Sunday, March 30, 2008

british-invation of china

British troops occupying Peking, China, loot and then burn the Yuanmingyuan, the fabulous summer residence built by the Manchu emperors in the 18th century. China's Qing leadership surrendered to the Franco-British expeditionary force soon after, ending the Second Opium War and Chinese hopes of reversing the tide of foreign domination in its national affairs. In the 1870s, Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi began rebuilding the palace and its stunning gardens, renaming it Yiheyuan, or Garden of Good Health and Harmony. In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion, the palace was burned again by Western troops, and it remained dilapidated until the Chinese communists rebuilt it in the 1950s.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Treble for Vijay Singh

A bumper New Year's Day crowd spent an extraordinary day at the Calcutta racecourse on Tuesday. Traditionally marked as a day, when the city, who exchange season's greetings, while the thoroughbreds go about their business as usual, visitors returned home happy after enjoying a fair share of excitement in both spheres.
There were head-turners galore, as well as thrills aplenty on the track.
After drawing a blank in the first five races, trainer Vijay Singh rattled off a hat trick in the last three events of the afternoon. His winners were Accalia, Oxford Street and Elusive Study. All these runners are owned by his chief patron Deepak Khaitan, Khaitan led in another winner, Bath-trained Imperial Romance.
The most amazing result was in the afternoon feature event. The Indian Produce Stakes, which saw a stunning victory for Vijay Singh trained Accalia. The filly by Diffident out of Amantran lost eight lengths at the start but moved with giant strides from a hopeless position in the straight to land the spoils in the hands of Neeraj Rawal. Stablemate Arcology was fancied to deliver the goods but Christopher Alford found nothing extra, when he gave him full throttle at the distance post.
Public choice Piato was handled in a pedestrian manner by Mallesh Narredu, not that it would have made any difference to the ultimate result.
Barring Accalia and Entrepreneur, it was by and large an afternoon when punters got the better of the exchanges with bookmakers. As many as five on-money favourites were first past the winning post, namely Supreme Attraction, Apostrophe, Imperial Romance, Oxford Street and Elusive Study.
Some of the city's professionals were irked by the manner in which imports from western India dominated the first three races. Patrick Quinn pulled off a fine gamble with Italian Affair (Mark Reuben up) in the curtain-raiser before Aarti Doctor got into the act with retained rider C.S. Jodha to notch up a fine double with Supreme Attraction and Apostrophe. The Mumbai apprentice handled both runners with a degree of confidence. The stick had to be used liberally atop the former as Loughborough posed a serious threat near the distance post.
The fashionable bred Apostrophe however faced no such problems as the ante-post favourite Saarah Alam was all at sea, when jockey Mark turned on the heat.
Neeraj Rawal notched up the first of his two winners, when he guided Bath-trained Imperial Romance to a smooth victory in the Star Magic Cup. The chestnut gelding pegged back Conde Nast without batting an eyelid. However, it must be noted that the winner was in receipt of 12kg from the top-weight.
The Cico Park Cup saw Mark Reuben pull off a marvellous victory with Entrepreneur. The Robin Corner ward ate up ground in the final furlong, to peg back runaway favourite Altissimo.

The day's last two races were all Vijay Singh. His runners dominated the sprints. Neither Oxford Street nor Elusive Study had to be stretched to land the spoils. Thus, visitors left for home on a happy note on the first day of the New Year.

Wonder Smile Lifts Bangalore Oaks

The Bangalore Oaks (Grade II) attracted a very small field of five runners with the 1000 Guineas winner, Wonder Smile standing tall amongst this bunch of fillies. On sheer rating she was two classes superior to her nearest rival, and the bookmakers had no hesitation in offering very cramped odds on her. Agassiz after her last effortless victory over a staying trip, changed hands and now ran in the colours Of Dr. Vijay Mallya, who had pitched her as a final entry in this classic.

The race itself saw Agassiz going to the front and setting a good pace. Welcome Back, Wonder Smile and Mother's Pride were seen cantering along in close attendance. The field started bunching up at the turn, with the favourite moving up easily on the wide outside and cruising past the rest. Wonder Smile was eased up near the winning post, many lengths ahead of a hard ridden Welcome back and a tiring Agassiz. It was reported that Agassiz had splayed a plate during the race, but that may not have altered the result in any way. Wonder Smile shall now be targeted at the big one on Republic Day.

The Ardent Knight Cup saw the Prakash ridden Fantastic Quest being backed down in a big way with a fair bit of support coming for the Darius trained and fashionably bred Excellent Ability. The favourite had the benefit of two runs, and that came in handy when he quickened nicely in the straight and passed a front running Greens. The latter showed a lot of speed and can be earmarked for an early success. Excellent Ability was desperately in need of this run, since it struggled to get the better of the early leader Nearco Master and finished a tame third.

The day started with a fine performance by an unheralded three year old called Fleeting Arrow (Burden of Proof-Sabre Dance). This nice looking colt was looking a bit soft in the parade ring, and understandably. so, since it was the first run of his career. His trainer Babu Rao seems to have realized the capabilities of his charge considering that he was made to take part in 1400 metres. Safari and Touch of Magic were the joint favourites with the rest being available at 10's and over. Safari, who had already had two impressive runs under her belt, was taken to the front and was cruising into the straight, when she found Fleeting Arrow on her outside. There was hardly a contest as Fleeting Arrow lengthened his strides and went away to beat his tablemate Undue by a widening margin. Safari plodded on to be third, while Touch of Magic was totally outclassed. Fleeting Arrow's timing and style of running suggest that he is one of the top colts at this centre and should be prominent in the big races slated later in the year.

Prakash ridden Global Genius was confidentially backed to win a class IV sprint for older horses. Trainer Warren Singh chose to use a five kilo claimer on his ward Worth a Million, and decided to send him to the front. Apprentice Gautam Raj rode hands and heels, and did not permit Global Genius to come anywhere near him. Prakash had to be content with second place. when he whipped his horse to beat Hold the Fort into third position.

Another favourite from Ganapathy's yard, Storming Brown ridden by O' Donoghue was beaten into fourth place by Jersey Power, Power Punch and Lightenin Blues. O' Donoghue weighed in less than what he was supposed to be carrying in the race, and was deprived of his position after a steward’s enquiry.

Apprentice jockey Gaurav Sapra rode three public choices in the last three events of the day. He got beat on all of them. He started with Eshwar's Alinski, on whom he was beaten into second place by the front running Darktan. Alinski did manage to put his neck in front at the distance post, but the hard ridden Darktan came back on the rails and won in a close finish. Damgood finished a respectable third.

On Secret Fury, he took a good position from the start and sat behind the early leading pair of Amazing Forest and Ciampino. When he saw Appu relaxing Ciampino into a comfortable fourth position, Gaurav pushed Secret Fury and went in chase of Amazing Forest. In the last 300 metres the field started to close in, as Secret Fury started to tire. It was finally a hard ridden Ciampino, who got up in the last stride and beat Amazing Forest and Oro Neiro in a blanket finish.

Nityanand trained Plum Pudding was his third ride. This filly was the rage in the betting ring and came in for a lot of support to start as a clear favourite. She seemed to be travelling well and picking up the front runners one by one. However the early leader Don Cherry was a tough nut to crack, as he was seen holding on to his lead. Ryan Marshall made free use of the whalebone on Don Cherry and held a late finishing Action Hero and Plum Pudding at bay.

The stewards met after the last race of the day to enquire into the running and riding of the hot favourite Stanza Starry in yesterdays races. Trainer M Eshwer and Apprentice Gaurav Sapra were produced before the stewards. It is learnt that both of them have been suspended till 31st July 2008.

Mark Of Gibraltar Beaten

Jockey Prakash seems to have lost his zest for riding. In recent times, he has been seen in poor light on many top-class horses. He has lost races in Mumbai and Bangalore which he would have comfortably won if he had been riding in his old form. Prakash at his best used to be a treat to watch.
Prakash in his current form is a pale shadow of the champion that we have known for the last so many years. It is difficult to pinpoint the reason for this sudden change. I am sure it cannot be the easy rides he is invited to come and partner in Chennai week after week, a process in which he does not have to really perform to win the first five races of the day. It cannot be a physical thing, because he is still young and extremely fit. It is perhaps a state of his mind wherein he is unhappy with a foreign rider taking all the plums on horses, which were rightfully his rides. It may also be the suspension handed out to him by the stewards of the RWITC. Whatever be the reasons, the fact remains that the situation is getting to be tough for his many ardent supporters who wager heavily on horses ridden by this talented rider. It is hoped that he shall soon overcome the temporary loss of form, and start performing again at a level expected of him by the racing public all over the country.

The feature event on Friday was the well-endowed Karnataka Racehorse Owners Association Trophy, a sprint race for 3-year old horses. This was a terms race with winners expected to carry the standard penalties. A small field of five runners faced the starter, with the betting confined to two horses. Both Mark of Gibraltar and Alcmene were impressive winners in maiden company, but the style of running made Mark Of Gibraltar an obvious choice and thus he was installed as the shortest priced favourite in the season. Appu sent Music Forever to the front with Srinath ridden Alcmene in close second position, while Prakash on the favourite was seen travelling the widest of three as they straightened for home. Alcmene took over from a tiring Music Forever and soon found Mark Of Gibraltar coming with giant strides on her outside. The two of them were engaged in a duel for a while before the favourite got the upper hand and seemed to be getting the better of Alcmene on whom Srinath had stopped using the whip. The last 50 metres of the race saw Srinath pull out all stops as he punched Alcmene and goaded her to put everything into it. She responded beautifully and in the process caught Prakash napping on Mark Of Gibraltar at the all-important end. This was another race that Prakash may have easily won when he was in good form.

The Chatrapathi Cup was a class II race over seven furlongs and saw big money coming on Appu-ridden Swift Fire. This gelding had run a couple of times this season and had finished on the board on both occasions. He had run with better-class horses and therefore finding today's set a bit easier, the connections backed him down from 5/2 to even money. Chris Hayes took Carabinieri to the front and seemed like spoiling the party as Appu was seen frantically whipping Swift Fire in second position. Carabinieri had a couple of lengths to spare at the distance post but suddenly started to shorten his strides. To the relief of his numerous supporters, Swift Fire went ahead and scored from a late finishing Mucho, who edged out the front-runner from second place.

The race for maiden 3-year olds saw a very average lot of youngsters face the starter. Based on her breeding, Lady Banks (Diffident-Mary Bankes) with Prakash in the saddle was installed as the half-money favourite. Here again, Prakash was seen struggling to keep her on an even keel and was lucky to nail the early leader Little Splendour on the post. Blushing Beam was sporting the same colours as the winner but was ridden by morning work jockey M Ravi. Had Ravi decided to be more enterprising on Blushing Beam, the story would have been totally different. For the record, Blushing Beam finished a close third and shall be too good to miss in her next start.

The class III race over a staying trip of a mile and a quarter saw Sontag Etoile being installed as an on-money favourite with the other five runners available at eights and over. Jagadeesh took Saptashwa to the front and surprisingly lasted out to win from a late finishing Van De Star. The latter was not given a good ride by apprentice John who decided to keep him in last position before skirting the field and coming widest of all into the straight. The game horse made up a lot of ground but was shy by a length at the winning post. The favourite Sontag Etoile plodded on to be a close third.

The last race of the day saw the Mangalorkar-trained Surprise Package emerge as the easiest winner of the day. Although drawn on the outside, jockey Aadesh rode a neat race as he took a good early position and rode a well-balanced race to win comfortably from Shenandoah, Crackerjack and Lighnin Blues.

The first two races of the day were for horses in the lowest class and saw Royal Flinn and Lago Vista earning their corn bills. The latter won easier than the verdict and can be placed to win again in her present form. The short seven event card was quite competitive with no professional able to score more than once.

Kinane and Shah

At 48, Mick Kinane was the oldest of the 19 jockeys in the Derby at Mahalakshmi Race Course on Sunday. On the other side of the coin was trainer SS Shah. In a 60-second post race chat with trainer Shah, I asked him how old he was. He shot back, “You make a guess.” My answer was 65. “I am 69,” Mr Shah said.

Six-time Irish champion jockey, Mick Kinane was winning the Indian Derby for the third time. Sir Bruce and Cordon Bleu were the other two horses that Kinane rode to victory in India’s most coveted prize in horse racing.

Trainer SS Shah, the oldest trainer in the Derby field and I believe I am making a safe assumption, was winning the Indian Derby for the second time. Mansoor was his other winner and the rider was the peerless Pandu Khade whose artistry in the saddle won the admiration of many a discerning observer.

May I say that the 2008 Indian Derby renewal was a triumph of experience over youth? It was only last Friday that at 49, Russell Baze reached the 10,000-winner milestone by riding a winner at Golden Gate Fields. Two days later, in India, several thousand miles away and in a different time zone, another history of sorts was made by a pair who, in normal circumstances, ought to be contemplating retirement.

This was my underlying thought as I posed this question to Mick Kinane. “At 48, when jockeys are considering other options in their lives, you are going round the world riding winners in big races. You have accomplished so much and what more needs to be done and how long will you do this?”

“I will keep going. I have years left,” he said. A friend interjected. “He will go another 10 years.”

“This is special. To come back to India and do this, it is great.”

Kinane has won the Breeders’ Cup, the Belmont Stakes, the Epsom Derby and every big race one can think of. The Kentucky Derby has eluded him but Louisville is a difficult target for an Ireland-based jockey.

Trainer Shah could not hide his glee. “This my second Derby win. I gave Hotstepper a big chance. There was no doubt in my mind he will stay. He came tough today. In the end, it was his staying ability that gave him the edge.”

As it turned out, it was a case of Hotstepper raising his game and a case of Bourbon King not being able to sustain his play level. Hotstepper responded spiritedly as the pressure mounted. Bourbon King ran on in the final 400 metres but he lacked the fiery acceleration that had stood him in good stead in his earlier wins.

Let us remember this. Mystical was beaten in the Derby. He came back with a vengeance to win the Invitation Cup. Southern Empire was beaten by Diabolical, a stablemate, in Mumbai. In the Invitation Cup, Southern Empire put daylight himself and Diabolical. Dr MAM Ramaswamy was prompted to declare, “Let me tell you. Southern Empire is better than Mystical.”

The trend continues. Favourites cannot get the job done in the Indian Derby. If history holds, in the last two years, beaten Derby favourites have redeemed themselves in the Invitation Cup. All I can say is that I am looking forward to my Malakpet visit.

Here are a few observations. The tote selling and paying system needs to be streamlined. The fixed odds concept is commendable, however. The clerks take forever to count the money, especially large sums. On Derby day, there were not enough windows to cater effectively to the fans.

The betting ring in the members’ enclosure is too small. On Derby day, I was able to penetrate the throng only twice. You could hardly breathe. On big racing days, the ring should be over a bigger area. This is important.

The 26% betting tax simply does not make sense. It is a legislative (political) matter but a movement should be launched. Racing is a revenue-producing game for the State Government. The racing authorities should do everything in their power to convince the Government that the goose that lays the golden egg is being deprived of oxygen.

The public address system needs correction. Mumbai has an excellent announcer. One can hardly understand the announcer. I do not know what is wrong. Audio experts should be asked to examine the system.

Here’s a suggestion. When there is a favourite at cramped odds, there should be what is called, ‘betting without the favourite.’ On Saturday, Vale of Leven was half money and marginally better. We can pretend that Vale Of Leven is not in the race and bet on the others. You will have a winner if you horse reaches the post first or if your horse is second behind Vale of Leven.

It is imperative that a post-race press conference be held. The winning owner, trainer and jockey should be there and it must be mandatory. Ten minutes would be enough. Have a moderator start off with a question. Then the meeting should be open to questions from the press corps. There is nothing like getting quotes.

There is another thing. The media department should ask a question or two of a beaten favourite, especially one like Bourbon King. Let jockey O’Donoghue respond to a question or two. Get the answers. Type them up and make copies and distribute them. Dissemination of information is critical to keeping the vitality of the game.

Finally, in the paddock area, there is open access. The paddock and the environs should be a privileged area and admission restricted to those authorized. This situation cries out for attention and correction.

I must express my sincere thanks to the Racing Secretary for providing me with passes for the weekend. I am looking forward to the 2009 Indian Derby.

I must offer a retraction. I had said in my piece last week that Frankie Dettori was riding in India for the first time. I stand corrected. Dettori was in India about 17 years ago for what was then called, ‘the Clash of the Titans.’ It was a contest between Indian jockeys and foreign jockeys.

Oasis Star

Top Class performance by the Naval Sky Divers and enthralling music went hand in hand with the Mumbai races on the SC Jain's Sprinters' Million Day at the Mahalaxmi race course.

The day began on a steady note as Dynamic Cat (Grant) made light work of the top weight (61 kg) he was carrying and posted a convincing victory to claim the Western India Bookmakers Association Trophy. Grant, who had partnered the colt in his last start victory over Casual Look, produced an ‘action replay’ more or less in the similar fashion, but this time encountered little resistance from his rivals. Pacific Zone led them into the straight, and once Dynamic Cat strode on to the scene, he was in complete command and stretched away from the rest. Victor Ivanov looked a pale shadow of his last start and did not raise any hope whatsoever. Amberogio (Chinoy) improved to finish second, pegging back Pacific Zone.

Artillery (Alam) fired finally and earned his winning bracket. Artillery was very restless in the gates but fortunately was alert at the jump. Hymn's Angel reared up as the gates flung open and lost a lot of ground. In the straight, Grey Storm led till 400 m where from Artillery took over. Tullamore (Ranjane) moved very late on the wide outside and failed to get past Artillery. Phi did well to finish third.

Classic did not have to sweat a lot for his victory in the third race of the day. Sitting well up, Classic (Alford) was just niggled to take over just past the 400 m and only about 200 m did Alford need to take out his whip. Astro Boy (Riyaz) could have done with better handling and had to be content with the third spot behind Arabian Power (SS Rathore). Tribal Warrior (Appu) who is no serious contention all through warmed up late to fill the frame. The last named is getting ready and needs watching over an extra furlong.

Englehart (Tograllu) produced a spirited final furlong burst to easily put it across Councilofthegods (Rajendra). Star Always (Appu) had every chance of making a race of it after being prominent in the straight but she just could not find her feet and faded away. Flames of Fire was always looking to get a clear run and his failure to do so may have cost him heavily. Oyster Princess (Nirmal) who kept Englehart company in the rear for the most part, saw the latter draw away from him and was ridden all out to get into the place money close home.

Red Indian (Rajendra) was badly affected by the erratic run of Wild Temper who drifted all the way across the turf. Leading from the start, Wild temper (Alam) was still in charge past the 400 m when Red Indian joined alongside. Just when it appeared that Red Indian would go ahead, Wild Temper started drifting out and continued to do so all the way taking Red Indian along. By the time Rajendra could take corrective measures, Simply Smashing came on the scene and pipped Rajendra to the second place. This could be the reason why the jockey did not opt for taking an objection as he would still not get the race. Wild Temper, thus, was fortunate to keep the race despite not keeping a straight course and taking Red Indian's ground. Simply Smashing came up late and is the one to note. Mickey Mantle was caught between horses, however, didn’t quicken when he did get out and finished off the frame.

Casual Look (Merchant) suffered due to the rider's insistence on poking through the front running Sepia Tone and the challenger Clean Sweep (Kishore). Had he had the presence of mind to immediately switch on the outside, he may have made it considering that Casual Look closed in towards the finish. Merchant tried to get the race in the stewards’ room, but the winner was in no way to blame for the incident and the objection was overruled.

Liverpool (Neeraj) attempted a start-to-finish essay that got aborted at the distance post. Celtic Charm (Srinath) came up with a sustained bid to ward off a serious threat from Il Divo (Rajendra) who had to be switched out of a troubled passage. The late charge of the Shroff ward was never going to be enough after Celtic Charm was ridden hard to hold on. Il Divo, however, looked good enough to make amends very soon.

Srinath missed out on a hattrick when he opted out riding Pure Devotion due to his reporting ill. Grant who replaced Srinath guided Pure Devotion to a hard fought victory on the post. Xiamen led the field home hotly chased by Adallia who then led briefly only to surrender to Kalpavruksha (Belose). Black Hussar tried to make an impression but failed to quicken. Pure Devotion suddenly pounced upon them all and caught up with Kalpavruksha on the post. Czech (TS Jodha) did exceedingly well to come from a long way back to snatch the place money. If he overcomes his starting problems, Czech will be in the reckoning as he displayed good finishing effort.

Among the professionals, trainers Imtiaz Sait, CD Katrak, Narendra Lagad and jockeys Srinath, Grant and Alam scored a double each.

The Indian Navy performed an aerial display and the Naval band played on the lawns/paddock. Vice Admiral J.S. Bedi was personally present to give away the prizes. The Fantasie Stakes created a huge ambience. Ms Zeba Kohli put up attractive stalls with her array of products and had chocolate samplings. Huge hampers were given away as prizes to the winning team.

The Dr SC Jain Million had a record field. The Jain family invited leading models Sandhya Shetty and Aryan Vaid as guests. There were several other models as part of the entourage. Ms Jesse, a regular visitor, won the Ganesha. The best-dressed male prize went to Rajesh Kohli, husband of Zeba Kohli, who was nattily attired in a linen suit. The best-dressed lady went to Aarti Surendranath, a regular on the society circuit. The Jain family presented beautiful trophies to the winning owner, trainer, jockey. Managing Director of Deutsche Private Wealth Management was present to give away The Deutsche Bank Dash trophy to Mr. Shapoor Mistry.

Oasis Star (Senure – Gambaru Etsu) overcame a nasty check soon after the start, then had to encounter a wall of horse in front, forcing her to skirt around the bunch who were already in top gear in the straight, and only in the final 100 metres did she unleash a sensational run-in to zip past some renowned sprinters in full flight, and clinch the SC Jain Sprinters Million (GR-2) with an awesome display of raw speed.

In my preview on the race, I had speculated that the course record for 1200 m would be under threat. The only reason the record stays intact in the name of Persephone (1m – 10.54 secs), I conclude, is the fact that Oasis Star was subjected to a near collision near the 1000 m mark by Lady One (Aadesh). This relegated the filly to the second last position in a strong 17-horse field. In the straight too, Oasis Star had to be maneuvered between horses and only got a clear passage past the distance post. That she clocked a nippy 1m-10.72, just split seconds off the record, despite the impeding run, leads me to believe that she would have clocked a better timing otherwise and my plucky prophecy would have been spot on.

Pampered Princess showed that she is the quickest starter and led the field, Agha, Atmosphere, Rejuvenite, Escravos were close in a huddle, not far behind were the rest Oyster Cove and Oasis Star in the rear and they only had the slow starter Perfect Attraction behind them till the turn. In the straight, Pampered Princess was making a race of it, Atmosphere was wilting, Rejuvenite was toiling to keep up and Evatina and Escravos were being pressed hard. Pampered Princess was desperately wishing for the winning post to rescue her and inside 100 m of the post Oasis Star conquered the opposition flying past as though the rest were pedestrian.

Jockey Srinath rode a commendable race, kept his calm and showed complete faith in the filly's ability. He never hurried her and coxed her to give her best when it mattered most and the scintillating response from Oasis Star exhibited her class and she is the one they all have to beat in the Sprinters' Cup at Hyderabad early March.

Enaski, Escravos, Oyster Cove, Pampered Princess, Evatina and Rejuvenite all were together in a blanket finish for the minor placings. Of this lot, Oyster Cove covered a lot of ground and should come good in the near future. Enaski was the surprise package and Pampered Princess a determined fighter.

It was a colourful day and the turnout was encouraging even though it followed the Derby weekend.

Rare And Precious

The P Dayanand Pai & P Satish Pai Bangalore Winter Million saw the emergence of a new star in the form of the Prithviraj trained Rare And Precious at the Bangalore races on Saturday. This progeny of Juniper credited his sire with the first big win from his crop on Indian soil. With two fairly ordinary runs in his short career so far, Rare And Precious was ignored in the betting ring and was easily backable at 8's and over. It is learnt that the trainer was quite confident about his chances and had told Suraj Narredu at the declaration stage itself that he was getting onto a winning mount. Hardworking Prithviraj has had a fairly good winter season but today’s success was the "Jewel in the Crown".

Byramji's Alcmene cornered most of the support in this well endowed event. This filly had done everything asked of her by winning both the races that she had run since November. In her last start she had beaten the highly rated Mark Of Gibraltar. Prince Ville from the Ganapathy camp was the other fancied runner in this race. The paddock parade gave an indication that there might be an upset, because both the above mentioned horses were noticed to have lost a bit of condition since their previous runs. The race itself saw the well bred Greens making full use of the inside draw and
charging off to the front. She was followed by Nearco Master, Rare And Precious, Alcmene, Join The Party and Prince Ville at regular intervals. Greens seemed to be going well at the 400 metres marker when she suddenly saw Rare And Precious looming on her outside, and Alcmene also gaining
ground on the two of them. The whips were taken out and the three of them started to pull away from the rest. Rare And Precious responded beautifully to the urgings of Suraj, and the two of them sailed away for a smashing victory over Greens who was able to hold the favourite Alcmene and a late
finishing Stormy River. The last named was looking gross in the paddock and his finishing effort suggested that he will be too good to miss in his next outing.

The jubilant connections definitely missed the presence of their sporting owner Santosh Lad during their post race celebrations. A new entrant into the sport of horse racing, Mr Lad seems to have a "Golden Touch". His friends cajoled him into buying a race horse a couple of years ago. He asked
trainer Mahesh to pick one for him. Splendid Surprise was acquired and the rest is history. He won the Mysore 2000 Guineas and the Mysore Derby for his first time owner. Enthused by this success, he decided to buy a few more horses last year. Rare And Precious was one of them and today he has proved that he is a top class horse.

The supporting event during the afternoon’s card was The Nilgiris Trophy, a seven furlong race for horses in the highest class. Royal Ambassador was the obvious favourite but the seasoned punters were wary of backing him because he had picked up the bad habit of getting left at the starting gates. He started as an odd on favourite with the rest of the runners available at 10's and over. The race was full of drama. It started with Royal Ambassador missing the kick and losing a few lengths at the start. The front running Carabinieri, Fantabulous Prince and Dare Don brought the field into the straight while Vivek on Royal Ambassador was making desperate efforts to get into striking position. His anxiety caused an accident as he knocked a tiring Orpendale onto the rails, which resulted in Shoban Babu parting company with his mount. Royal Ambassador gained the expected momentum
thereafter and emerged as an easy victor of the Nilgiris Trophy. Jet Fire came from the back to run second ahead of Dare Don and a fast finishing Lionheart. His backers heaved a sigh of relief and were just about returning to normalcy, when the siren was sounded at the behest of the Stewards, who
had ordered an enquiry into the running of this race.

The enquiry revealed that the accident had been caused by Vivek on Royal Ambassador. History was not on the side of the favourite retaining his first place, as one was reminded of Mark Zahra's win on Southern Charge when he was disqualified for cutting across the field. Our readers may remember
that the stewards on that occasion had held that although Southern Charge had neither caused a fall nor touched any of the objecting horses, the mere fact that the rider rode dangerously was enough to take the race away from him. Royal Ambassador was extremely lucky to retain his first prize today.

The racing patrons were delighted to see the emergence of two new stars in the form of Equidae and Archipenko. They happened to be running in the two divisions of the race meant for maidens over 1400 metres. Equidae (Desert Style-Eye View) is a nice rangy filly and was given a smooth ride by Samuel Fargeat. He allowed Prakash on Gentle Knight to go ahead of Luminous Gold at the bend, before he pulled out Equidae and charged home for an effortless victory. This well bred filly trained by Padmanabhan looks a staying type and should do well in the summer classics.

Archipenko (China Visit-Born To Dance) is a huge colt and looked very heavy in the paddock. It seemed that he may need this run and his odds started to drift. Suraj Narredu was a picture of confidence as his horse ran like a seasoned campaigner when he effortlessly overtook the front running Cart Wheel. He won on the bridle with All My Colours taking the second spot ahead of a tiring Cart Wheel. Archipenko is also a top class horse and is one for the notebook. Incidentally both Equidae and Archipenko clocked class I timings, and, one was left wondering about what may have happened if both of them had been put together in the same division.

The rest of the fare was pretty ordinary. True Confidence and Gift a Diamond won their respective races in identical fashion. Both of them made the early running, and lasted out to win in the last furlong. De Souza gave us another glimpse of his riding skills when he brought Crackerjack from third position and downed the front running Ballerina Girl. The favourite Ciboney ran a pathetic race and finished a dismal fourth. Appu ridden Satin Wood won a race after many seasons, as he was able to hold onto its slender advantage over an apprentice ridden Place Her Well.

Suraj Narredu was the only professional to be associated with a double for the day. He was delighted with the runs of both Rare And Precious and Archipenko and hoped that he would be able to partner them again in their future engagements.


Spinoza (Pennine Ridge–Shingle Path) endorsed her staying prowess with yet another impressive victory, making it a back-to-back grand double. He followed his victory in the Maharaja Jiwaji Rao Scindia (Gr 3) in December with an even more emphatic win in the Jeejebhoy Eclipse Stakes of India (Gr 2) on Sunday.

Settling well and early up with the fast pace set by Desert Dust, Spinoza who was third behind Secret Memory (Srinath) easily breezed past the leaders near the 400 metres and devoured ground all through the home stretch at a remarkably fast clip. The final timing of 2 min 02.41 seconds is the fastest this season - just 0.41 secs off the course record! Gruezi (Neeraj) was a touch unfortunate as he was bumped soon on straightening up and had to jostle a bit with Southern Empire. However, Gruezi finished on strongly accounting for all but the winner.

Southern Empire (Prakash) once again failed miserably and the even money favourite was never in serious contention. The Multi Classic winner was reduced to a pale shadow of his past reputation and raced in the rear bunch all through. In the straight, he tried to move out of the traffic snarl and in the process banged into Gruezi just after the turn for home. Southern Empire then had a clear run to go for the kill, but he never got going. It was Spinoza all the way in the home stretch and Gruezi made her presence felt only in the final moments. Spinoza, despite drifting out considerably under pressure, held on by a length. Secret Memory also ran sitting well up with the pace to end a good third, while Cotswold Arms gave a good account of himself by figuring the frame.

Rave On made a successful start-to-finish bid to win the first race of the day with just a little anxiety close home. Leading the field into the straight, Rave On (Kishore) kicked on as his stable mate Marmaris (Shailesh) tried to come alongside, and continued to gallop away at a fair clip. Marmaris just could not quicken enough but kept chasing the leader. Meanwhile, Refuse To Bend, who was racing in the rear bunch, raised a challenging gallop inside the final furlong and started to bridge the gap quite rapidly. Top Action (Vikram) and Tapis (Akash) joined the chasers but could not sustain. Refuse To Bend was the only one to impress beside Rave On and ½ length separated the two on the line. Rave On, who hadn’t done too badly up to this race, was surprisingly neglected in the betting and was quoted at a lucrative 8/1 odds in the ring.

Bridge Too Far (Shailesh), after his suggestive last start second, was the tote favourite. Attempting it start-to-finish, Bridge Too Far faltered in the final furlong when Ring Bearer (Fargeat) produced a fiery onslaught to bolt ahead decisively and pocket the race a few metres from the winning post. Raging Chenb (Chouhan) ran a good race after changing both, name and stable (late Sleight Of Hand). Bridge Too Far was clearly overwhelmed but the one to note was King Of The Ring who covered a lot of ground towards the end and although his recent runs have not been encouraging, and having finished off the frame, the King gave an impression that he is striding his way into good form.

Ruby Rocket (Grant) never really recovered from a lethargic start and failed to justify the ‘favourite’ tag conferred upon him. As if the slow start was not enough, the mare got tangled between horses at a crucial stage in the straight and lost out on whatever recovery was possible and ended in the rut. Appreciate did nothing to prove that his last start shock win over Raquel was not a fluke. Although stiffly penalized, Appreciate could not even finish in the top five. Star O’ War (Rajendra) was in striking position at the 400 m and bounded forward to register a handsome victory. Call To Arms (Aashish) went all out but made no impression on the winner. However, Red Dawn (Kharadi) was the one to catch the eye, as he poked and probed between horses for a clear run, and finally when did see daylight Red Dawn stormed in with a dazzle but could only finish as runner up to the elusive Star O’ War. Crespo (Dasharath) looked like gaining momentum nearing the distance post but failed to sustain.

Arktouros (Diffident–Girl From Ipanema) made an impressive debut, coming from a long way back and easily pass Secret Glory (Prakash) and the half money favourite Western Challenge (Srinath) who were in full flight. Secret Glory took charge early in the straight as Vantage fell back, with Western Challenge in close attendance. Jockey Neeraj Rawal had clearly assessed Arktouros’ response and nursed the gelding calmly even as Secret Glory was setting sights on the winning post. Western Challenge ran on, but could only close in on Secret Glory as he helplessly watched the strongly built Arktouros unleash a seething final gallop to snuff out the opposition without being fully extended and clocking a nippy 1:24.27.

Blue Ray (Alnasr Alwasheek–Bay Of Angels) provided trainer Pesi Shroff a back-to-back double in the division I and II of the YM Chaudhry Memorial Trophy. Rajendra seemed confident right from the start and it didn’t bother him that he was way back in the 12-horse field. In the straight too, Rajendra steered the bay colt on the wide outside and alerted him past the 400 m. Meanwhile, Lone Sentinel was losing out to Spitz (Fargeat) and Riyasat (Srinath) with Indian Summer (Chinoy) chasing them. The fighting trio were stunned by the strong finishing effort of Blue Ray who simply trounced the opposition and just one crack past the pack had Blue Ray bolting away from them leaving the rest to fight for the minor places. Blue Ray clocked a smart timing too of 1:- 24.80 secs for the 7 furlong distance.

The Samsonite Grand Mile saw seven horses going to the post and the favourite Personified duly compiled a fantastic hat-trick, winning all his three starts handsomely. Sitting well up, personified took charge soon on turning for home and sped away under the stick to establish a handy lead mid way up the straight. Livorno (Rajendra), who was racing in the rear, came on strongly towards the finish but never looked like getting the measure of the winner. Chouhan rode a copy book race and never caused any anxious moments and Personified (Razeen–Magical Moments) looked every inch a winner all through. The Karthik ward has developed into a top-class miler and can add to his tally.

Siroco (Kishore) ran straight as an arrow and the earned rich dividends in a fighting finish with Elemntto Angel (Dasharath). Trainer Rehanullah Khan needs to commended for correcting the wayward ways of the dark bay and jockey Kishore played his part to the hilt. As she stepped up the pace for the post, Tantrik faded out as Elementto Angle took command, Noble Replica (Neeraj) went all out but was not getting anywhere with the leader. At the distance post, Siroco appeared, full of running and easily zipped past Elementto Angel who ended next best. Nobel Replica came into place money. The favourite Roman Beauty finished last of ten, despite Grant making all out effort in getting the mare to respond. Roman Beauty just couldn’t raise a gallop and it would be wise to observe her form before waging on her again.

The last race was the most open race of the day but Landlord attracted a lot of betting. Can Can, Cinderella Man, Full Throttle and even Chief Warrior had their share of followers. As it turned out, the race in the straight was a commentator’s nightmare with the lead changing quickly and a wall of horses spreading out to outrace each other. Varun, Quaoar, Love Forty, Full Throttle and landlord were all in a line making a cavalry charge to the fast approaching finish. Can Can (Shailesh) was desperately looking for space and weaved himself through horses and once he got the opening, he swept past all and collared Full Throttle close home to land the spoils in a dramatic fashion. The Nina Lalvani ward covered ground rapidly towards the finish and his final burst was laudable.

Jockeys Rajendra and Kishore Kadam scored a brace each.

autonomy million

Richard Hughes’ ploy to mark Red Romeo (Kinane), chase the favourite all the way, and step up his challenge in the final run paid off rich dividends. Autonomy (Razeen–All Heart) produced a strong run towards the finish to reverse the verdict in his second encounter with Red Romeo and snatch a scintillating victory close home in the PBMM (Gr 1). Autonomy had succumbed without even raising a fight in the Nitco Million when partnered by CD Hayes. However, Hughes made ample amends and timed his run to perfection to get the optimal result when the duo started going stride for stride in the final furlong.

Aurora Aurealis (Narredu) set the tone with an edgy Successor for company, Mark Of Gibraltar was well up, and Red Romeo was in the mid-bunch being chased by Autonomy all the time. On Straightening up, Aurora Aurealis kicked on; while Successor came under pressure, Juventus (Fargeat) was keen to stride ahead but was hemmed up on the rails. Red Romeo burst on to the scene and immediately started to dictate terms. Autonomy was unsure for a few moments and Richard got him out in a flash before Red Romeo could bolt too far ahead. Then began a power-packed battle of two of the most prolific riders in the world. Had Mick Kinane shown Red Romeo daylight a wee bit early? Some might argue so on hindsight; however, at the rate Autonomy devoured ground in the home stretch, it was apparent that Red Romeo would return second best. It was an absorbing battle and a fitting finale to the supremely showcased ‘Juvenile Derby’.

Of the finishers, Aurora Aurealis ran a terrific race to sustain the electric pace all through and stubbornly held on to the third spot. Juventus (TS Jodha) may rue the lack of clear passage and not without reason as Aurora Aurealis was not giving any quarter whatsoever and they both finished together! Fleeting Arrow resorted to take the turn wide and make his bid closer to the outer railing to run a good fifth. Southern Summit (Srinath) came from the rear, was the widest one at the turn, and ran on to run ahead of Star Wave, Mark Of Gibraltar, Successor and Palazzio’s Sun.

A strong crowd of close to 15,000 witnessed the PBMM and the collections were close to one crore mark. Glamorous models displayed the attractive collections of designer Delna Poonawalla. The crowd in the members’ and first enclosures were treated to free entry and refreshments courtesy the Poonawalla group and one lucky gentleman walked away, or rather sped away, with the Mahindra Logan car for the lone correct nomination of the order of the first four in PBMM race. It was an enjoyable, well-planned and executed race day and kudos to the Poonawalla Group for promoting their race as one of the best races in the country.

Oasis Star sizzles in the Sprinters' Cup

In a chat moments after the Sprinters' Cup presentation was made, Jockey Srinath confirmed what had been apparent in the early part of the eight-event card. "When I won the third race with Imperial Gate, the inescapable conclusion I came to was that speed was dominant and the track was favouring horses who got out alertly. Finding that opening on the rail was a good break but as it turned out, Imperial Gate would have won anyway. He was firing on all cylinders."

The subject of the conversation changed to Oasis Star. "People believe that Oasis Star is effective when ridden off the pace. It is true but this filly can do anything you ask of her. She can leave and get position and race close to the lead. That is what she did today. The plan was to stay close to the front-runners. Sitting third gave me the kind of trip I wanted. It was a question of when I wanted her to go. When I did, she took off. After this win, there is no doubt that she is the best sprinter in India."

I had a word or two with CD Katrak, the winning trainer. "Yes, we had to stay out of trouble. It was not a small field. When Srinath left and was right behind the top two, I was thrilled. When that breakaway happened turning for home, there was concern. When she got going, there was no stopping her. It is great to train her, she has given us proof she is the best sprinter. We wanted a clear run and jockey Srinath did a great job."

When prompted as he returned to the unsaddling enclosure about Oasis Star's chances on Sunday, Srinath was emphatic. "I fancy her chances," he said.

Woman On Top did get a call or two from the announcer but it was evident it was a lost cause for her soon after the start. She had poor position and was not a factor at any point. If there was an excuse, I am sure we will know about it.

Rhapsidion Snow put some cheer in trainer Padmanabhan's camp. A firm favourite despite Wonder Smile's strong credentials, Rhapsidion Snow, was receiving chunks of weight from her key adversary. Danny Grant tracked the pace-setter, closed the gap to draw even in the final turn and paced away. Wonder Smile could not keep up in the last 400 metres. It was a washout.

With Wonder Smile and Woman On Top failing, my last hope for the afternoon lay with Arabian Knight in the 3000-metre Stayers' Cup. In an overpowering show of speed and stamina, the Jaggy Dhariwal-trained four year-old won from the word 'Go.' Samuel Fargeat took command at once and kept a clear margin down the backside. Maximise and Danny Grant delivered a stern challenge as Arabian Knight made that turn for the run to the box. The duel did not last for more than a moment or two. Arabian Knight, shaken up by jockey Fargeat, responded with alacrity as if saying, "ah, ah, not today," and ran on to win easily. The time of 3 minutes 10.57 seconds is the fastest time recorded in Hyderabad for the Stayers' Cup..

The affable Dhariwal is articulate. "This horse has not had luck. Ability is one thing but you need to have luck in this game. I am happy Arabian Knight put it all together today."

I asked trainer Dhariwal if going to the front was his plan. "I wanted him to have an incident-free trip because he has had a list of excuses this season. I was convinced that 3,000 metres would not pose a problem. I had targeted him for the Bangalore Derby. However, all along we had the Stayers' Cup in view. I felt he must be given a chance to prove himself and he did it in no uncertain terms. He came up right and delivered."

Zeyn Mirza, Racing Manager for Dr Vijay Mallya, is a man who is not at a loss for words. "Arabian Knight set a decent gallop. We wanted Samuel Fargeat to leave and get covered up if someone else wanted the lead. There were no takers and Samuel was able to go along pressure-free. It was a record-breaking performance."

"Not going in the Bangalore Derby was, perhaps, a blessing in disguise. We had time to prepare."

I asked Mr Mirza why Samuel Fargeat was chosen. “Our retained jockey, Chris Hayes had to go back to Ireland. Samuel was free and we asked him," he said.

Asked about future plans for Arabian Knight, Mirza answered, "He needs rest and will get it. Bangalore summer meeting has some terms races that will suit him. We will look at our options. It is now clear that Arabian Knight is ready to scale new heights."

Diego Rivera Edges Splendid Surprise out in Mehra Super Mile

It was a spine-chilling finish and Diego Rivera, the 6-4 favourite, eked out a win over Splendid Surprise in the Grade I Major P K Mehra Memorial Super Mile, the supporting event in the Invitation card at Malakpet Racecourse on Sunday.

Bet confidently on the basis of his recent win in Mumbai, Diego Rivera was given an astute steer by jockey Mallesh Narredu. The favourite was held up and lay, at no time, farther than sixth. Splendid Surprise, sent out a picture by trainer Mahesh, was in striking range. As the contenders and the pretenders were being separated, Splendid Surprise took an inside route in the lane. He was travelling very well and to the dismay of jockey Christopher, Splendid Surprise’s momentum was checked. Mallesh Narredu, having waited with Diego Rivera long enough, pushed the green button and the response was striking. He drew even with Christopher and Splendid Surprise and a combat ensued. For a fleeting moment, Splendid Surprise may have held the upper hand. Mallesh dug deep and Diego Rivera had another gear to spare. A head bob separated the two and the Pesi Shroff-trained Diego Rivera had won.. The time was 1 37.09 seconds for 1600 metres.

Jockey Mallesh Narredu is a breath of fresh air. He is cerebral. We talked at length. “In riding, timing is everything. Diego Rivera idles on the lead. My major concern was not to hit the front with some running left. I had to let our momentum, once I let my mount loose, carry us to the post. That was the key. Once I got going, I was confident I would get there though Splendid Surprise gave a bigger fight than I expected. Diego Rivera is in excellent form.”

Mallesh who tries to analyze why and how things happen, spoke about decision-making and riding his mounts in keeping with individual propensities. “There is so much to learn that I learn a thing or two every time I go out on the track.”

Pesi Shroff, as dapper-looking as a horse trainer can get, talked about Diego Rivera’s climb to the top. “He has had problems. His potential was not realized. In recent weeks, he was finding his stride. His last win in Mumbai, especially, was a big confidence-builder. I did not have a good view of the race but Mallesh made the right moves from what I know. Diego Rivera can go longer. As he gets older, he’s getting stronger. He knows when he takes to the track, he has a job at hand and races accordingly. If the heat has no adverse impact on him and he comes out of today’s race in good order, I will find a target for him in Mumbai.”

Trainer Mahesh, disappointed as he was missing a big prize narrowly, was upbeat. “That interference cost me the race. He was quickening spiritedly and would have gone into an unassailable lead. It’s all in racing.”

Oasis Star won the K N Dhunjibhoy and Dolly Dhunjibhoy Million by a five-length margin in the splendid time of 1 23.11 seconds. Oasis Star went up to 11/10. The penalty she had been subject after the win in Saturday’s Sprinter’ Cup, must have weighed heavily on the fans. Jockey Srinath lay farther back than he may have liked. Ruben Star led a merry dance and opened up with 400 metres to run. Once shown some racetrack and having received the ‘go ahead’ signal from Srinath, Oasis Star put her telling stride into action. Concern turned glee as Oasis Star raced past Ruben Star in emphatic fashion.

Winning two races in two days is an accomplishment of enormous significance. Jockey Srinath had four winners over the weekend. Trainer C D Katrak is to be commended for a job well done.

Samuel Fargeat had two winners. B Prakash rode a pair of winners. Frankie Dettori made three visits to India in four weeks. He failed to connect. Richard Hughes made his presence felt with a winning ride on Autonomy in the Poonawalla Million.

Richard Hughes goes back to England. He has a ride or two on Wednesday at Lingfield on the all-weather surface.

I made the acquaintance with Samuel Fargeat. He is well-spoken and polite to the core. “I realized speed was dominant. That is why I took Arabian Knight to the lead. I knew a long way from home that the race was over. I am leaving India end of March. Please say hello to me when you come to Paris.”

I will be in Paris on June 1 for the Prix du Jockey Club which is the French name for the French Derby.

Sweeping Success Gives Dr. MAM his 11th Invitation

The ‘Gold Brown’ belt camp has, I am sure, a large trophy-filled chamber and the collection got a significant addition on Sunday. Bourbon King carried the hopes of a majority of fans but it was Sweeping Success, a filly in the hands of jockey B. Prakash, who after striking the front midway down the Malakpet lane, galloped on resolutely to help Dr. MAM Ramaswamy make a successful defence of India’s most glittering horse race. It was Dr. MAM’s 11th win in the Invitation Cup. To Dr. MAM, rewriting the Guinness Book of World Records comes naturally. He has won the piece de resistance of the Indian racing calendar five times in a row. Talk of a dynasty, Dr. MAM has won the Invitation Cup 25% of the time since its inception in 1963.

Sweeping Success, a filly by Placerville out of Lady Moupa, has had a productive season and emerging victorious in the Invitation Cup was the culmination of a string of high-profile wins. In the Indian Derby, over the never-ending Mahalaxmi homestretch, the S. Ganapathy trained filly had lost a duel of attrition to Hotstepper, ridden by the wily Mick Kinane. On Sunday, Hotstepper, Frankie Dettori up, was content to toil in the rear and at no pint, raised the hopes of his supporters.

Imperial View set out on a steady gallop. Retribution took forward position and tracked the leader. Sweeping Success lay third and Bourbon King was fourth. Noble Prince, travelling in the clear, was in middivision in the ten-horse field. Regal Connection, the Calcutta Derby champion, was allowed to coast and find his rhythm and was several lengths off the lead. Hotstepper raced at the back of the pack.

As the field raced down the backstretch and got ready to negotiate the bend, the race began to acquire a definitive shape. Imperial View was showing signs of weakening. Retribution was unable to keep up the chase. Bourbon King, in obvious distress, was beating a hasty retreat. Richard Hughes called on Noble Prince but the response was not as strong as trainer Padmanabhan would have wanted. Hotstepper was not making forward movement. On a track that showed no mercies to off-the-pace horses, Regal Connection was put in top gear by C Alford and the Khaitan-owned colt was surging and beginning to make an issue of the Invitation Cup. Jockey B. Prakash, having made the most of a ground-saving journey, was out of the pocket to challenge Imperial View. Not many moments had passed and Sweeping Success had sailed into the lead. With Regal Connection closing the gap in a hurry and Prakash, hard at work to keep the advantage, the fans were being treated to a finish quite unlike last year when Southern Empire won by the length of the Hastings stretch. Ruby Queen, late on the scene, was moving menacingly. The judges had to call for a photo. Sweeping Success had held on by a neck over Regal Connection. A length and three quarters away in third was Ruby Queen. Noble Prince, three parts of a length off, took fourth. As a matter of fact, the first six finishers were separated by four and three quarter lengths. The time for the 2400-metres trip was 2 minutes 29.57 seconds. Sweeping Success was 6-1 in the wagering.

I caught up with trainer Ganapathy. The ever-courteous S.Ganapathy spoke in glowing terms of Sweeping Success. “She has a great record. Been in fine form this season. In the Derby, she was asked to move too soon. Prakash executed our plan to perfection today. He left well, took position and had a very good trip. I knew we had a great chance with the track favouring front-end horses.”

Trainer Ganapathy continued. “She’s a tough filly who can handle the boys.”

My next question was about Bourbon King.” The track has been playing hard. He could not handle it. We will take a look at him. At this point, all I can say is that there is no negative news.”

I asked Ganapathy about decision-making in the Dr MAM camp. “It is a team effort. We are all involved. I make the recommendation and Dr MAM is consulted.”

I had a quick exchange with Colm O’Donoghue as he returned to the paddock. “Did he break down?”

Colm O’Donoghue uttered one word. “Bingo.”

I believe Colm’s one-word reply will be confirmed soon. Something went seriously wrong with the colt who has set Indian turf on fire the past 12 months.

I sent word to speak to jockey Prakash. I waited and waited and gave up.

I had a word with Richard Hughes who was aboard Noble Prince. “He raced well. After all, we finished fourth. There was no lameness problem. Never did I get a good feel, however.”

Another Invitation Cup in the books and a well-run and well-planned carnival. The Hyderabad team, headed by Mr Surender Reddy, the Chairman, did a magnificent job. Malakpet is the cleanest and the best-kept racecourse I have seen in recent days in India.

The Invitation Cup is always high drama. This year was no exception. A deserving filly won it. The favourite fell by the wayside. The Indian Derby winner was nowhere to be seen. The ceremonial aspect of any race meeting is what makes it special. Malakpet respects tradition and it was a deliberate and well-executed plan that made the weekend so very special to racing fans.

alekona bangalore

Five year old Alekona has finally lived up to the promise he had shown at the beginning of his career as a three year old. He was bought by Deepak Khaitan as a youngster and entrusted to Arjun Mangalorkar for racing him in
Bangalore. Alekona had shown great promise and won the very first start of his career in splendid fashion, before he developed some niggling problems and was kept on the shelf for over a year. He was then put up for sale and
was bought by his present owners. Trainer M B Mangalorkar bought a share in Alekona and took up the challenge of trying to bring this horse back into racing. The trainer's hard work and efforts bore fruit when after a couple of lethargic starts, he showed some spark and won a race in December. After a fighting second to Rio Bravo in his next start, the connections raced him within a couple of weeks and he trounced a class II opposition. On that occasion, Alekona came from way off the pace and stretched away to indicate that he will be more suitable over a staying trip.

The handicapper gave him a stiff penalty and rated him at the top of class I. He accepted along with five others to run in the days feature, which happened to be the Delhi Race club Trophy over 1800 metres. In an open betting event, there was almost equal support for Stafire, Lionheart, Alekona and Dare Don. The first named finally reached the starting gates as a marginal favourite. The low weighted Symbol Of Speed tore away to the front and was chased by Copenhagen, Stafire, Alekona, Lionheart and Dare Don. The order remained the same till well into the straight ,before the group started to bunch up. It was pretty obvious at this stage that Alekona was moving the best of the lot, and this fact was confirmed the moment Srinath decided to release the brakes on him.The response was immediate and Alekona bounded away from a late finishing Dare Don ,who was able to edge out Lionheart for the second spot. The favourite Stafire was seen plodding at the rear end of the field. Alekona shall be a strong contender in the many graded races during the Bangalore summer season in which he shall be treated favourably by the terms.

The Varada Trophy was the supporting event of the day. Padmanabhan trained Perfect Rhythm was fancied on the basis of her last victory and she obliged her supporters. Lucky to get an inside draw in a field of twelve, Appu took her to the front she and was seen racing well within herself before they straightened and charged for home. She won with a measure of comfort from a late finishing Mucho who is better suited over a slightly longer trip. Asiaticus and Panchakshari who were always in touch with the front runners had to be content to fill the rest of the frame. Perfect Rhythm seems to have handled her knee chip operation fairly well, and in her present form and condition can be expected to make further progress in her career.

It is common to see the distance being increased from sprinting to 1400 Metres for maiden three year olds, as we reach the last month of racing in the winter season. Today's event had two frontline contenders in All My Colours and Mighty Heart, both of whom had finished second in their previous starts. There was spirited betting on Mighty Heart at race time, while the odds against All My Colours began to drift as the horses reached the starting gates . Mighty Heart bounded out of the gates and was settled into second spot by Gnaneshwar as Chilli Chocolate set a fast pace in the early stages of the race. You Beauty was right behind them while All My Colours was being niggled to stay in fourth place. Mighty Heart skipped away from the rest as they approached the distance post, and it was evident that All My Colours would not be able to catch him today. Fly Free came from a hopeless position to occupy the third spot. The rest of the field was outclassed.

Dickey legged Attain finally won his first race of the season. This talented horse was taken to the front by Ryan Marshall and despite carrying a back breaking weight of 62 kg, he cantered away for an easy victory over Rebellious and Tina's Triumph. Another one to carry the public purse to victory was the Irfan Ghatala trained Bee The Star. This was her second successive victory in as many career starts, and her style of running indicated that she has many more races in store for her. Apprentice Vinod Shinde sat an unperturbed fourth, as Smart and Special led from the second in demand Remarkable Stride and Royal Hero. He was quick to seize the opening on the rails at the 300 Metres marker, and pushed Bee The Star to a popular victory over Smart and Special, Remarkable Stride and Royal Hero.

Vinod Shinde also partnered Ciboney to a long overdue victory. This Dhariwal ward had taken down a lot of money in her last start when she had run as a 5/4 favourite and finished a tame fourth. Today she seemed to be in her elements as she overcame the disadvantage of the outer draw and found herself in box seat. She collared the front running Paint Me Red and Give Me The Money before emerging as an easy winner. Her cause was helped by the fact that the favourite Lightnin Blues missed the kick and was at the tail end of the field for most of the way. Lighnin Blues came with a long stretch run, but was unable to deprive Paint Me Red of the runner-up berth.

The other two races in the card were the two divisions of a race for horses in the lowest class. These two insipid events were won by the Mangalorkar ward Badda Rupaiyya and the Warren Singh trained Tactical Gain.

rio bravo bangalore

Sriram Komandur's charge Rio Bravo put up a brlliant performance while annexing the Hyderabad Silver Vase, the feature event in Saturday's race card at Bangalore. This was his fifth win in a row since he first won during the summer season eight months ago. The handicapper has been pretty tough on Rio Bravo, but this stout galloper has been defying the penalties and winning his races in very workmanlike fashion. It is believed that he is a very tough horse to train and can not be pushed in the morning track work. Rio Bravo was hard pressed to get up in the final fifty metres to down Alekona in his previous start. Most seasoned race goers had opined at that time that the handicapper had finally got the measure of this horse. The fact that Alekona came out and easily won his next two starts made Rio Bravo the obvious first favorite in today's feature.

Rio Bravo was amongst a total of seven acceptors for this race. His main opponents seemed to be Flaming Lamborgini and Carabinieri, both of whom had been handicapped at the bottom of the scales and were set to receive a fair amount of weight from him. All three of them had their own group of supporters and Rio Bravo reached the start as the 2/1 favorite. Suraj Narredu was riding him for the first time, replacing his regular partner Vivek who had won with him on four earlier occasions. Lava set a fast pace for this race followed by Flaming Lamborgini, Stone Of Destiny and Carabinieri while Rio Bravo was seen being niggled to keep in touch with the front runners. The first horse beat in this race was Carabinieri, who started to drop out of the race at the bend. It was Flaming Lamborgini who took over the proceedings and skipped away from the tiring Lava and Stone Of Destiny, while Suraj Narredu brought Rio Bravo on the wide outside and was seen making free use of the whip. In his customary style, Rio Bravo started gaining on the front runner and got the measure of Flaming Lamborgini in the final hundred metres.It ceased to be a contest thereafter .It was a popular victory for the sporting owners of Rio Bravo, and his trainer announced that the horse shall be given a well deserved rest till the summer season.

Suraj was earlier seen to advantage on the Darius trained Rimpuche who lifted the Glass House Trophy. This was a terms race over a sprint for three year olds, where the winners of a race were set to concede weight to the maidens who were participating along with them. The betting was confined to Scenic Melody (Alnasr Alwasheek-Forest Fantasy) and Rimpuche (Penine Ridge-Smarlee). The first one was fashionably bred and had the services of Prakash in the saddle, but was making his reappearance on the race track after a gap of more than three months. The second one had recent form. There was great anticipation before the start of the race but the final result was an anticlimax. Rimpuche sat in a comfortable second position and quickened nicely to get the measure of the front running Little Splendour. Imperial Dream finished the fastest to be a respectable third. The well bred Scenic Melody was seen plodding in the end and finished a tame fourth thus gulping down a lot of money.

The maidens race was split into two divisions. Trainer Babu Rao had accepted with two well performed yougsters Flair Queen and On A Roll, and they found themselves as hot favorites to win their respective divisions. Appu was declared to ride both these horses. In the opening event, Flair Queen was backed down to half money but had no answers when Samar Singh's Nearco Master went to the front and refused to allow any of his opponents to come near him. Hall Mark came from fourth position and occupied the second slot ahead of Flair Queen. Simple ran an unextended fourth. The other division saw Appu taking On A Roll to the front and easily accounting for first timers Spicy Star and Spark Of Class. Spicy Star can be earmarked for an early success.

Prakash ridden Southern Chieftain was another horse which was backed to the exclusion of his rivals. Prakash took a good jump on this horse and sat in box seat behind My Friend Paul with the rest of the field led by lord Of Illusion following at a respectable distance. The moment Southern Chieftain was popped the question by his jockey, he started to send distress signals and faded away from the scene. Alchesaye in the hands of Mallesh Narredu came with a menacing run and challenged the front running My Friend Paul in the last fifty metres. The two of them were locked together as they passed the winning post. The judge declared My Friend Paul as the winner. The verdict was just a nose. Ever So Clever came from behind to occupy the third slot. Lord Of illusion was reported to have burst his blood vessels during the race .

The last race saw the appearance of the got abroad Leagues Apart from Padmanabhan's yard. He was backed as though there is no tomorrow. The fact that a very mediocre apprentice called Sunil Kumar was riding this horse made no difference to his supporters. They also chose to ignore the fact that the fashionably bred horse was unsound and was seen sporting bandages in the parade ring. All those who wagered on him paid a heavy price as he was seen struggling at the rear of the field. Mystic Star and Luckynumberslevin fought out the finish before the latter put his neck in front at the all important end. Anoosheek ended third ahead of Gift A Diamond. This win with Luckynumberslevin gave his trainer Amit Caddy a double for the day since he had won earlier in the afternoon with Reborn. Amit Caddy shared the day's professional honors with Suraj Narredu.

c alford kolkata

On a warm sunny afternoon, the Calcutta races got off to an eventful start on Saturday with the Stipendiary Stewards coming down heavily on champion jockey Christopher Alford for his indifferent handling of the piping hot favourite Arcology which went down to the friendless ownermate Arisaka. The rider has been suspended from March 18 till April 11, both days inclusive.

Alford however made amends for his dismal show by riding a gem of a race astride the Vijay Singh-trained second favourite Aristotle available at 5/2. He brought the top-weight with a flourish in the final furlong to get the better of the Ramaswamy-owned pair of Right Again and Royal Falcon and lift the Nationalistic Cup.
Trainer Harvinder Singh Bath enjoyed great success during the afternoon as he led in a well-deserved treble comprising Bright Blossom, Acrostic and Master Coup. The Stewards were however quick to pounce on the win of the first named as he had finished in the ruck in his earlier outings. The trainer was warned and told to ensure that his charges run more consistently in the future.

Acrostic made the Navy Cup a start to finish affair. The on-money favourite Triple Edge found nothing extra in the tank when asked for an effort by jockey Imran Chisty.

In the hands of Neeraj Rawal, Master Coup completed a superb hattrick for his owners Mr and Mrs Sol Noah. The five-year-old gelding pegged back the other two fancied runners Smarty Pant and Brilliant Victory, without too much trouble and went on to lift the H.H. Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur of Cooch Behar Memorial Cup. The presentations were made by Bengali actress Moon Moon Sen whose presence added to the afternoon’s glamour factor on Women’s Day.

A close finish was witnessed in the INS Hooghly Cup which saw the bottom-weight Matrix make every post a winning one. Agnation may have turned the tables had he not lost several lengths at the start. It was yet another black mark against Alford for the day.

The day’s most facile winner was Italian Beauty who won the lower division of the Arendal Handicap without raising a sweat. The chestnut filly was handled with fine understanding by Chouhan who obviously was keen not to exert her any more than was necessary.

Trainer Vikash Jaiswal and his rider (brother Vinay) pulled off a fine coup with El Cid in the day’s final event. The aged gelding showed without a doubt that he still has a zest for racing. Well done boys!

c n wadia million

The CN Wadia Gold Million (Gr 2) went to the wire and jockey Prakash must surely have heaved a sigh of relief at the sight of the winning post, as he barely managed to counter a strong challenge from the heavily fancied Gruezi (Neeraj). Neeraj will rue the fact that he lost a certain race and should take a cue from the way Prakash, his senior, improved his position and got the best out his mount. Poor Gruezi seems to be jinxed right after her first start victory. With the Wadia Million, she has had to run 2nd best thrice in as many starts and on very occasion she missed out narrowly. She has had her reasons for not pulling it off and justifiably so. Neeraj kept her off the pace despite a slow run race until they turned for home. He did not make a quick enough move and improve her position as did Prakash. By the time Gruezi was switched to the outside, Personified had seen daylight and Prakash gleefully accelerated ahead while Gruezi was pressing the panic button. When Neeraj finally got her wide for clear passage, Personified had established a handy distance between the two. Gruezi began to cover ground briskly and was the fastest moving horse in the final 150 m but the winning post came much too soon for the favorite. Gruezi thus lost yet another race, which she could have well won with wiser assistance from the saddle.

The CN Wadia Gold Million Day had it’s own flavor and there was a lot of entertainment for all at the race course. The Gladrags Mega Models cat-walked their way in the paddock. Little Children danced with zest and energy to some crispy Bollywood numbers. Cine Stars Salman Khan and Preity Zinta had the Camera crew working overtime but neither Star attempted to address the crowd with any interesting bytes. Salman was somber and was not even dressed for the occasion. He gave away the Bravery Awards to some gutsy children facing extreme adversity amidst encouraging cheers from the crowd. A certain Mr. Kabir Khan won the Zen Estilo car for correctly nominating the first three placing of the Wadia Million. The whole show was admirably organized and Maureen Wadia once exhibited her professional approach in making her event thoroughly successful and enjoyable.

The Punters received a drubbing as only two favorites obliged in the nine-event card. The Boss (Riyaz), who garnered much support in the first race failed to nail the second-in-demand Quaoar (Belose) in the first race. Emerging Power who led the field ‘in’ fought until the distance post where from Quaoar took over. A busy Belose rode out forcefully to successfully negate the challenge from The Boss and the the late finishers Lovely Feelings and Binee. The last named covered good ground and it would pay to note her over an extended trip.

Blue Daffodils was the favorite from trainer Narendra Lagad’s yard and scoffing at the grouse that the trainer’s favorites seldom oblige, the on money favorite made every post a winning one and won the Nadia Mary Homi Wadia Trophy with ease. Aegina who chased the winner all through ended doing so while Victory Star (Srinath) who was last from early on, covered good ground to run into place money. A good educative outing like this one will result in many positives and Victory Star should be taken more seriously in her next outing.

Rejuvenite made most of the opportunity of running with horses with lesser-known reputation than the ones he has been pitted against so far. His stable mate Royal Flash garnered all the attention in the ring and Rejuvenite headed the field all through the race. The 7/1 shot confounded the general impression that the 1400 m distance would be a furlong too much for him. The Mansoor Shah trainee kicked on impressively and easily warded off the late challenge from Nanjing and Englehart. Royal Flash was prominent only till the 300 meters and while attempting to make his bid from the inside he just could not find his speed and caved in without causing any threat whatsoever. Nanjing came from a long way back to upset the ‘runner up’ hopes of Englehart.

Giannatassio (Siphon – Peurto Plan) made a fashionable debut to score an easy victory in the Division 1 of the Homi Wadia Trophy. Sitting as far back as seventh until the final 2 furlongs, Ruzaan blazed past the front runners which included the hot favorite Rohans Glory (Suraj Narredu). Mypethoney was refusing to surrender her lead to Rohans Glory when Giannatassio burst on the scene and spurted ahead within a blink of the eye. The Shroff ward flashed past them all to post a facile victory implying that she is bound to win more races in her career. It was a remarkable debut and she will only improve further. Rohans Glory just found her too good and had to settle for the next best placing. Mypethoney rigidly held on to the third while Touch Of Land also made considerable headway in the homestretch to get into the frame.

Fantasy Lake (M.Narredu) stopped many a heart before unleashing a dazzling run in the final say to snatch victory in the final few strides in the fiercely fought race. Although the margin of victory was a good 2 ¾ lengths, it was only the experience of Malesh and his perfect reading of the pace that got the optimum out of the popular choice. Nearing the home turn Fantasy Lake was being pushed and was passed by the horses in the rear and it looked an uphill task for him to come out and win as Rage Of Angels, Sangoma and Urban Warrior were engaged in a pitched battle. Uruj too came in to join the fight, however, past the distance post, Malesh propelled Fantasy Lake who put in a devastating run to clobber the opposition to submission and throwing the crowds in an ecstasy. Rage Of Angels ran a good race as well.

A lot of hopes were pinned on IL Divo after his good second in his last outing. Tromos too attracted strong support and some smart money did come on Pretty Commission. As they jumped out, Pretty Commission soon led the field with both Tromos and IL Divo in close attendance. In the straight, Pretty Commission kept going further early on, Tromos just could not gain momentum while IL Divo started to bridge the gap. However, all he could manage was to get only a little bit closer as Pretty Commission showed no signs of relenting and returned a clear winner. Tromos disappointed, IL Divo will fight another day and Liberty Speaks will need more time. Absolute Reality retained the third spot but failed to make an impression on the first two.

Precision! That’s how jockey Ashish timed his run. This race was the shocker of the day! War Of Attrition who hitherto had been consistent and impressive suddenly had a bad day when he was most fancied. In the straight, he veered out alarmingly and kept drifting even further. Jockey Kishore Kadam did little to control the favorite and what was appalling was the fact that he continued to use his whip with the right hand, which would make him an accomplice. Whatever chances War Of Attrition had, were squandered away by this mindless use of whip. Consequently, the Mansoor Shah horse failed to hit the board. Well, that’s nothing to take away from Precision though, who found his feet at the right time to clinch the verdict precisely on the post. Precision came from nowhere, breezed past the likes of Almarina, Terre Blanche, Axiology readily and managed to surprise even the free galloping Appreciate literally on the last stride. This was the proverbial ‘bolt from the blue’ and a true bookie’s delight!

Schnell was the last nail in the coffin for the followers of favorites. The heavily backed gelding was right there as they turned for home but just fizzled out of contention confounding all calculations. Schnell was just beginning to mount his challenge when he got to The Brave Heart but found nothing in the tank when Carlos pressed him on the outside. Carlos simply cruised past the front running duo and past the distance post encountered a double challenge on either side from Generalissiomo and Call To Arms. Dasharath Singh was equal to the task and the Nina Lalvani schooled Vijay Mallya owned gelding warded off the duo to scrape through in a nail biting finish. Wafadar ended to be in the frame.

Owner Harish Mehta had a lucrative day leading in three winners two of them saddled by Mansoor Shah in combination with jockey Suraj Narredu in Rejuvenite and Pretty Commission and Fantasy Lake from trainer Katrak’s yard partnered by M. Narredu.

Monday, March 3, 2008

dale steyn

Dale Steyn's rise to national selection was rapid, being picked in the side for the first Test against England in December 2004 little more than a season after making his first-class debut. A genuinely fast, if slightly raw, bowler, who moves the ball away from right-handers, Steyn sprints to the wicket and hurls the ball down with aggression, and often follows with a snarl or side for the batsman. He was expected to be included in the squad which toured India, but the selectors held him back, preferring to keep him as a secret weapon on home soil. At the highest level his lack of experience was exposed but there was enough to suggest that he could be a force to be reckoned with. Recalled to the Test side in April 2006, he responded with his first five-wicket haul, as New Zealand were routed in the first Test at Centurion. Finished the three-Test series with 16 wickets, and made a fine impression throughout. Took 3 for 129 in the first Test against Sri Lanka in July, and 5 for 82 in the first innings of the second match even as South Africa slumped to a 2-0 series whitewash. Although not a permanent fixture during the 2006-07 the development continued and he brought an added dimension to the new-ball attack as South Africa searched for a cutting edge. He took 10 cheap wickets in three Tests against India and Pakistan although hasn't been able to find a place in the one-day set-up. He had a good stint with Warwickshire in 2007, topping the wickets table in the limited overs games with 16 wickets.

tim southee

New Zealand's selectors will monitor the progress of Tim Southee, a right-arm fast bowler, with great interest. He made his first-class debut for Northern Districts at the age of 18 in late 2006-07 and early the next season showed significant promise, claiming 6 for 68 in a particularly impressive effort against Auckland. Named in the squad for the Under-19 World Cup, Southee received a major boost when he was called into the senior set-up for New Zealand's Twenty20 matches against England in early 2008. On debut, he took 1 for 38 in a losing cause at Eden Park. Cricinfo staff February 2008

Nick Cave

Nicholas Edward Cave was born in Warracknabeal, Australia on 22/09/1957. His mother's name is Dawn, a librarian; his father Colin was an English teacher. He has two older brothers, Tim (1952) and Peter (1954) and a sister, Julie (1959). He was raised an Anglican, which explains the apparent influence of The Bible in his work..
His education: Caulfield Grammar School, Melbourne and an Art School (Art department of Caulfield Institute of Technology, now Monash University) which he attended only two years. An example of Nick's art is on the back of the Birthday Party's "Prayers On Fire" album, signed "Nicholas Cave". At Caulfield Nick met Mick Harvey, with whom he founded a high-school band that would become The Boys Next Door. The first recording released by Nick was "These Boots Are Made For Walking" in 1978, a single that was soon followed by the album "Door Door" the next year. The band consisted of Nick, Mick Harvey, Tracy Pew, Phillip Calvert and Rowland S. Howard (from 1979 on).
The Boys Next Door slowly dissolved into "The Birthday Party" in 1980 when the album of the same name came out: some copies stated "The Birthday Party by The Boys Next Door", others only "The Birthday Party". When they changed their name, the band moved from Australia to London. Renegade outsiders, The Birthday Party hit London from Melbourne with a force that still resounds today. Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Rowland S. Howard, Tracy Pew and Phil Calvert blazed through incendiary live shows and a string of albums and EPs of swaggering, raw-boned blues that were at odds with the plastic pop of the early '80s. The Birthday Party had a huge impact on the British rock scene of that time, especially because of the expression of "raw emotion, wit and essential dumbness" (Mute Records' opinion) in their music, though it took some time for them to really break through. The LP "Prayers on Fire" was released in 1981, "Junkyard" in 1982. The band moved to West-Berlin and fell apart in 1983 after releasing 3 studio albums and 2 EP's. Their last EP, "Mutiny", was the ultimate manifestation of the extremity of The Birthday Party's art.
Following the group's breakup in 1983, Cave briefly sojourned in Los Angeles, writing a film script that would later manifest itself as the prison movie Ghosts ... Of The Civil Dead, made with director John Hillcoat and director Evan English. He also assembled the first incarnation of The Bad Seeds. Mick Harvey remained from Birthday Party days. Blixa Bargeld, of Einsturzende Neubauten infamy, had appeared as guest guitarist on The Birthday Party track "Mutiny In Heaven," from their final Mutiny EP. Barry Adamson, who had guested on "Kiss Me Black" from The Birthday Party's seminal Junkyard LP, came from revered Manchester post-punks Magazine. Joined by Anita Lane, Edward Clayton Jones and Hugo Race, they released From Her To Eternity in 1984. This fusion of diverse talent was, if anything, more resourceful in constructing vivid musical backdrops to Cave's song narratives.
Part of the Birthday Party members continued to form The Bad Seeds, recording the first Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album in 1984: "From Her To Eternity". The line-up at this time was: Nick Cave, Blixa Bargeld (guitar), Mick Harvey (drums), Barry Adamson (guitar and piano), Hugo Race (guitar), Tracy Pew (bass, only during the Australian tour), with cooperation of Anita Lane. The name "Bad Seeds" come from the film "Bad Seed" by Mervin LeRoy, 1956, based on a play by Maxwell Anderson and a novel by William March.
Relocated in Berlin, Cave started work on what was to become his debut novel, And The Ass Saw The Angel. The themes he was evoking in this work would fire the next Bad Seeds album, 1985's "The First Born Is Dead", in which Cave, Harvey, Bargeld and Adamson explored the myth-heavy terrain of Delta blues. The epic single "Tupelo," based on John Lee Hooker's song of the same name, encapsulated Cave's Biblical fixation in one go, blending the birth of the King with Old Testament mythology. Recruiting Die Haut's Thomas Wydler as drummer, the 1986 incarnation of The Bad Seeds selected a poignant set of covers for the "Kicking Against The Pricks" album, including Tim Rose's "Hey Joe," Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties" and the definitive rework of Gene Pitney's "Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart." They swiftly followed this collection with the "Your Funeral..My Trial" LP. By this time, Barry Adamson had left the band, replaced by ex-Cramps/Gun Club man, Kid Congo Powers, while the lineup expanded with Roland Wolf on keyboards.
This incarnation delivered 1988's "Tender Prey", with its condenmed-man drama "The Mercy Seat" the most outstanding single. That year also saw the publication of Cave's book, "King Ink", a collection of lyrics and plays, and the band appeared in Wim Wender's film "Wings Of Desire", performing "The Carny" and "From Her To Eternity." "Ghosts ... Of The Civil Dead", with a score composed by Cave, Bargeld and Harvey and a central acting performance by Cave, gained its theatrical release, and the singer's film work took on another dimension when he appeared as rock star Freak Storm in Tom DiCillo's Johnny Suede. After this, Cave moved from Berlin to Sao Paolo, Brazil, where he had met Viviane Carneiro during a tour. The influence of Brazil is apparent in "The Good Son", the album released in 1990. The music is much more melodious and friendly than on any other album released before and is often said to express the Brazilian feeling of "saudade". Kid Congo Powers (Cramps, Gun Club) made his appearance as a member of the Bad Seeds on this album, although he already played in the band for a longer period, during the YFMT and KAtP times. In 1989, a film called "Ghosts... of the Civil Dead" was released, co-written by Nick, the soundtrack of which was written by Nick, acted in by Nick. It is a prison movie.
Not until 1992, the seventh album was released: "Henry's Dream", followed by a worldwide tour. Again, the line-up was changed: Nick, Blixa, Mick, Thomas, Martyn P. Casey and Conway Savage. The tour was used to record their only official live CD to be released in 1993: "Live Seeds". The CD was intended as a celebration of the ten years' existence of The Bad Seeds and is sold together with a photobook by Peter Milne. The book contains photographs from the 1992/3 tour.
The Bad Seeds' creativity continued to soar to ever-heightening peaks over their next three releases. 1994's imaginative feast, "Let Love In", was produced by Tony Cohen, whose association with Cave dates back to The Birthday Party days.
With Cave now based in London, The Bad Seeds' impetus continued apace. 1996's "Murder Ballads" was a culmination of Cave's longtime fascination with "the language of violence" and allowed for further bold experimentation in musical style. Collaborations with Kylie Minogue and PJ Harvey on the singles "Where The Wild Roses Grow" and "Henry Lee," respectively, led to mainstream chart success and The Bad Seeds widest exposure ever. This album also saw the addition of two new Bad Seeds: Warren Ellis, of Melbourne's The Dirty Three, added vibrant violin, and New York NoWave troubleshooter Jim Sclavunos pitched in atmospheric percussion.Apart from this, Nick Cave features on the compilation Album "Songs In The Key Of X", which has songs on it from the TV serial "The X-Files". Nick does "Red Right Hand" and can be found on a "Hidden Track" called "Time Jesum transeuntem et non reverendum" (Dread the passage of Jesus for he will not return) with The Dirty Three.
Meanwhile, Cave, Harvey and Bargeld resumed their cinematic links with John Hillcoat, scoring his second feature film, 1996's To Have And To Hold. Cave's second anthology of lyrics and essays, King Ink II, was also published that year.Nick Cave was shortlisted for "Best Male Artist" of 1996 by MTV Music Awards. He declined the honour, stating that he did not want to compete with other people where Art was concerned."Thank you but thank you".
March 1997 saw the release of The Bad Seeds' tenth studio album, The Boatman's Call. Cave's most intensely personal work to date, the music was pared down to a beautiful simplicity, evoking magical atmospheres, while the singer explored the themes of love, faith and loss in unflinching detail. Just as Murder Ballads piled on the visceral details with evident glee, so The Boatman's Call stripped away all the veils of pretense to the bone of the emotions it evoked. The contrast between the two albums says much about Cave and The Bad Seeds' continual quest for excellence and illumination, as well as displaying all the versatility of the most singular ensemble in contemporary music.
In 1998, the album "The Best of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds" was released, as well as a video compilation of several songs. The album contains selected songs, mainly chosen by Mick Harvey, but the other Bad Seeds contributed as well. Initial copies of the album contain a bonus-disc with live tracks from the concerts in Royal Albert Hall, 1997.
During 1999, Nick Cave performed without The Bad Seeds, usually with Warren Ellis and somethimes with Dirty Three."And The Ass Saw The Angel - Readings and Music" was rereleased.That's a Nick Cave 1988 readings acompanied by Mick, plus the music Mick Harvey and Ed Clayton-Jones recorded for a theatrical adaptation of the book from October 1993.Meanwhile he get married with Susie Bick.
2001 - "No More Shall We Part" was released
2003 - "Nocturama", Blixa leaving the Bad Seeds
2004 - "Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus" - 2004
2005 - "B-Sides & Rarities", a comprehensive three-disc, 56-track collection of B-sides, rarities and tracks that appeared on film soundtracks

Julian Beever

Julian Beever

English artist who's famous for his art on the pavement of England, France, Germany, USA, Australia and Belgium . Beever gives to his drawings an amazing 3D illusion. He does these drawings on the sidewalks of assorted cities mostly in Europe (mostly in London). Using Rembrandt pastels and a creative imagination, sidewalk traffic is baffled by the 3D look of these sidewalk renderings. Some of the pieces are over thirty feet long but appear to be about three feet high. The site shows a couple of the drawings from the “wrong” view, not what you would expect. Its peculiarity? Beever gives his drawings an anamorphosis view, his images are drawn in such a way which gives them three dimensionality when viewing from the correct angle. It's amazing !Julian Beever is a British chalk artist who creates 3D chalk drawings on pavement using a projection called anamorphism that creates the illusion, or Trompe-l'oeil. His street paintings appear to defy the laws of perspective. Besides the 3D art, Beever paints murals and replicas of the works of masters. He is often hired as a performance artist and to create murals for companies. Beever is interested in advertising and marketing, as well. He has worked in the UK, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, the USA and Australia. Since 2004 a chain letter containing his art (sometimes mixed with similar art by Kurt Wenner) has been circulating the Internet. Many people have speculated that his work is a result of digital photo editing. These images are actually authentic. He also has some very nice wall murals.
Pavement PicassoBy Sarah LoatArtist Julian Beever has been drawing plenty of attention with his amazing 3D pavement chalk art to celebrate Chinese New Year in Birmingham.
Internationally renowned Artist Julian Beever is often called the 'Pavement Picasso' for his enormous 3D pavement sketchings that bring his art well and truly to the streets.
For three days on the 27th, 28th and 29th January 2006, Julian decorated the streets of Birmingham's Chinatown with a huge three metre by three metre Chinese dragon in celebration of Chinese New Year.
"Today I'm drawing Felix the Cat gate-crashing the Chinese New Year of the dog. He's popping put of the ground in a Chinese dragon costume."
It was while working with a Punch & Judy show in York that Julian Beever saw other pavement artists and first became inspired to give pavement art a go.
The 3D aspect to his work came much later while he was working in Brussels, "I decided to get into 3D after seeing the effect of tiles being removed from the street, and later trying to recreate the sense of depth in a drawing.
"Once I realised you could make things go down, I realised you could make them appear to go up and I began experimenting."
Exposed to the elements
Julian works in chalk, so his art, which takes up to 3 days to complete, is there only as long as the elements allow, "If it rains it means I've done a lot of hard work for nothing, but I usually manage to avoid that.
"The important thing for me is to get a photo of it at the end. For me, I'm working towards building a photograph as my end result, and if I get that I'm happy."
In fact it's not just the weather that can be cruel. During Julian's last visit to Birmingham his drawing was swilled away from the pavement due to a mix up with permissions.
Julian admits that some people do see his work as graffiti, and don't feel it has a place on public streets. Happily, he says, he mostly receives a positive reaction and people like and enjoy his art.
Art for the people
"My art is for anybody, it's for people who wouldn't go into an art gallery. It's art for the people.
"Art shouldn't be locked away in galleries and libraries and books. Art should be for everybody and not just art boffins, historians and so-called experts."
How does he do it?
Julian's 'trompe l'oeil' (or 'trick of the eye') pavement art is amazing to see. The effect is so convincing people will swerve to avoid potholes he has drawn in the pavement. But just how does he get this incredible effect?
"The secret is to set up a camera on a tripod and keep it in one spot and check every mark you make. It's really just playing with perspective to make it appear different to what it really is.
See for yourself
The full effect of Julian's art is only truly appreciated when viewed through the wide angle lens on his camera. Julian invites people to have a look for themselves - visit him outside the Hippodrome Theatre and take a look!
Julian took three days to complete the drawing in Birmingham, an admirable feat considering he spent three days outside in biting winds and temperatures barely reaching 5ÂșC.
"It's very hard work but running about between the camera and the drawing keeps me warm, and I just keep aiming at my final result. I work all the daylight hours available which is about eight hours a day in winter.
"It's very physically demanding to do it. I don't actually kneel at all as it puts a huge strain on your body, I have a stool which I lie on which removes some of the physical stress."
In the last 15 years Justin has produced hundreds of pieces of 'pavement art' at venues all over Europe, but this will be the first time he's completed one on the streets of Birmingham.
The complete picture
The final piece was revealed at noon on Sunday 29th January 2006 to coincide with the Chinese New Year celebrations in the Arcadian Centre.
The picture is finished and Julian has left his mark on the streets of Birmingham. His patience and dedication to his art is inspiring, as too is his patience with his 'gallery' visitors.
I watched as Julian engaged with people who quizzed him on art, politics and life in general. The picture on the pavement drew people in, and Julian ironically, was the captive audience that listened to each and every person who came by to view his work.
So after three days in Baltic Birmingham, and the picture completed, how does he feel? "I'm relieved that I got it finished. The weather's been tough but it hasn't rained and the whole project has come to its destination