Ascension, the 13/10 favourite from trainer Javed Khan`s stable, kept her date with the 1,100m Aerona Cup, on Wednesday, the opening day of the monsoon season. The afternoon also witnessed a number of winners taking the shortest route to victory but the one that impressed was trainer was trainer Manvendra Singh`s top-weighted runner, Arakawa -- ridden by Hindu Singh, who was the lone professional to notch-up a brace of winners in the seven-event card.
Ascnesion could not make it a start-to-finish effort, thanks to the top-weighted One Man Army (app. R.S. Bhati) -- from trainer Vikash Jaiswal`s stable – who made the favourite wait behind till a furlong from home. The fact that One Man Army wasn`t even tiring in the final 200m, leaving Jodha no option but to fire all cylinders. The strategy worked as the filly produced the extra acceleration and cashed in on her superior western India class.
Much shouldn`t be read into 3-1/2 length victory of Ascension as One Man Army kept the filly under pressure even in the final 100m, before the apprentice lost the heart and stopped belting the top-weighted runner.
Trainer Vijay Singh`s 7/4 favourite,Multiple (Nikhil Naidu) victory was made relatively easier by Patrick Quinn`s charge, Aquitania (A. Sandesh) in the 1,100m State Treasure Handicap. The expanding odds of Aquitania had given indications that something is wrong somewhere. The mare was slow into her stride to grace the wrong-end of the field but made some efforts in the home run to place a poor fourth. Keep an eye on the mare.
Multiple, on the other hand was settled up-front, by the apprentice and he maintained her position till the end. The four-year-old was, however, under-pressure from the top-weighted Knighthood (Vinay Jaiswal) in the final stages of the race.
Vikash, too, had his share of luck as his long shot, Indus Prince claimed the 1,100m Brown Wolf Handicap. Ranidan Singh sent the seven-year-old into a length lead from the start and managed ward off a strong challenge from Manvendra Singh`s charge Tiberon (Hindu Singh).
The start-to-finish tactics also helped Manvendra Singh-Hindu combo Arakawa in the 1,200m Best Of All Handicap. The top-weighted runner looked a winner in the final furlong of the race; leaving Aashay Doctor`s Shy Belle (Shrikant Kamble) and Vijay`s Panchovilla (Shezad) fight it out for the minor placings.
Trainer Richard Alford also pulled of a surprise win in the 1,200m Thrifty Allan Handicap. The front running City Heights (app P. Tajeshwar) made a successful winning effort to out-smart Vikash`s friendless runner Jester (Nikhil Naidu).
Vijay`s odds-on favourite, Darsh (Sandesh) struggled to make his presence felt in the baby race, the 1,100m Supernova Plate, which was claimed trainer Raunak Banerji`s Exclusive Power, a 5/1 shot in the eight-horse field. Darsh clearly needed the run after being castrated, while Exclusive Power looked the fittest and prevailed over Vijay`s doosra, Vrishank (Azharuddin).
The Trainer James Mackeown Royal One (Hindu) was the impressive winner of the 1,100m Goldliner Handicap. Ridden well off the pace, Hindu brought the long shot on the wide of the field to beat Aashay`s fancied runner, Lucky Streak (Kamble) in the day`s opener.
Royal One (Hindu Singh up) winner of the Goldliner Handicap
Exclusive Power (C Alford up) winner of the Supernova Plate
Indus Prince (Ranidan Singh up) winner of the Brown Wolf Handicap
Multiple (Nikhil Naidu up) winner of the State Treasure Handicap
Ascension (C S Jodha up) winner of the Aerona Cup
Arakawah (Hindu Singh up) winner of the Best Of All Handicap
City Heights (P Tejeshwar up) winner of the Thrifty Allan Handicap