Trainer Aashay Doctor`s filly Meropi (YS Srinath-up) easily bagged the 1,600m Calcutta Million on Saturday. Expectations were very high from the filly to win in the RCTC`s racing calendar`s only Million, having already claimed each of the two major juvenile events like the Indian Produce Stakes and the Champagne Stakes rather easily. The 2/10 hot property in the ante-post betting had already indicated before the start of the race that the game was over, literally, for all practical purposes.
The Western Aristocrat`s daughter likes to be ridden well off the pace and Srinath did not need to do anything different, on this occasion, to reach his objective. Needless to say that Meropi won handsomely.
The 2,000 Indian Air Force Cup was the other exciting race in the afternoon`s six event card, as three of the four acceptors in the field, hailed from Vijay Singh`s stable. Many Pundits were of view that the front-running Monteverdi (Hindu Singh) had a thick edge over the likely 9/10 favourite, Leonardo (Suraj Narredu), and also over the top-weighted runner, Presidential (Srinath). The Pundits proved right and Monteverdi tried to steal a march over Leonardo, but lasted out to score. Presidential, on the other hand, became a virtual non starter with a very bad start, leaving the lowly rated Cold Pursuit finish an impressive third.
Jockey Srinath found the going easy on the 9/10 public choice, Jawai, in the 1,400m Silver Beauty Handicap. Held back in third behind, a front running Mandela (Hindu) and a quietly fancied Vikash Jaiswal-trained runner, Thar (Chisty), till about a furlong from home, the victory was ensured for the favourite no sooner the filly passed the leader. Thar gained advantage over a tiring Mandela who impressed in his defeat.
The Shyam Habbu-trained Timur`s Choice served a good news to jockey RS Bhati who needed a confidence-building performance. Bhati had a nasty fall in a southern center about five months ago, and thus the victory of the 6/1 shot Timur`s choice was a morale booster for him. It was also a back-to-back win for the horse. In the same race, the second placed Jean Lafette (Nikhil Naidu) was hard-pressed to beat Castillo (app P Tajeshwar) for the second berth.
The two lower Classes events -- the opening, the 1,200m Fiddler Handicap and the concluding event, the 1,100m Royal Challenge Handicap had nothing much to offer in terms of discussions. Yes, in the curtain raiser, the winner, Musical Sound (Naidu) bore good looks and had some form to offer and the long priced winner had a narrow measure of Sun God (Bhati) and Daddy`s Dream (Chisty). In the last race, it was Vikash Jaiswal, the known destroyer, and his Shivalik Silk (Sujit Paswan) who just about managed to beat the public choice, Tres Bien (Chisty) who was looking awful In paddock rounds. In the same race, Vijay`s Island Lass (Hindu) needs be kept in mind as the filly went all over the field and yet placed third.