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Vijay, Christopher crowned champs

By: Goldie Boy   October 13 , 2010

Silver Fox won the 2,000m Monsoon Cup on Wednesday, the concluding fixture of the season. However, it is an understatement to say that the 14-10 favourite won the race. In fact, Silver Fox`s victory brought great relief to trainer Vijay Singh and jockey Christopher Alford as it ensured the championship titles in their respective fields for them. The six-year old horse touched the line ahead of Mother`s Pride and Saint Vincent.

  Champions: (from left) Jockey Christopher Alford, Apprentice Jockey Shezad Khan and Trainer Vijay Singh, after winning their respective championship trophies on Wednesday, the concluding day of the season at Kolkata
The race was expected to be a close one, thanks to the presence of the last named horse who switched headquarters – from the Western India to the East – in pursuit of greener pastures. The four-year-old boasted of three smart wins from his last four starts but his long rest since the Mumbai season worked to the advantage of the racing fit lot. The Pesi Shroff-trained horse led till the 600m marker and ran out of the steam to help Silver Fox`s cause immensely.

Alford held back the six-year-old in fourth while Aemilia and Succeeding Star kept Saint Vincent, under pressure, to make things difficult for the leader. The plan succeeded as Aemilia was doing all the hard work for the winner and Succeeding Star for Mother`s Pride who jumped into the fray the moment Silver Fox was shown the daylight at the top of the home stretch. Mother`s Pride was, however, was no match for the favourite.

Vijay`s Rocket Ball (Alford-up) also scored a runaway victory in the 1,400m Sweet Surprise Handicap, earlier in the afternoon. The expanding odds of the Gaswar-Alannah son did cause raised eyebrows but Alford made his intentions clear from the halfway stage of the race when the 4-1 chance overtook the leader, Glorious Dancer, and went about increasing the lead to retire as the easiest winner on the cards. The Gaswar son is bound to improve further and he will win his share of races in the forthcoming winter season, scheduled to start from October 31.

Trainer Vinayak`s Zoffany is the other one who could be followed in the big season. In the lower division of the Sir Aali Handicap, the 7-4 favourite was ridden by Kishore Kadam well off the pace and was brought 10-horses wide into the straight to score the way the Ikhtiyar filly liked. Mission Control, who was expected to issue a strong challenge to the winner, was up with leaders – Flaming Love and Swiss King – but went backwards soon after the field turned for home. The upper division of the race was also an easy pick for a quietly gambled My Fair Lady, ridden by Md. Shabbani. The 5-1 chance, from trainer Sarfraz Khan`s yard, chased Cromwell till 600m from home and kicked away from the field, with her jockey throwing repeated glances in the stretch run.

Trainer Arti Doctor`s Royal Saga notched up a back to back victory while winning the 1,000m Sreepriya Cup. Ridden by Shailesh Shinde, the Tirol son followed the speedy Rithambhra and Flying Jaguar till a furlong from home before taking off for a length victory over the late finishing Magic Mantra.

Trainer Bharath Singh`s Ashridge cashed in on his handicap advantage, making every post of the 2,000m Shinjuku Handicap a winning one. The Placerville filly, however, came under pressure from Strike A Deal who was subjected to a heavy punishment by jockey Neeraj Rawal. The jockey had to work hard on the Vijay Singh-trained horse from the 1,400m marker.

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