Ganapathy trained Bold Command bounced back to winning form after disappointing efforts at Mysore to win the Gr 3 Rajyotsava Cup, a terms race for four-year-olds and over, the feature event of opening day`s Bangalore Winter Races held on Friday. Srinath rode a neat race on the winner, his positioning and timing of the final assault ensuring a positive result for the lesser fancied runner.
When a stable enters three horses of good merit, it becomes difficult to gauge the intentions of the connections. Suleiman Attollahi had three horses in the fray in the form of Acclaimed, Booker Jones and Sans Peur. Booker Jones is a very capable horse having matched strides with some of the best horses in the country and notwithstanding the fact that he was running over a sharper trip, he was expected to make his presence felt as he had during the summer season. However, Booker Jones was never in the hunt, packing up from contention at the final turn. It was Sans Peur who appeared to be the serious contender in the fray, well positioned all through the race but beaten in the end by the better-qualified horses in Bold Command and Ace Bucephalus.
After the field travelled some distance, Sans Peur took over the running with two stablemates and Shivalik Star in proximity while Bold Command was eased in about the fifth or sixth position with Ace Bucephalus further behind. Sans Peur led deep into the straight but Bold Command who was driven out to produce his best, responded well and came home with a big effort. Bold Command had the race sewn up long way from home. Ace Bucephalus warmed up to the task late and was full of running while taking the runner-up berth ahead of Sans Peur.
Sriram Komandur trained Life Awaits was the firm favourite to win the 1200 metres Garden City Trophy (Div I), a race for horses rated 45 to 65 as the four-year-old filly was bidding for a hat-trick. However, there was a dramatic twist to the tale as Life Awaits who was well settled in the gates, suddenly was not herself when the start was given and the horse jumped out with the jockey standing on the walls of the gates. Downton Abbey went on to record an easy win over Super Success and Trapezoid, the last one enjoying a good forward run. There was a Stewards enquiry into the running of the race and the proceedings went on for long, with one of the Stewards arguing endlessly. The simple solution as practised all over the world is that in the interests of betting public, such horses are declared as non-starters. What should have been a straightforward decision was made to look complicated. Why and how Srinath contrived himself to be on the walls of the gate and whether the start was given when the jockey was not ready or whether there is something that more than meets the eye is for the Stewards to find out with a detailed enquiry not the subject matter of the Stewards enquiry soon after the race which should have been limited to taking an immediate decision. The lower division of the race saw favourite Akha Teej run like a dud. Arjun Mangalorkar trained Millrose put in a speedy effort to win the race quite capably from Mariko and I Smile.
The drifting odds on Reference and the shortening of the same on Watchmyscript had a tale to tell in the 1600 metres Chickballapur Plate, a race for horses rated 30 to 50. Reference led well into the straight but had no answer when Watchmyscript came up with a big effort in the homestretch. The well backed Watchmyscript went on to win by a widening margin of five lengths. Towering Heights ran on well from behind to edge out Reference from the runner-up berth.
Samar Singh trained Romantic Helen who had been consistent having figured on board in all her five previous outings, was backed down spiritedly to win the 1100 metres November Plate (Div I), a race for maiden three-year-olds. Romantic Helen did not disappoint such an expectation with a speedy display and had the others swept off their feet to register an easy win. Santorini Secret ran on to take the second place ahead of Find. Suraj Narredu drove out Siyouni to contain the late flourish of Zafran to win the lower division of the race. Siyouni and Zafran broke away from the rest with the first named enjoying a healthy lead but closer home, the front-runner was under intense pressure. Siyouni just about held on to win. Call Me Maybe finished a distance behind in the third position.
Rock N Rolla led all the way in the 1200 metres Dandeli Plate, a race for horses rated 15 to 35 but was frustrated in the dying moments of the race by Celestial Storm whose aggressive effort in the final furlong saw the long shot edge out the front-runner to provide trainer Inayathulla with a long-priced winner in the day`s opener.