The Usha Stud Farm bred Manifold fought out a courageous battle with Castlebridge before emerging victorious in the Gr 1 Kingfisher Ultra Derby, the glamor event of the Bangalore Summer Season, on Sunday to provide the famed nursery of India with its 15th Derby in this prestigious event.
The Pesi Shroff trainee thus emulated his other champion horse Set Alight who was also bred at the same stud farm by winning both the Gr 1 Fillies Championship Stakes and the Derby. Pesi has been having a glorious summer winning the feature events with an amazing consistency almost every week. Jockey Neeraj Rawal whose career graph has taken a dramatic swing after being retained by Pesi, won his first Summer Derby.
Though the principal contenders could be easily bracketed, it was difficult to predict who could be the winner among them. Castlebridge had been an outstanding performer in the Colts Championship Stakes and hence considered a top line contender after his connections chose to put up in the lineup after paying a whopping final entry fee. Since the progeny of Burden of Proof had the habit of running aggressively in front, the jockey had to preserve him for the mile and quarter trip. Jockey Trevor Patel thus had an onerous task on him but since he rarely wins a rare of this nature start to finish, it was always on cards that he could expend the energy of the horse so much so that the colt could run out of reserves for the final moments of the race. On the other hand, Manifold did not have issues of any kind and all that Neeraj was required to do was to keep a striking position for the final onslaught. Neeraj rode a percentage race but at a crucial stage of the race he left himself too much of leeway to cover. However, the daughter of Multidimensional covered up for him with a courageous effort. The leeway was made good with an aggressive effort and the filly was game to the challenge and was, in fact, getting stronger at the finish. Olympia Fields had all the chances but could only finish third ahead of Kangra. Perfect Star did not live up to the hype. The winner clocked a good time of two minutes 3.1 seconds. Manifold provided the 28th classic winner for Usha Stud Farm resident stallion Multidimensional.
Ameeta Mehra who bred and owned the horse said that the filly justified her belief. ''I always thought that Manifold had the potential to be a champion. Surprisingly, there were no bidders in the open auction sale I conducted at the farm last year. I did not want to let go of the filly at a lesser price than what I thought she commanded. Since I decided to retain to the horse, I gave it for training to Pesi who, after initial reservations, took the filly under his wing. The filly has vindicated my belief with her heartwarming performance by displaying the qualities of a true champion.’’ The Derby day was a rewarding for the produce of Usha Stud Farm with China One, Prevalent Force and Prize Finder also winning in the card of eight events.
Trevor yet again faltered in his front-running tactics and his inability to settle Watchmyscript on an even keel cost the favourite the top spot in the 1800 metres Kolkata Cup, a race for horses rated 60 and above. Trevor was unable to keep Watchmyscript restrained as he took over the running midway through the race and broke into a few lengths lead over Magistero and Fabulous. Watchmyscript had the lead going into the final furlong but inside the final 100 yards, was under pressure to retain the lead. Fabulous closed the gap with a flourish and edged past the front-runner in the final moments of the race. Magistero came up with a second wind to neck out the long-time leader to get the runner-up position.
Trevor failed to get favourite Athena into a favourable position in the 1400 metres Hyderabad Cup, a race for maiden three-year-olds and traveled wide throughout the race. He got the horse to warm up when Dr Logan had swept past in the final furlong after being in the rear for half way through the journey. Dr Logan who got the lead inside the final 200 metres, comfortably stayed put there even as favourite Athena made a futile late bid. Athena surely ran well below what was indicated by her previous run. Animal King who led most of the way, lost the runner-up berth by a whisker to the favourite.
Prasanna Kumar trained Don Dela Vega came in for big betting in the 1400 metres Mysore Cup, a race for horses rated 15 to 35 and in the end, it proved that the money was well directed. Antiquarian and Spot Light were also in serious betting. While the former was withdrawn from the fray after playing up at the gates, the latter was a beaten force after his tantrums prior to being loaded. Don Dela Vega too was not off to a bright start but he covered ground well in the straight to win the race comfortably from Sudha who came from the last position at the final bend to be an impressive second. Brooklyn Supreme stayed on after loitering in front and saved place money.
Darius Byramji trained Prevalent Force was assertive in the 1200 metres Chennai Cup, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Srinath had Prevalent Force move briskly from the wide outside draw. In the straight, the progeny of Multidimensional kicked clear to win easily from front-running Mygrator to record an easy win. Turf Magic ran on to finish third.
Newly licensed trainer Parvati Byramji led in her first winner through China One who swamped the opposition, with a powerful burst in the final furlong to win the 1200 metres Mumbai Cup (Div I), a race for horses rated 30 to 50. China One tackled Southern Crown in the final furlong to win by a widening margin of five lengths. Shining Magic ran on well towards the end to take the third position. Hyderabad challenger Vallee Sceptre was the recipient of sustained betting in the lower division of the race and the three-year-old daughter of Lord Admiral had no problem in obliging huge expectations. Day Flower who graced the wrong end of the field, came very wide in the straight but covered big leeway to be a noteworthy second.
Lokanath trained Prize Finder had come down a lot in the scales and was begging to be exploited. The green signal came in the1600 metres Delhi Cup and the progeny of Multidimensional readily obliged by storming into the lead in the final furlong and winning with something to spare from Freestyle and Wind Striker.
Manifold (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of The Kingfisher Ultra Derby Bangalore being led by trainer Pesi Shroff and Ameeta Mehra
Dr Logan (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Hyderabad Cup
China One (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Mumbai Cup (Div-I)
Fabulous (S John up) winner of the Kolkata Cup
Prevalent Force (Y S Srinath up) winner of the Chennai Cup
Don Dela Vega (Prashant P Dhebe up) winner of the Mysore Cup
Vallee Sceptre (A Ashhad Asbar up) winner of the Mumbai Cup (Div-II)