Smile Stone wins feature in a thriller

The Sharath Kumar-trained Smile Stone who in the past has competed successfully with better rates horses added one more win to his long victory list, winning the Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar Memorial Trophy, the feature event on Saturday.

The Sriram Komandur schooled Life Awaits garnered the maximum support in the moderate field. Lightning Strikes too was fancied by the insiders and the stable connections but both failed to provide their supporters a reason to smile, while Smile Stone brought cheer to the Sharath Kumar camp.

The Dominic-trained Rafa set a good pace before he went out of gas in the final furlong and at this juncture Lightning Strikes who appeared to encounter rough passage in his bid to break clear pushed Castle Key out. The Arjun Manglorkar ward in turn bumped Justice Angel who was making a good move. However, Lightning Strikes piloted by Srinath after the skirmish streaked ahead before Smile Stone stormed clear to wrest the initiative and then held on gamely to peg back the belated charge of Let The Lion Roar. Justice Angel too was seen finishing on strongly but it was clear that the Imtiaz Khan ward suffered most and the bump cost her dear.

Jockey Pradeep Chouhan who partnered Justice Angel protested against Srinath, pointing out that at the final curve, Srinath pushed Castle Key who in turn passed it on to his horse. Chouhan made it clear that his filly who was making a run lost her momentum before she got into her rhythm and finished full of running. The objection was valid and most knowledgeable were of the view that Chouhan’s contention did merit attention.

Senior Stipe Pradhuman Singh was of the view that the interference did make a difference and the objection deserved to be upheld. Mahender, opined that the interference happened at the final bend and that Justice Angel had enough distance to recover and hence the objection deserved to be overruled. The point here is that once a horse breaks his stride he takes time to recover while the offender is running free. The second point is that one cannot dismiss the affected pointing out that the horse had enough time and distance to recover from the infringement. The offender, however, accidental or dangerous need to be penalised. But his did not happen thanks to Mahender.

Prasanna Kumar-trained Rum Runner back after coming up tops on the opening day registered his second win beating the public choice Aeisir in the Sohna Stud Plate run over a sprint. The public choice Aeisir partnered by Srinath forged ahead at the distance post and looked set to score before the Prasanna ward came strongly along the rails to gain the day and spoil Aeisir’s party.

Prasanna Kumar had earlier led in Capricious who made an impressive winning debut in the Byerly Turf Plate for juveniles. Peluche who had the benefit of two good runs was the on-money favourite in the event but the public choice found Capricious too hot to handle, the winner romping home in a smart time of 1:12.78 seconds. Different League ran on well from behind to take the third spot..

After his eye-catching victory essay in his last start the Gregory Sandhu schooled Skybound piloted by leading pro Suraj Narredu was touted a `moral certainty’ in the upper division of the  Mudabidri Plate but the favourite much to the chagrin of most followers of form flopped badly. Call Me Maybe reigned supreme after taking command at the distance post. Fine Barristor nosed out As Good As It Gets to take the runner-up berth. The lower division of the race saw Azhar Ali- trained Harley Quinn break the ice in a manner suggesting that the winner belongs to a higher class. The Azhar ward will surprise most if he fails to provide an encore when saddled next.

Neil Darashah- trained Dancing Dragon proved that he is one good horse winning the Prince Ardent Trophy without raising a sweat from Iris and . Setaglow who finished more than seven lengths behind the runner-up.

Irfan Ghatala-trained Amazonite was hotly tipped to score in the Bramhagiri Plate and he did just that in the hands of apprentice jockey Nazerul Alam.

It was good to see Faraz Arshad lead in Jack Of Hearts in the opening event. The favourite piloted by Srinath proved too good cruising home in the mile long event. Magnificent Mary did well to take the second spot ahead of Ocean Park.


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