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Star Superior scrapes home in a tight finish

By: Tippu Sultan   August 12 , 2019

Contrary to expectations of Star Superior having a walk in the park in the Gr 2 Nizam`s Gold Cup, a terms race for four-year-olds and over, the feature event of Monday`s races, the champion had to survive a scare before prevailing by a neck over Mr Handsome with Big Sur another neck behind. The Rajesh Narredu trainee appeared to be in trouble with a furlong left in the race as he had some leeway to cover on Big Sur who was fighting it out resolutely but the champion showed admirable fighting qualities to prevail at the end with a desperate Suraj Narredu driving out the horse with all the resources at his command.

The terms races in India are not in favour of good horses as the classic placed horses enjoying a pull in weights always get a big chance to have their say. Star Superior was carrying the top weight of 62 kgs and somehow the champion`s performance on the monsoon track of Hyderabad have been far from convincing as compared to his efforts at Bangalore or Mumbai. Mr Handsome who had run behind The Invader in the Bangalore 2000 Guineas enjoyed a big pull in weights and could have upset the favourite with a stronger finisher than the one offered by Kiran Naidu. It is not the jockey did a poor job, but a stronger rider would have converted the opportunity into victory.

It was a fast run race with Rikki Tikki Tavi going at a scorching pace in front much to his own detriment resulting in the front-running Big Sur having to be eased into the second position. Likewise, was third while Suraj Narredu eased Star Superior in the fourth position with Mr Handsome gracing the rear. Rikki Tikki Tavi held the lead deep into the straight before running of his reserve. Big Sur shot ahead with 300 metres left in the race and threatened to cause an upset as he had a useful lead going into the final 100 metres. Star Superior was ridden out by Suraj to cover up the leeway and the favourite managed to do so in the shadow of the post. Mr Handsome who perhaps relished the fast pace finished with a rush and inched closer to causing an upset but Star Superior managed to pull it off. A neck each separated the first three placed horses.

Vittal Deshmukh trained Prince Valiant who had recorded a smashing win last time out recorded an encore in the1400 metres Medak Plate, a race for horses 20 to 45. Backed confidently to win again, Prince Valiant, in the hands of jockey Ajeeth Kumar obliged expectations but would have been under intense pressure had Havelock Cruise not been baulked for a clear run along the rails when in full flight. Kamyar who led the field deep into the straight was overtaken by Prince Valiant and even as Zervan was shifting Havelock Cruise to take the gap along the rails, Kamyar shifted in causing the former to be held up. By the time he could get a clear run, Prince Valiant had gone away. Kamyar stayed on to take the third position.

Donald Netto trained Star Envoy rallied strongly in the final furlong to catch up with runaway leader Mehrzad and easily won the 1100 metres Divine Dreams Plate, a race for three-year-olds. Tapatio and Star Envoy had both run at Bangalore and the latter had finished ahead on that occasion. However, -Tapatio received one-sided support with the speedy Mehrzad expected to play spoilsport. Star Envoy could run at nourishing odds. Jockey Prasad took Mehrzad to the front and the fancied runner had a break of seven lengths going into the final 300 metres. Star Envoy finished on strongly and got the better of the tiring front-runner. Tapatio who struggled for speed ran on along the rails and managed to nose out Mehrzad to get the runner-up berth. O`Brien who was in chase of the front-runner throughout weakened to finish fourth. Tapatio surely needs more ground to be more effective.

Hilton Sequeira trained Doroteo who had a good forward run justified the expectations. The six-year-old gelding jumped off well from the gates unlike on other occasions when he had lost all his chances at the start itself, held a comfortable position and then produced a strong effort in the straight to win the 1600 metres K Bhagavandas Memorial Cup (Div I), a race for horses rated 40 to 65. Last start winner City of Sails set a fast pace leading by many lengths into the straight before fading out. Doroteo who was alerted to the task by apprentice jockey Kaushik warmed up to the task and surged ahead in the final furlong and had enough cushion to stave off the late bid of Treasure Striker who made a rally along the rails. Raajneeti held off Hope Is Eternal to save place money. Hope Is Eternal once again confirmed the belief that she is an unreliable customer.

N R I Symbol from the stables of trainer Robin Reddy prevailed in the lower division of the race. N R I Symbol was backed strongly ahead of Bayrd while the rest were all at lucrative odds. Jockey Kuldeep Singh had N R I Symbol move swiftly from about the fourth position at the final turn to take charge by the time the horses approached the final furlong. Apprentice jockey Jitendra Singh on Tootsie Roll found the route on the inside closing at a crucial stage. By the time he changed course and made his bid, the favourite was clear. All that he could manage was to save place money by finishing behind the second favourite Bayrd but ahead of Vijays Empire.

The trainer-jockey combination of Donald Netto and Zervan had a nice-priced double for the day when the lesser fancied Versailles held off the late flourish of favourite Zamora to land the spoils in the 1100 metres Peddapalli Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 45. The stablemate of Versailles, Celeritas set a fast pace with the former settled in a handy position and got a good run along the rails while Suraj Narredu on Zamora could not get a good position early on and was left to cover a lot of leeway in the stretch. Versailles overhauled the front-runner in the final furlong and stormed ahead thanks to the driving finish of Zervan. Though Zamora finished with a rush, the favourite fell short by half a length. Soviet Pride got third place.

Anant Vatsalya trained Delmonico who had earlier in the season beaten Symbol of Star`s once again asserted his supremacy with a late dash to win the 1600 metres Machiavellianism Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. Symbol of Star`s who chased Cowboys Delight into the straight sailed ahead on turning for home and had a useful lead going into the final furlong. Delmonico who was at the wrong end of the field made rapid strides with a ground-saving effort and got up in time to get the better of the front-running favourite. Limousine took the third position.


Prince Valiant (P Ajeeth Kumar up) winner of the Medak Plate

Star Envoy (S Zervan up) winner of the Divine Dreams Plate

N R I Symbol (Kuldeep Singh up) winner of the K.Bhagavandas Memorial Cup (Div-II)

Versallies (S Zervan up) winner of the Peddapalli Plate

Doroteo (Koushik up) winner of the K.Bhagavandas Memorial Cup (Div-I)

Star Superior (Y S Srinath up) winner of the Nizam`S Gold Cup (Gr.2)

Delmonico (P Ajeeth Kumar up) winner of the Machiavellianism Plate

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