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Juliette gets her due finally in the Invitation Cup
Review: By: Sharan Kumar
March 6 , 2022

Karthik Ganapathy trained Juliette finally got her due which was denied to her because of dubious circumstances by recording an authoritative win in the Gr 1 Chettinad Indian Turf Invitation Cup, the most prestigious race of Indian Racing Calendar at the Madras Race Course on Sunday. The Sohna Stud Farm bred Juliette overwhelmed the opposition which included Indian Derby winner Zuccarelli as jockey C S Jodha made all the right moves and the six-year-old mare did the rest in a smart time of two minutes 29.21 seconds.

One is not sure if any champion female horse has run in three consecutive Invitation Cup races. The fillies are generally retired well before they turn five but Juliette perhaps was an exception as the connections resisted the temptation of retiring her to the stud and instead, kept her in training to accomplish the task that the horse had failed to achieve despite her obvious talent. Persistence pays in life and so it proved in the case of Juliette who was lucky in her third attempt. Juliette proved that she was a strong stayer and had the requisite power in her legs to beat a younger lot with a minimum fuss.


Souza did the customary pace setting job for the stablemates Chopin and Zuccarelli. Chopin raced in the second position ahead of Lagarde, A Star Is Born, Juliette and Zuccarelli. Jockey Jodha made his move early as he moved Juliette into a striking position at the final turn and was not required to go all out to overhaul Lagarde who was at the helm as Chopin had failed to sustain his foray in front. Juliette showed a good turn of foot and by the final furlong, had the race sewn up a long way from home. Lagarde stayed on to take the second position with Zuccarelli not able to produce his patented turn of foot and ending up third. A Star Is Born was disappointing fourth several lengths behind the third-placed Zuccarelli.

Trainer Ganapathy was pretty confident that Juliette would deliver the goods this time out. In the pre-race interview, he had said that he saw no threats to Juliette. His confidence was justified by the six-year-old mare who could not be denied her glorious moment. ''The success of Juliette in Chennai has brought me immense joy. Jockey C S Jodha rode exactly to the instructions and the wonder mare did the rest,’’ he said. ''I wish to thank my stable jockey Bhawani Singh who has worked Juliette day in and out and has been an integral part in me preparing the horse in the best possible condition, he added.

Trevor Patel said that Zuccarelli lacked the spark of his previous two performances as he raced too quick and did not have enough time to recover from, he hard grind. ''Zuccarelli will definitely be a different horse in summer as he is bound to get stronger and more mature. ‘’ Pesi Shroff had also expressed the fear that Zuccarelli had logged several miles in a short span of time and that could dent his sharpness.

Sulaiman Attaollahi trained Cosmic Ray was too good for the small field that took the starter in the Gr 1 Major P K Mehra Super Mile. Cosmic Ray was a proven miler, with the trainer also wisely keeping her confined to the distance that suits the filly most. The only threat for Cosmic Ray was stablemate Forest Flame who without a doubt is a more talented horse but her speed had been blunted with her being ambitiously targeted over longer trips. In the last year, she has run over a mile twice, the last time being in an ordinary field in November at Bangalore. However, Forest Flame was backed down as on money favourite in the belief that her superior credentials will have a bearing on the result ignoring the fact that having been trained for longer trips, the mile would prove sharp for her. This fear came true as Forest Flame, despite being well-positioned, had no answer when Cosmic Ray swooped on her with a powerful effort in the hands of Trevor Patel in the stretch. Forest Flame had to settle for the second spot. The third-placed Eternal Blaze was more than eight lengths adrift.

Young trainer Neil Devaney had a rewarding day as he saddled a brace of winners. Northern Alliance who appeared to have lost his spark as evidenced by his runs in the last two seasons, had been nursed painstakingly to be at his best for the Gr 2 Suresh Mahindra Multi-Million, a terms race for four-year-olds and over. Knotty Dancer who led deep into the stretch had no answer when Northern Alliance pounced on him. The latter drew away for an impressive win in the hands of local hero Umesh. Knotty Dancer stayed on to take the second position ahead of Multifaceted who has this habit of disappointing expectations often. Sprinters Cup winner Multifaceted who was running with two kgs penalty for his win on Saturday was poorly ridden by jockey John who got into all sorts of turbulence so much so that the champion sprinter was a disappointing third, never looking like obliging huge expectations.

Neil Devaney trained Last Wish gave an assertive performance in the 1400 metres Dashmesh Stud Juvenile Million, a race for three-year-old colts and geldings. Anthony Raj took Last Wish to the front from the word 'go’ and stayed put there comfortably. The progeny of Top class won untroubled from local hope King Louis who ran into interference and by the time Pradeep Chouhan could get him going, the cause had been lost. Ashwa Yudvir was third.

Anthony Raj was also astride the winner Ashwa Morocco in the 1200 metres Sans Craintes Stud Juvenile Million, a terms race for three-year-old fillies. Ashwa Morocco assumed command from the beginning and was not hard-pressed to win from Mysore based Soup N Sandwich and O Hansini. The winner from Hyderabad is trained by Shashikanth.

The 1200 metres Win News Million, a race for horses rated 60 to 85 was claimed by Sulaiman Attaollahi trained The Sovereign Orb who had a troubled free passage as contrasted with the late rallying favourite Columbian who got squeezed out early and had to make his move on the wide outside. Lagos was third.

Ravinder Singh trained New Look brought off an upset win in the 1600 metres Hooves of Steel Sumangala TMT Million, a race for horses rated 60 to 85. Classic winner Stockbridge was widely expected to win in this handicap race but the short-priced favourite disappointed after leading the field into the straight and surrendering meekly. Hyderabad based New Look was driven out for a facile win by apprentice jockey Gaurav Singh. Mr Kool nosed out Stockbridge to clinch the second spot.

Arjun Mangalorkar trained Allamanda scored an emphatic win in the 1400 metres M R Pratap Memorial Million, a race for horses rated 40 to 65. Allamanda who had narrowly failed in two classics, proved immensely superior as she left the field stranded inside the final furlong to win as she pleased. Garamond headed Four Wheel Drive at the finish to pinch the second spot.

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