Trainer Pesi Shroff`s solidly fancied filly, Faith (P.S. Chauhan-up), lived up to her name while scoring a decisive victory, on Wednesday, in the first Classic of the monsoon racing season, the 2,400m Skyexch.com Calcutta Fillies Trial Stakes. Chauhan went on to notch-up a brace of wins in the six-event card when trainer Patrick Quinn`s heavily backed Pot Of Gold returned to the winner`s enclosure after some hiccups, early in the home straight. The afternoon also witnessed a couple of other odds on favourites justifying wagering in their respective events to send most of punters back home with broad smiles.
It was, in fact, no contest for Faith, though her expanding odds – from 6/10 to 9/10 -- indeed, was a worry for her backers. However, it turned out to be a false alarm as Beauty Blaze (Suraj Narredu) who had attracted tons of wagering to push the favourite`s price up, could never produce her blinding speed, displayed in the Hyderabad edition of the Stakes.
Beauty Blaze, running upfront, could just about manage to keep trainer Neil Darashah`s Queenstown and Bharath Singh`s Sonata (S. Anthony Raj) at bay till the final turn. The winner was, in fact sighted, soon after the field of six turned for home. It was Faith who quickened to pounce on the tiring leaders and was clear of the opposition 250m from the winning post.
The tiring Beauty Blaze was not good enough to retain the second berth that ultimately went to Queenstown while Sonata was fourth, further three lengths behind.
Bharath`s Silverita (Hindu Singh) delivered the goods but after giving a fright in the final 100m of the 1,400m Replicate Handicap. The 6/4 favourite was held back in third or fourth behind the early leaders – Dream Chaser (app Prathvi Singh), Harbour Sunrise (Vinay Jaiswal) and an almost equally fancied Bahuleyan (Suraj). About 250m from home Silverita bisected the longtime leader and Bahuleyan to shoot in the winning lead but Suraj brought his charge with a second wind to force a camera-verdict. Incidentally Bahuleyan burst blood vessels during the race.
The two favourites to disappoint were trainer Aashay Doctor`s 6/10 hot property, Stockbridge, in the 1,400m Brush Aside Handicap, and Sunshine Prince in the 1,600m Skyexch.com Mile Cup. Both horses were ridden by Anthony Raj but you can`t always blame the jockey for the poor performance of horses. Sunshine Prince was on a sick list, till about three weeks ago while Stockbridge may have needed another spurt or two after his last Wednesday`s mock-race.
Stockbridge`s race was won by trainer Harvinder Singh`s Nova (Neeraj Rawal), a 5/1 chance, who chased Kimaya (Vinay) until the final turn. At that point of time, Stockbridge was just a length behind Nova who displayed a good turn of foot to gain a healthy lead while the favourite lacked acceleration and the defeat looked apparent.
The other two 8/10 favourites, who obliged in their respective events, were trainer Vikash Jaiswal`s Divya Shakthi (Sujit Paswan) in the day`s opener, 1,400m State Treasure Handicap and Pot Of Gold (Chauhan) in the concluding event, the 1,200m Court Minstrel Handicap. While Divya Shakthi had a trouble-free passage to victory, Pot Of Gold gave jockey Chauhan, gave some tense moments inside the last 250m. Pot Of Gold led from the start but hung out towards the far-side rails. Anyway, the jockey was quick to take remedial measures and score easily.