Hilton Sequeira trained Ambitious Approach regained the winning touch after a long wait of 534 days when the six-year-old gelding held off a stiff challenge from That’s My Class to land the spoils in the 1200 metres Windscale Plate, a race for horses rated 60 to 85, the feature event of Monday’s Hyderabad races. Punters found the going tough as favourites played truant in most races.
Ashwa Bahula was widely expected to go one better and as such enjoyed strong favouritism. On the other hand, Ambitious Approach, though in the betting was not confidently backed because his recent form was not encouraging as he had finished 10 lengths behind the winner on the last occasion. The speedy Pentagon led deep into the straight before being overhauled by an aggressively ridden Ambitious Approach. That’s My Class who too hadn’t seen the post for 638 days went in hot pursuit, but the former pulled out that bit extra in the hands of jockey Akshay Kumar to reach the safety of the post. Magical Skill nosed out Champion Bull and News O’Star in a cluster finish for minor placings. Favourite Ashwa Bahula was lost in the crowd and ran way below expectations.
Sequeira trained Rapid Fire thwarted the bid of favourite Agni by a whisker in the 1100 metres Amarnath Gupta Memorial Cup (Div I), a race for horses rated 40 to 65. Happy together led aggressively in front and held the lead till the closing stages of the races. Closer home Rapid Fire edged out the front-runner with Agni charging home with a menacing effort but he front-runner held on by a whisker in the hands of apprentice Abhay Singh. Happy Together weakened to finish. Suraj Narredu who is inching closer to the landmark of riding 2000 winners drew a blank on the fancied runners that he was astride. Sitara was backed to the exclusion of the rest in the lower division of the race. Sitara was inconvenienced at the start by Ashka Ashka Ashka and could not take a forward position. Sitara thereafter could not recover enough to come into contention. Giethorn led from the start but closer home was strongly challenged by Max with Star Envoy and Ashka Ashka, but the front-runner held on by a fast diminishing margin at nourishing odds.
Akshay Kumar drove out first-timer Aerial Combat to a resolute win in the 1200 metres Brave Dancer Plate, a race for maiden two-year-olds. Days of Reckoning bolted rider less while being taken to the gates and was withdrawn from the fray. Akshay Kumar pushed Aerial Combat to take charge from the outside draw within the first furlong and the progeny of Air Support stayed put there thwarting a strong effort of Akashima. Team Player was third more than nine lengths adrift.
Akshay Kumar who had a rich haul of four winners had begun the day with a winner, guiding the fortunes of Ravinder Singh trained Royal Dancer to victory in the 1600 metres Rainbows For Life Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. From the penultimate position at the final bend, Royal Dancer quickly improved places in the straight to assume command in the final furlong and just had to contend with stablemate Withrosemakeup who came from further back. Ultimate Risk was third ahead of favourite Silver Dollar who flopped miserably.
Faiyaz Ali Khan trained On My Way came from way off the pace with a blistering turn of foot to collar the long the long-time leader Charlie Brown to win the 1800 metres Original Vel V Balasubramani Memorial Cup, a race for horses rated 40 to 65. Charlie Brown had to fight off a strong challenge from favourite Seven Eleven and even as the six-year-old gelding was fighting it out, On My Way showed up on the wide outside with a powerful surge which saw him sweep past the battling duo in front.
Akshay Kumar’s fourth winner of the day came through the well-backed Shandaar who gave some relief to the beleaguered punters in the concluding race of the day. Shandaar produced a powerful effort approaching the final furlong to go storming clear in the final furlong to win by a widening margin of six lengths over Limousine and the early pace-setter Composure who lost the plot in the final furlong.
Long shot Bombastic from the stables of trainer Faisal Hassan was guided to a thrilling win by Rafique over Royal Girl in the 1400 metres Blue Bird Plate, a race for horses rated up to 25. Favourite Patron Saint led deep into the straight but inside the final 150 metres was strongly challenged by Royal Girl and Bombastic who both shot ahead. The latter pulled it off in the waning yards of the race. Glendale ran on to edge out Patron Saint to get the third place.
Royal Dancer (Akshay Kumar up) winner of the Rainbows For Life Plate
Aerial Combat (Akshay Kumar up) winner of the Brave Dancer Plate
Giethorn (Kiran Naidu up) winner of the Amarnath Gupta Memorial Cup (Div-II)
Ambitious Approach (Akshay Kumar up) winner of the Windscale Plate
On My Way (A Ashhad Asbar up) winner of the Original Vel V. Balasubramani Memorial Cup
Bombastic (Rafique Sk up) winner of the Blue Bird Plate
Rapid Fire (Abhay Singh up) winner of the Amarnath Gupta Memorial Cup (Div-I)
Shandaar (Akshay Kumar up) winner of the Corden Rouge Plate