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Icebreaker too good in Poonawalla Derby

  February 8 , 2009
   

Icebreaker continued her amazing run of wins with a decisive win in the Gr 1 Poonawalla Bangalore Derby, the star event of the winter season, on Sunday. The daughter of Alnasr Alwasheek was widely expected to face a stiff hurdle in the form of unbeaten star of the local circuit Fleeting Arrow but the expected challenge did not materialize as the son of Burden of Proof was in duress well before the race came on the boil. Yet again, Icebreaker had to get the better of Abs Fabs whom she had beaten in the Oaks. This time out, Icebreaker won very impressively, giving Scottish jockey David Allan the luxury of easing up the horse close home and celebrate the hat-trick of classic success by waving the whip in exultation.

The small made Icebreaker has defied all expectations. The Padmanabhan trainee was initially considered to be only a sprinter but the Mysore campaign where she lost the Guineas in a three horse photo finish was a revelation.
  
  Icebreaker (David Allan up), winner of the Poonawalla Bangalore Derby (Grade I), being lead in by joint owners Z. S. Poonawalla, Ms Simone Z. Poonawalla, Capt Jamshed J. Appoo & trainer S Padmanabhan
She won the Bangalore Guineas in impressive fashion and proved everyone wrong by her victory in the Oaks. Yet again there were many who felt that she will not be able to handle the mile and half trip in the same effective fashion against the might of Fleeting Arrow. Icebreaker proved her jockey right by staying every inch of the trip and then displaying the turn of foot that has characterized all her wins. She just had one horse to beat at the top of the straight and that was the front-running Abs Fabs as the rest behind her were struggling in the wake of the swiftly changing scenario. Icebreaker briefly engaged Abs Fabs in a duel before sailing clear. Fantastic Quest came from behind to occupy the third slot ahead of a well beaten Fleeting Arrow.

Icebreaker thus recorded her fourth straight win during the season and thee of them having come in classics. The champion filly will now head to Mumbai and as Dr Cyrus Poonawalla said: ``Anything she does from now onwards will be a great bonus.`` Trainer Padmanabhan who was quite excited by the manner of victory of Icebreaker said that he thought he would have a blank year in classics at the end of the summer campaign as none of the horses appeared capable of making a mark in the classics. The spectacular progress made by the talented filly is a tribute to the skills of the trainer.

Fleeting Arrow`s unbeaten streak made him as the firm favourite for the race and Icebreaker has somehow failed to get a strong surge in support for her in the ring so much so that each time she has run at nourishing odds. Timeless Treasure was in the fray as a final entry and since the son of Razeen was working very well, his trainer was pretty confident that he may pull it off.

The pace of the race was brisk as Abs Fabs found herself in front with no one willing to take up the job of setting the pace. Abs Fabs led the field with the rest of the runners spaced behind, Icebreaker racing in about fourth position, settling down nicely while Fleeting Arrow was in the rear group along with Fantastic Quest. Undue moved up to range alongside Abs Fabs approaching the final bend and suddenly there was urgency on the part of those behind to jockey for positions. Icebreaker swiftly came into striking position while Fleeting Arrow was not his usual self, struggling for pace while Fantastic Quest was moving better than the rest from the back bunch.

It was only a matter of time that Abs Fabs was overhauled by Icebreaker. The duel lasted just a furlong and thereafter, the latter broke clear to win with a great degree of comfort. Fantastic Quest moved well from behind to finish third ahead of an off colour Fleeting Arrow. Incidentally, the progeny of Burden of Proof who have won three Derbys over 2000 metres, haven`t proved to be as potent over the mile and half trip.

 
 
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