Trainer Niel Darashah`s utility galloper, Mountain Lion (Arshad Alam-up) scored a decisive victory in the Arcade Handicap at the Kolkata races on Tuesday. The trainer-jockey combinations also claimed the following event, the 1,100m Setaflame Handicap when their ward, Sea Of Cortez, simply crushed the opposition. They were not the only odds-on favourites in the six-event card to have score as Vijay Singh`s youngster, Dandi Satyagraha and Aashay Doctor`s Justified also followed the day`s trend and cashed in on their form in the hands of jockey C.S. Jodha, who had also won a race early in the afternoon.
Last winter, Mountain Lion had placed a decent third behind Black Pearl in the 2000 Guineas. It clearly means, the four-year-old possessed a better Class. The near seven months of layoff was, therefore, hardly considered as a disadvantage. The Phoenix Tower son took over the running, within a furlong of the start and scored easily. Mountain Lion did shift, out and in, during the final 250m – because of the rustiness -- when challenged by Sitara (Hindu Singh) but Jodha was quick to take the corrective measures, and to gain the advantage over his rival for a near three lengths verdict.
Sea Of Cortez, on the other hand, was ridden off the pace, while the speedy, Fenicia Mist (app. Hasib Alam) tried to make two ends of the slated scurry meet, with Taimure`s Choice in his tow. Jodha had the 9/10 favourite settled in third, gaining some ground; until coming abreast of leaders, a furlong from home, before skating clear for a yawning nine lengths victory. The fact that the five-year-old was ridden, simply, by hands and heels, and registered big margin win, the mare may do the trick again, if adequately rested and also kindly treated by the handicapper.
Vijay`s Dandi Satyagraha was no match for his stable-mate, Jake, when they crossed swords on the day one of the season. The top-weighted runner attracted a huge support in the betting at 9/10 but was under some pressure to beat D. Knight Mysore (Akshay Kumar) in the 1,100m Super Sunrise Handicap. Akshay`s filly, too, was in the betting at 5/ 2 and she also dictated terms with Nandini`s Pet, early in first half before trying to steal a march over a gradually improving Dandi Satyagraha. However, inside the final 150m the favourite grew stronger and stamped his authority to win by three parts of a length.
Aashay Doctor`s 7/10 favourite, Justified, too carried the public-purse in the 2,000m Tweedle Dee Handicap. In the four-horse field, the Multidimensional son was comfortably settled, in the rear, as Headboy (Rupal Singh), Raqs Sharqui (Md Azharuddin) and Resolute (Hindu) tested the turf, albeit in a slow run race. Pace picked up only nearing the final turn that the favourite took six-horses wide. However, the five-year-old had plenty in the tanks to get the better of the opposition.
Betting-wise, Arti Doctor`s Criteria (Shezad Khan) and The Indicator (C.S. Jodha) were almost equally supported in the 1,600m Desert Shot Handicap. The logical conclusion favoured Jodha`s superior horsemanship and he landed the prize despite Shezad`s best efforts. Both runners were held back, almost in the rear in the early half but The Indicator always had the edge in the home straight.
Bharath Singh`s 8/1 After Shock (Hindu Singh) was the only spoil sport in the day`s card. He made every post of the 1,400m Argiano Handicap a winning one.