalty given to their horses or even in the matter of not getting a drop. The elected members have caused enough mess but one hopes that the officials also will not take a cue from them.
Sulaiman Attaollahi trained Malwa went to the post as a consensus horse to have a bold show in the 1200 metres Vidhana Soudha Cup, a race for horses rated 60 and above. Attorney General had taken charge inside the final furlong and shaped to win only to be floored by the late-rally of Malwa who flew on the wide outside to get the nod in the concluding strides of the race. Trevor Patel was astride the winner. Commodus also showed out while taking the third spot. Indian Empress who was expected to figure at the finish was left stranded at the gates.
Ganapathy trained Manifest recorded a smashing win in the 1200 metres Ranganathittu Plate, a race for maiden three-year-olds only. Manifest had showed out in a mock race but was not a strong favourite to win the race. The gelding was reportedly a troublesome horse which gave immense problems to the jockeys to handle it. Since D Patel had sort of tamed the horse, he was declared to ride though the jockey rides a winner once in a blue moon. Manifest behaved like a matured horse, moved with raking strides in the stretch to provide Patel with an easy win by a widening margin of four lengths. Cavallini who was the strong favourite in the betting channels took a lethargic jump and managed to neck out Impeccable to get the runner-up berth. Manifest looks a good type of a horse.
Satish Narredu trained Born Queen recorded an encore in impressive fashion in the 1400 metres Belgaum Plate, a race for horses rated 30 to 50. Strongly fancied to win, the three-year-old was taken on a start to finish mission by jockey Suraj Narredu and the filly enjoyed her foray in front and won untroubled. Classic Charm ran on late to take the second position ahead of Astral Force. The well-backed Johnny Bravo made no show.
The opening race of the day was won by Prasanna Kumar trained Mistletoe who hadn`t been talked about as a possible winner of the 1400 metres Kentucky Plate, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Mistletoe got strong in the final furlong and won the race quite easily from the fancied Forever Together in the manner of a good horse. Watchmystars was faraway third. The start to the season showed lacked of preparedness of the club as the audio failed and one can only watch the video of the race without the audio.
The 1400 metres Altenburg Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 15 to 35, had an open look about it but if one were to look for the odds easily available in the grey market, Neil Devaney trained Sainthood had ample support. Jockey Anthony Raj had no problem in steering Sainthood for a runaway win over She`s Innocent and Chantelle. Padmanabhan trained High Priestess slammed the opposition in the lowest division of the race, winning by a widening margin of five lengths over favourite Cameleons Image.
Md Khan trained Estella provided apprentice jockey Arul with an easy win in the 1200 metres Inauguration Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. Estella came up with a big run down the final furlong to easily measure the front-running Iconic Princess to win as she pleased. Rock Girl necked out Air Force One to save place money.
Mistletoe (Antony Raj S up) winner of the Kentucky Plate
Estella (Arul J H up) winner of the Inauguration Plate
High Priestess (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Altenburg Plate (Div-II)
Manifest (D Patel up) winner of the Ranganathittu Plate
Malwa (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Vidhana Soudha Cup
Salazaar (Anjar Alam up) winner of the Rajyotsava Trophy (Gr.3)
Born Queen (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Belgaum Plate
Sainthood (Antony Raj S up) winner of the Altenburg Plate (Div-I)