Ravinder Singh trained True Icon fought tenaciously all the way in the final furlong to stave off the challenge of favourite Barbet to win the 1800 metres Major Mir Mujtaba Hussain Memorial Cup, a race for horses rated 40 to 65, the feature event of Monday`s Hyderabad races. Races did not run kindly for punters, with favourites playing truant. Jockey Akshay Kumar had another holiday in the office failing on many strongly backed horses.
Laxman Singh trained three-year-old filly Barbet was widely reckoned to win after her previous impressive win. She went to the post on a short-priced horse, with Akshay Kumar in the saddle. Long shot Wallop And Gallop led the field into the straight with True Icon in the chase. The latter took over the running at the top of the straight and fought on resolutely all the way in the stretch in the face of relentless pursuit by the favourite. True Icon pulled out that bit extra to win with a measure of comfort in the end. Barbet managed to save the second place from late rallying Just Incredible who finished with a big rally. Gaurav Singh was astride the winner.
Sequeira-trained Turning Wheel was the short-priced favourite in the 1600 metres Bhongir Cup, a race for horses rated 20 to 45. Turning Wheel had beaten Dream Station in her last effort and the latter had gone to win flanking the form of the favourite. With Akshay Kumar declared to ride, the punters had reason to be overconfident about the chances of the progeny of Knight`s Tour. Turning Wheel who raced keen in the second position, weakened in the stretch to eventually finish a dismal last. Ravinder Singh-trained Beauty Flame moved with a flourish from about the fourth position at the final bend to take charge by the final furlong. Beauty Flame broke clear to establish a winning lead when Forever Bond began to cover ground from way off the pace. The finishing effort of the five-year-old mare could only fetch her the runner-up berth. Explosive was third.
Akshay was on yet another losing favourite in Lamha from the stables of trainer Sequeira. Lamha ran without hope and finished in the ruck. Leo D`Silva-trained Royal Grace was loitering in the rear of the field at the final turn in the 1400 metres Gimcrack Plate, a race for horses rated 40 to 65, but produced a tremendous gallop on the wide outside to sweep past the front-running Mark My Day in the final 100 metres to win in the hands of jockey Afroz Khan. Mark My Day was hard-pressed to keep the runner-up berth from Mirana but managed to do so by a whisker.
Akshay`s run of misery continued from the first race itself where favourite Clefairy failed to run to expectations in the 1200 metres Nearco Plate (Div I), a race for maiden three-year-olds. Suraj Narredu had lesser fancied Rovaniemi lead from the start. The front-runner held on gallantly in the face of a strong finishing effort on the part of Avancia. Lights on was third. Sequeira-trained Sweet Dancer brought off a big upset in the lower division of the race, staving off the challenge of well fancied Wind Sprite who had Akshay in the saddle. Favourite Humanitarian galloped in snatches and finished a close third.
Jockey Dashrath Singh who was making his appearance on the local track after a longish break, managed to open his account when guiding Doe A Deer to a narrow win over Plethora in the 1200 metres Narayanpet Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 45. Doe A Deer showed prominently in the centre of the track after getting a clear run in the final furlong. The four-year-old filly fought out win Plethora to prevail by a neck. Favourite Malibu who missed the kick ran on late to finish third.