Wednesday, March 12, 2008

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.

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