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War Hammer on top of the world

  February 2 , 2020

Prasanna Kumar trained War Hammer climbed the summit of Indian racing in spectacular fashion by winning the Gr 1 Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby at Mahalakshmi on Sunday, leaving the field stranded to win by a widening margin of seven lengths. Jockey Suraj Narredu was confidence personified on the Bangalore challenger who achieved the difficult task of winning the second Derby in a week of winning the Bangalore Derby back home much to the disbelief of many who were trying to find the chinks in the armoury of the champion.

War Hammer had advertised his class the day he set his foot on the race track. Each of his wins despite being spaced out was spectacular. Trainer Prasanna Kumar has done a wonderful job of turning out the champion in pink of condition despite the many niggles that he faced all through his career. By his deft handling of the horse and getting him to perform to his best ability on each occasion has undoubtedly raised the stock of Prasanna and has announced his arrival on the big stage. War Hammer has enhanced the reputation of his trainer as the Kunigal Stud Farm bred son of Air Support won him the first Derby of his career at Bangalore and then followed it up with the biggest of them all, the Indian Derby in a manner that highlighted the quality of the horse as also the ability of his handler to get his wards to perform at the highest level. This was the eighth straight win for War Hammer and he joins the list of illustrious horses like Exhilaration and Elusive Pimpernel who won the Indian Derby with an unbeaten record.

War Hammer has catapulted trainer Prasanna Kumar to the national stage. War Hammer is owned by enthusiastic owners led by laparoscopic surgeon C A Prashanth and his partners Gautham Basappa who was a former trainer, B S Manjunath, and Apana Subaya.

Trainer Prasanna Kumar said that the magnitude of the achievement was yet to sink in. ``I am on top of the world. War Hammer is a wonderful and a gentleman of a horse with all the attributes of a champion. War Hammer had several niggles but luckily, we have been able to get over his problems and he has delivered the goods like no other horse in recent history has done. I would take a call about running him in the Invitation Cup at Mysore after consulting the owners. I for one would be happy to give him a break,`` said Prasanna.

Jockey Suraj Narredu who is riding at the peak of his career did everything right on the horse. His reading of how the race would pan out and what he should do to ensure that War Hammer did not feel the ill-effects of a hard race back home last week were brilliant. ``I decided to race up with the pace as I did not want War Hammer to do too much in the end. My horse has a high cruising speed and I was happy to be sitting up with the pace. I knew that I had the race in my grasp the moment we turned for home and I asked War Hammer to quicken. War Hammer is a horse whom you can switch off and switch on as per the requirements of the race and this makes things easy to ride such a horse,`` said Suraj who was riding the third Indian Derby winner of his career. Last year, he had guided Star Superior who was trained by his brother Rajesh Narredu to a superb win. If War Hammer were to in the Invitation Cup, Suraj would be in a Hamletian dilemma of choosing the horse to ride in the Invitation Cup. ``I would rather wait and watch before I make any decision. Let me relish the moment,`` he said.

In a race that was run at a good clip, Trevor Patel took Deccan Derby winner Consigliori to the front followed by Wizard of Stocks, Royal Crystal, War Hammer and the rest. Juliette who had got the innermost draw could not take a forward position and the crowding of the big field ensured that Juliette had to settle way off the pace which eventually meant that the Oaks winner would have the going tough. War Hammer ran without much cover ad the big made horse raced comfortably, with none to disturb his rhythm while the other runners were spaced out way behind with Well Connected bringing up the rear. Wizard of Stocks took over the running in the stretch and bounced ahead but he could not sustain the lead for long as War Hammer came breathing down his neck. By the final furlong, War Hammer had established his supremacy as he came home in solitary splendour by a big margin over Trouvaille who ran on late to take the second position ahead of Wizard of Stocks who stayed on resolutely to keep the third position ahead of Juliette. The breath-taking win of War Hammer clearly demonstrated the gulf that existed between him and the rest of his contemporaries. The winner clocked a smart time of two minutes 28.4 seconds.

The Gr 2 Eclipse Stakes of India, a terms race for four-year-olds and over had a competitive field in the fray. Erstwhile Derby winner Salazaar from the stables of trainer Irfan Ghatala won the Gr 2 S M Shah Eclipse Stakes of India by a nose in a record timing of one minute 59.9 seconds. The race was run at a frenetic pace with Sacred Roman leading the way with Steinlight in the chase with Tasawwur and Salazaar spaced out behind. Rounding the final turn, Tasawwur made his move even as Suraj worked his way through a narrow gap along the rails to join issue with Tasawwur who had shot ahead of the long-time leader Scared Roman in the final furlong. The seven-year-old Salazaar showed that he had lost none of his zest for racing when he joined issue with Tasawwur. The duo fought the battle all the way in the final furlong with both Suraj and Sandesh going flat out before Salazaar managed to win in the bobbing of heads by the proverbial whisker. Truly Epic put up a late flourish from way behind to finishing in the striking reach of the eventual winner.


Giant Star (Yash Narredu up) winner of the Dr. M A M Ramaswamy Multi-Million

Flying Visit (A Sandesh up) winner of the Rusi Patel Trophy (Gr.3)

Forest Flame (David Egan up) winner of the Ebco Worksmart Breeders` Produce Stakes (Gr.3)

Salazaar (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the S. M. Shah Eclipse Stakes Of India (Gr.2)

Golden Oaks (David Allan up) winner of the B. K. Rattonsey Memorial Maiden Multi-Million

War Hammer (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby (Gr.1)

Kildare (A Sandesh up) winner of the Padmini & Gobind Jhangiani Million

Hidden Gold, (David Egan up) winner of the Tattersalls Million

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