Calcutta: The South India-based trainer Rajesh Narredu`s champion galloper, A Star Is Born (Suraj Narredu-up) scored a thumping victory over the Classy Vijay Singh`s filly, Success (Imran Chisty), on his way to claiming the cash rich, Grade I event, the 2,000m Coromandel Indian Champion Cup, the chief attraction at the Calcutta races on Monday. In the process of lifting the Champion Cup, the winner, an 18/10 favourite, also exposed the brave heart filly Success, who had two Derbys under her belt – the Monsoon and the Winter, besides the Calcutta Oaks and the 1000 Guineas. Success also indicated that she may have wilted under pressure because of the quick successions she was asked to perform against the proven masculine power.
The nine-horse field also included two other outstation challengers – trainers Pesi Shroff`s Botero (Trevor Patel) and Warren Singh`s Speedster (Antony Raj). However, it was the former who placed third, somehow managing to match strides with the two champions.
Suraj made his winning effort, on A Star Is Born, a simple task. He timed his challenge on Roderic O`Connor`s son from the tail end of the field to simply cruise pass those at the helm in the final 200m -- Success and Botero -- to virtually settle the outcome of the race with a commanding verdict of over two lengths. Stockbridge placed fourth and decent enough to command some respect.
Success was, however, impressive in defeat. Consider the light framed filly`s packed programme during the winter season. With more than a month to go for the Turf Invitation Cup, in the first weekend of March, Success is bound to recuperate and return much stronger for the Bangalore extravaganza.
The afternoon also witnessed two crafty jockeys -- Imran Chisty and Trevor Patel – ruling the six event card with a brace of wins apiece. Chisty, atop Javed Khan`s The Protector, was all-power against Aashay Doctor`s Hidden Gold, in the 1,400m Mysore Race Club Cup. More importantly because Chisty was also forced to take a circuitous route while Hidden Gold (Neeraj) enjoyed the rail-side galloping room.
Vijay`s fancied runner, Presidential, in the same race, was unlucky to have lost some ground at the start and yet he placed a good fourth close behind the Trevor-ridden Summer Night.
Chisty`s other winner, was a lucky pick for the western India migrant, Full Of Grace – trained by Imtiaz Sait -- who got the verdict in the stewards` room. Actually, it was trainer Suraj Shaw`s Cold Pursuit who was driven dangerously to victory -- over Javed`s strongly fancied runner, Arrow Point -- by apprentice Hasib Alam. In the process of winning, Cold Pursuit badly disturbed Arrow Point and was relegated to the third berth while Full Of Grace was awarded the race.
Patel, on the other hand, used more of head than power on his two wins – Mezcal who claimed the 1,200m INS Hooghly Cup for trainer Bharath Singh and Vijay`s Raisina Star who conquered a mighty sprinter, Delphini, ridden over-confidently by Neeraj, in the 1,200m Echoes Of Light Handicap.
The Alaskan Handicap, over 1,400m, witnessed trainer B. Mahesh`s last outing`s impressive runner Toronero (Alex Rozario) easily getting the measure of a late finishing Vikash Jaiswal`s runner, Indian Star (Vinay Jaiswal). In the same race, Javed`s heavily wagered Asterix, ran green but yet placed fourth. The horse lives to fight another day.