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Kangra leads all the way to ‘Invitation’ victory

By: Goldie Boy   March 4 , 2018

Trainer Suleiman Attaollahi`s filly, Kangra (A. Sandesh-up), fought a strong battle, nearing the finishing line, to neck-out Pesi Shroff`s charge, Temerity (Neeraj Rawal), in the 2,400m Indian Turf Invitation Cup, on Sunday. In a fast run, Kangra also broke the course record, polishing off nearly half-a-second, from the existing one, clocked by Southern Empire, 11 years ago. The course was fast, rather quite fast on the day, and the 1,600m record was also broken when trainer Malesh Narredu`s Whomakestherules (Suraj Narredu) easily beat the RCTC`s champion horse, Castlebridge (Trevor Patel), on his way to winning 1,600m the Maj P.K. Mehra Memorial Super Mile Cup.

Sandesh was unstoppable on the day after his Invitation Cup-victory. The champion jockey reeled off two more wins, including the concluding event, the Arion Horse Trophy, which would have been for Srinath`s asking, had the lanky jockey not been unseated from Alaindair, in the big race, possibly, clipping heels of the 2/1 favourite, Lady In Lace, nearing the 600m pole. Srinath, though, escaped with minor injuries was quite shaken up to fulfil rest of engagements. Alaindair, on the other hand, broke his cannon bone and has been kept in plaster, a kind gesture, by those directly concerned, towards the champion galloper.

Kangra, the Bangalore Derby winner, has brought back smiles to the battered turf club; which had gone through some turbulent months, thanks to the club`s inner-politics and also at the state government level. There were, however, a very few takers in the betting, at 10/1, for the Nanoli Stud Farm bred filly. Also because of the presence of a potential western India contingent, and of the runaway Pune Derby winner, Lady In Lace – in fact, representing Hyderabad – in a 10-horse field. The field also boasted of the presence of two Invitation Cup winners, the Altamash Ahmed-trained Alaindair (2014) and the last year`s champion horse, Temerity.

Sandesh allowed Kangra to run his natural way, start-to-finish. The jockey was on the bridle; until 400m from home as the filly had build up a gradual three-length lead over Tamerity, and the rest of the struggling lot. Apparently, it looked like a two-horse race, nearing the distance-post as jockeys of Lady In Lace (Neeraj Rawal) and of the Indian Derby winner, Rochester (C. S. Jodha), perhaps, waited for too long, expecting Kangra to weaken and to fall victim of her own woven plans.

It never happened. Sandesh kept Kangra going in the final 100m even as Neeraj almost succeeded bringing Tamerity alongside.
There was no hard luck story in the Super Mile. Whomakesthjerules (Suraj) won the race fair and square, beating Castlebridge (Trevor) in his own back-yard. Castlebride wasn`t rusty but he was never allowed the tearaway tactics by trainer James McKeown`s Shivalik Showers (Fergus Sweeny) and S. Padmanabhan`s Mauritania (David Allan). This effort may have taken some steam out of the Pune Derby winner as he even failed to offer a token resistance when Whomakestherules came on the scene, almost from the wrong-end of the seven-horse field.

Suraj was equally enterprising on the day and he also notched up a treble. Riding his father`s, Satheesh Narredu`s charge, Tutankamun, an 18/10 favourite, in the Suresh Mahindra Multi-Million Trophy, over 1,400 meters. Suraj allowed Your Royal Majesty a slender lead and pounced on the front-running horse, inside the last furlong of the race to retire as an easy winner.

Trainer Rutherford Alford` even-money favourite, Home Of The Brave (Sandesh) also justified his odds, in the 1,400m Arion Horse Trophy. Sandesh, on the Saamidd son, timed his challenge to necessity, from way back, to dash hopes of Stelvio Pass (Neeraj), Fireburg (Dhanu Deora) and Global Glamour (Hindu Singh) who changed leads until the last 200m but found the winner and the second placed Lumenac (Dashrath Singh) far too superior youngsters.
Sandesh also guided trainer Patrick Quinn`s Alisha`s Pet to an easy victory in the 1,400m Hazara Cup. Allowing the speedy Denny Crane (app. Sujit Paswan) to lead till a furlong from home, Sandesh passed the leader about a 150m from home to score readily.

Trainer Javed Khan`s Gloaming (Neeraj) cashed in his handicap advantage to deliver the good in the 1,400m Calcutta Cup. Trainer Manvendra Singh`s Arakawah (Hindu) tried to Steal a march in the early half of the race but Neeraj brought the 9/4 favourite in a striking position and led 150m from home to keep Bharath`s late comer, Storm Away (Dashrath) at bay.

There is not much to write home about winners in the two divisions of the Original Vel Platinum Jubilee Trophies. The lower division was claimed by Manvendra`s Pierce Arrow (Srinath) as the opposition hardly appeared to be very keen and the upper division was lifted by Vijay`s Victoriana (Suraj) as Arti`s Shy Belle (Srikanth Kamble) lost her chances, because of a slow start. Yet the Belle placed a good second.
Trainer Shafiq Khan`s Respect (Trevor) finally made to the winner`s enclosure after hundreds of disappointing runs.


Pierce Arrow (Y S Srinath up) winner of the Original Vel Platinum Jubilee Trophy (Div-II)

Victoriana (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Original Vel Platinum Jubilee Trophy (Div-I)

Respect (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Hydroplane Cup

Gloaming (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Calcutta Cup

Tutankhamun (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Suresh Mahindra Multi - Million Trophy (Gr.2)

Whomakestherules (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the MAJ P K MEHRA MEMORIAL SUPER MILE CUP (GR.I)

Kangra (A Sandesh up) winner of the Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Gr.I)

Alishas Pet (A Sandesh up) winner of the Hazara Stud Cup

Home Of The Brave (A Sandesh up) winner of the Arion Horse Trophy

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