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Saturday, June 30, 2001

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The Proletarian justifies confidence


BANGALORE

IMTIAZ SAIT'S exacta - The Proletarian-Anagram - in the well regarded Justice Cup which is taken as an ideal pointer for the Maharaja's Cup featured this week's racing that swung between the bizarre and the brilliant.

There is a touch of brilliance in the way The Proletarian is shaping up. Trainer Imtiaz Sait was pleased with what he saw and Delhi- based Rajinder more than happy with what his mount did. But collectively they do see the oddity of the Maharaja's Cup, all of 2,200 metres, as perhaps the stiffest challenge for the son of Conquering Hero. The Proletarian had an old Malakpet score to settle with Appeaser. That posed little problems, given the distinct advantage the terms of the race offered to The Proletarian who carried with ease that unwavering support.

The hallmark of a good horse is in its ability to quicken when pressed for an effort. The Proletarian was so willing and keen when Rajinder asked the four-year old gelding to get past the early leader Altimara. Anagram went in serious pursuit only to find the task getting harder. It is interesting to see whether Anagram could turn the tables on The Proletarian over a longer course. Anagram's half sister Al Dente ran a suggestive race and this mare has it in her to cause a flutter or two if only her mood serves her right.

Appeaser was fast-closing in fourth. Reason enough for Shroff to feel that the gelding could be a different customer next time. If the Twist and Turn-Anelita gelding is asked to go much farther than Sunday's nine furlongs, the better says Shroff. Appeaser ``blew'' in the end but in doing so might be broadly hinting as to the crucial importance of this run.

Luminaries of the State Judiciary graced the Sunday meeting. For juveniles breaking-in the outside world looks so different. So demanding. In some cases even cruel. Feel of the track and race simulations are two vital elements. When one runner with a fairly decent seasonal initiation comes up against a sturdy bloodliner without the competitive touch of the track, the one who has the smell of the gate and is relatively familiar with the ground carries the day. The theory worked to a nicety in the case of Elegant Monarch. For a first timer who is slightly gross being drawn the widest is no good news. Yet Claudius overcame these logistical demands to put up a brave front and end up as an honourable runner-up. Since progenies of Don't Forget Me have frequently shown their penchant for speed the complete absence of it from Star Dot Star was quite baffling.

Skeena happened to be a quiet fancy. The people who proferred were those who heard it ``right'' from the right source!. But in a way Skeena was a jot lucky in the sense that Warren Singh on Daiimio was forced to a rather unusual routine of counting each one of his whip cracks and Daiimio is one hell of a sluggish type! So obsessed was he with the count that he ended up with nine lashes - one more than Mrs. Maneka Gandhi's new dictat of not-more than eight. Of course he escaped a fine. He was sure with a few more he would have pulled off the job but the fear of those compounding punishments got the better of him.! If you are looking for a touch of hilarity in this piece, it came after the race. When Warren Singh made known his predicament, pat came an official's voice ``if you thought you had a chance of winning. You should have gone for those three four extra cracks! The jockey didn't quite know where to look. The much favoured Predominate led all the way before being sorted out midway up the straight. Treat is decidedly capable of a better show.

Amazon Gold was thrown in at a prohibitive price solely on the strength of the opposition rather than her own. Victory for the Darashah trainee was never in doubt. The bandaged Super Green led on sufferance and Danzor was a pleasing finisher, though well away from the winner.

Quite often the market doesn't think and act the way the pundits do and vice-versa. This is one of racing's many unexplained phenoms. Take the case of Sher Khan for instance. The gelding was up against seasoned company and form clerks were quite vehement that the assignment was indeed tough for Sher Khan. Not so believed the market which put so much of faith on Gallagher's mount and predictably lost!. Not many knew that Gullane was on the mend. The Tiajuana colt was struck by a form of mouth ulcers. Understandably Darashah had a problem putting the bit in place. That remedied, Gullane was so spunky. The win was by no means easy. The in-form Augill Castle threw everything into the finish in the strong hands of Srinath but Appu had it well covered. Trivia got the clear from the pack quite late but rallied well to figure third ahead of Step In Time who faded out of money in the final stages. Annodomini was not far from the place getters. Tragedy struck Celestial Gold in the back stretch when the colt came tumbling down.

Harish's start-to-finish mantra apparently had a magical impact. The well established speed factor in Tecorno breeds was so evident in Magic Mantra's flawless win that brought a welcome winner to the Byramji fold. Majestic Emperor was not particularly well away but was brushed up. The Definite Article gelding for a longwhile looked Magic Mantra's nearest threat. Flaming Tower took his own time to warm up and was slightly cramped for room as well. But by the time Srinath saw a clearer road, Magic Mantra was uncatchable. Big And Blonde was forced to travel wide and with it vanished her realistic chance of making a race of it. Carnival Craze attracted a lot of attention. The four-year old was clearly stomped by the sheer speed of the younger lot.

Mohican Chief set his own terms to beat his nearest rival Anaheim fairly comprehensively in a race where the blue blood of Star Pride was of no consequence. Something seems to be bugging Star Pride and if left undetected for long may come in the way of the filly performing to the levels her pedigree cries out for. The formless Attlee showing up in place tends to suggest that not many behind the grey appreciated an honest try.

Mr. Vijay Mallya made it just in time to see the runners for the night cap make their way to the starting gate. It is with some pride and purpose he focussed his attention on one of his Kunigal breds Si Senora who like many Tejano breeds is a late July foal. She has duly picked up the dry coatedness of a Tejano as well. ``She is just three and only now is she beginning to sweat a bit''. Pesi Shroff were to say after the race which saw Si Senora make a gallant debut. Out of a well performed dam line, Si Senora should improve with time. Royal Sovereign ran a suggestive race in that the Broto gelding should soon shed the maiden status. Stamford was so pathetic towards the end that it was as if the effort of making the running seemingly weighed heavily on his legs.

Allabreva!. Not many were brave enough to pick the grey for a strike. No. Not in this bunch, they were prone to say. The innumerable shake of heads on Saturday could have been out of sheer awe. It could have been disbelief or it could have been the traumatic experience of an Allabreva jangling the nerves yet again!. Hasn't Allabreva done it before? Whichever way you look at it Allabreva's victory in the Civil Service Cup would have given a host of distinguished Civil Servants present the first taste of form cruelties racing is so famous for. Allabreva was reportedly lame the last time he was pitched in. Trainer Kuts sought a request promotion. More out of helplessness than any degree of confidence or even courage. As he admitted, the trainer hadn't bargained for such a spectacular swamp. Allabreva's initial speed is well known but what was a learning experience for those who followed the grey home was his ability to sustain it to the last!

Even the most experienced jockeys are taken for a ride in assesments of pace. Remember what a Krishnan did to four of the top guns in the game on friendless Native Chieftan? This time it was a sprint all right. But all the same, jockeys of the fancied runners were perhaps expecting Allabreva to come back at them. Instead Shobhan Babu and Allabreva kept going farther and farther. Sensational News picked up momentum inside the final furlong, a thing that neither Alylady nor Financer could do. A section solidly supported Bountiful Gesture only to find C. Alford struggling to keep his mount going.

When Argolis heard hoof beats around him his first reaction was to say enough is enough and in doing so Gallagher found him fighting shy. Shroff saw the danger soon enough and dived in on Astor Place only to be nailed close home by Spirited Effort who enjoyed that benefit of a run having raced well enough in the Knock Out Million. Astor Place was clearly feeling that want of a run. Shroff thinks Astor Place needs lot more time to furnish. While B. Prakash's popularity got another boost with his persevering ride on Spirited Effort, of some concern was the announcement which followed that he had reported sick. Prakash reportedly was running high temperature and needless to say he had to forego all his rides.

Michael Eshwer shifted base to Mumbai last year. On Saturday, he was set for his Bangalore high as two of his wards brought cheer to his camp - Midnight Star, an unconsidered proposition and Taipan, a popular winner.

Midnight Star was never headed. The stamina element tellingly came to the fore when Iflookscouldkill steadily bridged the gap and came to within a neck. Amazing View was a big disappointment.

Dusty Street was touted as a good thing and looked one until Srinath found to his chagrin the big-made not quite strong enough to tackle Beautiful Bird. A host of others swooped in to make life miserable for Dusty Street. Goebbels' finishing effort was noteworthy. Abhimanyu is ready to strike.

Trainer Padmanabhan was credited with having said that if Allocate could not win here, he doubted whether his ward would at all!. How true it turned out to be. Allocate had his work cut out, more so when Soul of Gold was snapping at him from close quarters. Mallesh Narredu managed to keep Allocate going. Anzac appeared to run himself out of fuel. What made matters even worse for Anzac was Scenic hampering him a bit.

Taipan pulled off a resolute win over Campanero which in practical terms was a battle of wits between Gallagher and Shroff. Campanero chose to twig a path on the inside of Taipan and that became a point of contention between the two jockeys when Shroff took the matter to the Stewards Room. The head-on replay showed no remarkable shift on the part of Taipan.Belief covered swift ground in the hands of Jagdish Shukla to stub out Royal Caribbean who strayed out a straight course barely a furlong from home.

The one who threw the early scare was Eyes of Truth. Crystal Delight came up with a good stretch run but it is hard to dismiss this impression that the rider had taken things rather lightly in the first half of the race.

H. S. MANJUNATH

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