England complete last rites at Lord’s
It will not be difficult to lift team morale: Sourav
‘To be successful, you need to be ruthless’
24 years on, the wake’s still high
Priya Ratnam moves ahead
TT test series planned
In The City
Calcutta Races/ Looks mattered on the day
Track trials/ Smart Ruler works well

 
 
ENGLAND COMPLETE LAST RITES AT LORD’S 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
London, July 29: 
When in his mid-teens, Ajit Agarkar was an explosive top-order batsman. But while runs in the middle were fine, smashing windowpanes in the family’s Worli residential complex wasn’t.

With the neighbours’ complaints rising by the day, father Bhalchander advised him to become a bowler instead. Yet, despite five ducks in-a-row during the Test series Down Under (1999-2000), Agarkar didn’t lose his desire to contribute with the bat.

On Monday, batting at No.8, Agarkar recorded his highest first class score — that too, at Lord’s. “I’ve achieved a dream though, obviously, I would have felt better had the result been different," Agarkar told The Telegraph while getting mobbed on the walk fromthe pavilion to the team bus.

The lost cause notwithstanding, Agarkar didn’t forget to collect one of the stumps as a souvenir. He should treasure that. After all, the runs weren’t gifted. In any case, a hundred at Lord’s has a distinct flavour.

Specifically, Agarkar (unbeaten on 28 at stumps Sunday) remained not out on 109 (237 minutes, 190 deliveries, 16x4) as India lost the first Test by 170 runs. Copybook while defending and giving the leather a whack when the width was tempting, Agarkar authored a cultured hundred.

Indeed, Agarkar knew where his off-stump was and, when the spinners were in operation, responded with truly measured footwork. In doing so, Agarkar not only surpassed his previous best, an unbeaten 106 for India A versus the Peshawar XI (1997-98), but gave Nasser Hussain much to think about despite the huge win, some 50 minutes after lunch on Day-V.

Incidentally, among those rooting for Agarkar was wife Fatima.

No.11 Ashish Nehra also had his moment, posting a career-best 19, which included a hooked six off Andrew Flintoff. Moreover, Agarkar and Nehra added a record 63 for the last wicket. The earlier best, twice, was 51.

The ifs will remain but, surely, had India not been struck by the post-tea blues on the fourth day, this Test may have seen a classic rather than a predictable finish. India, as will be remembered, ended just short of 400.

“This present Indian line-up is probably the best I’ve played against and, really, we can’t be kidding them in all four Tests. Down the line, either Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly or (V.V.S.) Laxman will get big hundreds... We’ve got to keep our feet on the ground,” observed Hussain, rightly adjudged the MoM.

Sourav, the Indian captain, accepted the game was lost in the first innings itself. “The Test went out of our hands when we replied with 221 on a flat wicket. Of course, we had conceded too many as well... The one big lesson is that we need to be consistently disciplined while bowling and, when batting, must apply ourselves better...”

Complimenting Agarkar, Sourav said: “He remains a fine example of somebody who doesn’t give up... I realise there has been talk of omitting Harbhajan Singh but, if both spinners had to play, Agarkar wouldn’t have been in the XI. A very fine hundred wouldn’t have come about.”

If anything, Sourav’s worries will increase when the second Test (Trent Bridge, from August 8) draws near. Finalising the XI will be tougher than here. Though it’s still too early to talk in definite terms, Nehra could now have to sit out if Harbhajan is to be accommodated.

India began the final day on 232 for six and, seeing Laxman and Agarkar in absolutely no discomfort, Hussain called for the second new ball as soon as due (274 for six). Laxman fell soon enough, edging while driving on the front-foot when going back would have been in order.

Laxman scored a typically classy 74 (183 minutes, 120 deliveries, 9x4) and figured in that image-salvaging 126-run partnership with Agarkar. Having been unbeaten on 43 in innings No.1, his form is heartening.

Anil Kumble and Zaheer Khan didn’t stay long, with the former becoming another of Matthew Hoggard’s victims. In a nice gesture, Hussain felt Hoggard should have been the MoM. The Yorkshireman, who is indebted to Allan Donald, finished with a match haul of seven for 120.

Zaheer’s departure brought Nehra and Agarkar together and, with the latter still in the 70s, few would have bet on enough support to reach three figures. As it emerged, Nehra didn’t prove a bunny. In fact, he was as calm as Agarkar. He wasn’t short on josh, either.

Thorpe takes another break

The gifted but mentally-not-there Graham Thorpe has taken another break. In a statement, he declared he won’t be available either for England or Surrey “in the immediate future”.

While Thorpe, whose family life is in a mess, did clarify he wasn’t quitting, it does seem this will be an extended break. He has already retired from the ODIs.

Meanwhile, Flintoff and Simon Jones, both of whom had an important role in England’s victory, have a bit of a problem. Flintoff has a “groin strain”, while Jones has a “side strain”. Both, though, should be fit for Trent Bridge.

India’s next stop, by the way, will be Worcestershire. The three-day game, at New Road, begins Thursday.

   

 
 
IT WILL NOT BE DIFFICULT TO LIFT TEAM MORALE: SOURAV 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
London, July 29: 
“We have the team to make a comeback... We’ve done so in the past and can do so in the future,” insisted captain Sourav Ganguly, not much after India’s 170-run defeat in the first Test here.

For good measure, Sourav maintained it “won’t” be difficult to lift the team’s morale, though he conceded England “outplayed” India at Lord’s. Asked whether Sachin Tendulkar’s confidence had taken a beating, after low scores in both innings, he replied: “Well, one outing can’t have that effect.”

Nasser Hussain, the England captain, felt “all credit” should go to his quicks — Matthew Hoggard, Andrew Flintoff, Craig White and debutant Simon Jones. “Getting 20 wickets on a flat wicket isn’t easy. Yet, that was done... Only, the class performers do it over and over again, not once.”

[Seventeen wickets went to the quicks, with Ashley Giles and Michael Vaughan taking two and one, respectively.]

Being the practical type, Hussain pointed out India shouldn’t be written off. “This team can keep coming back and, if one or two of their batsmen get stuck, then...” He’s not taking anything for granted.

Security issue

Meanwhile, while Sourav was of the view what happened Sunday (after Sachin got out) was an “accident” which shouldn’t again occur, Hussain thought the media had given the trespasser, Australian Alistair Dobson, too much publicity.

“We saw one idiot escorting the world’s top batsman and a legend back to the pavilion... The incident has got too much space when, instead, the media should be talking (only) about England’s fine performance,” Hussain remarked, hardly hiding his irritation.

Sourav, of course, said he had spoken to Sachin who confirmed the trespasser “meant no harm.”

Asked whether he should be prosecuted, the Indian captain answered “no.” Incidentally, the police have let off Dobson without filing charges.

   

 
 
‘TO BE SUCCESSFUL, YOU NEED TO BE RUTHLESS’ 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
London, July 29: 
Mike Gatting had his share of controversies, on and off the field, and also undertook a rebel tour of South Africa. Yet, in his time, there were few more fierce competitors. He didn’t, of course, have the Steve Waugh charisma, but remains the last England captain to have won the Ashes (1986-87).

On a radio assignment at Lord’s, Gatting (4,409 runs in 79 Tests and 2,095 runs in 92 ODIs) spoke to The Telegraph Monday morning. While he has turned all grey, he actually looks fitter now!

The following are excerpts

On what keeps him busy

I’m working for a Cambridge-based property development company and, among other things, we are looking at building indoor cricket schools across the country... That apart, I have some Media commitments.

On why he quit as Middlesex coach two years ago

As I had myself captained and played with quite a few of the lads, it’s possible they ended up hearing the same things from me over and over again. After all, what I must have said as captain would also have made sense from a coach’s perspective... I guess the players needed a fresh face and a fresh voice... Looking back, I would have been happier had Middlesex given me charge of the second XI. I would then have got the opportunity of working with youngsters.

[Gatting’s predecessor at Middlesex was John Buchanan, while one-time teammate John Emburey is his successor.]

On having worked with England’s A teams

Yes, I did go as the coach on a couple of tours and was the manager on some others...

On whether, in years to come, he could be a candidate for the England coach’s job

(Smiles) For that, I’ve first got to get back to coaching... Indeed, Graham Gooch has already taken charge at Essex and, in time, he could be the one for the job.

On cricket in these parts since he quit the international scene

It has improved... Initially, I was worried but, then, Nasser Hussain and Duncan Fletcher have turned things around. They work well together and their partnership reminds me of the time I worked with Mickey Stewart. Of course, they have been fortunate in that some quality batsmen have come through — Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan, for example. Then, Andrew Flintoff is coming of age as a bowler and we have an exciting lad in Simon Jones. The present England team does have depth and I quite like players getting the break at the right time. That’s important.

On the Hussain-Fletcher partnership

They’ve definitely sorted out a few things — discipline, for instance. The desire to do the right things, working collectively and, most important, taking pride in wearing the England cap... If I may add, Hussain and Fletcher aren’t into a new science. It’s just that whatever is drawn up is faithfully implemented. That comes with discipline, as we saw on the third morning at Lord’s.

On Hussain being compared to Mike Brearley

Look, what must be noted is that Hussain has good back-up in the form of Fletcher... The technological support to study the opposition, too, is that much more superior nowadays. Having said that, let me add Hussain isn’t afraid to try things... He goes by instinct, something Brearley himself advised me to do... And, yes, what’s very creditable is that Hussain has alternatives in place should either plan A or B fail.

On England’s problem area

Consistency... We keep having the odd day of madness and, really, the better teams don’t have such days. Therefore, we need to be consistent... Then, we do need specialist spinners, if not more Vaughans.

On England being repeatedly hit by injuries

Too much cricket is one reason but, as I see it, we need to look deeper and study the picture from where the 15 and 16-year-olds come through. Because their actions aren’t correct, they suffer stress fractures and sore shins and what not... Our bowlers will have fewer breakdowns if the issue is addressed when they are young.

On the County structure now being two-tiered

It’s an improvement and has certainly made the scenario competitive. Now, with three teams going up and three down, there’s more interest and competition throughout the season. When we had one division, most teams and players would lose motivation by the end of July, when the Championship race would be down to two or three teams. Today, it’s different.

On reverting to two overseas players in each County from next season

I have my reservations. Firstly, there already are questions being raised about the quality of some of the existing pros from overseas. It’s not like the late Seventies and early Eighties when the best from around the world would play County cricket. I mean, if there’s difficulty in getting one outstanding player from overseas, in the existing set-up, how will the Counties manage two? Then, if each team will also have EU passport holders, as distinct from overseas pros, each County could have three-four first XI players who won’t be eligible for England. That’s not a happy situation. The Counties, in my opinion, have taken a short-sighted view.

On whether he has been following Indian cricket

If we set aside this Lord’s Test, I must admit to being pleased by seeing so many youngsters in your one-day team. It’s nice to invest in youth and, clearly, the difference becomes evident on the field.

On whether there’s too much pressure on Sachin Tendulkar

The pressure can build up... He will find it easier once a few more lads take on some more responsibility... Bottomline is handling the pressure... Only, in my book, he remains the No. 1.

On what made him such a fierce competitor

(Smiles again) I loved the game and hated to lose. Then, I had immense pride in wearing the England cap... To be successful, you do need a touch of ruthlessness. You have to live with a bit of a mean streak. It isn’t a bad thing.

On the high point of his career

Besides the opportunity to captain both England and Middlesex, it has to be winning the 1986-87 Ashes in Australia as also the WSC and the Perth Challenge that same season. As for the lowest point, that’s losing the 1987 World Cup final at the Eden Gardens.

Finally, on whether he regrets that 1987 Shakoor Rana episode, in Faisalabad

Well, you don’t argue with umpires... It wasn’t the right thing to do but, having said that, I’m convinced it paved the way for neutral umpires across the world...

   

 
 
24 YEARS ON, THE WAKE’S STILL HIGH 
 
 
BY SUJIT BHAR
 
Calcutta, July 29: 
There is something rather intangible about Bula Chowdhury. Something you really can’t put your finger on.

Think of this: in 1978, as a precocious kid, she took to her first proper championship at the fifth age-group aquatic championships in Madras and stood fourth. Two decades and four years later, she is still at it, ever more strongly so. On July 20, in Greece, Bula swam the Toroneous gulf, an exhausting 26km sea crawl and finished best among women in the field and seventh overall. In all, she swam for eight hours and 11 minutes and left in her wake several top die-hard male swimmers, not to speak of the four more women.

This wasn’t her first and, well over 32 years now, she promises this is far from her last.

That is the enigma, one feels. She was a sprinter, a very good one — her national record of 1:06.19 in the 100m butterfly, set in Thiruvananthapuram in 1984 still stands! So do her India best performances of 1:05.27 (100m butterfly) and 2:19.60 (200m butterfly), both set at the Seoul Asian Games in 1986! That is when almost none of the records set by her contemporaries have sustained and when none of her contemporaries are still in the water for any level of serious splashing.

The Greek crossing was the 32nd Swimming Crossing of the Toroneous gulf, from Nikiti, Sithonia to Cassandra. This is a stretch between the middle tail of Greece and the left and is financed by the Greek government and organised by the Cultural Youth Association of Nikiti.

“It surely has been a wonderful experience,” Bula says. “You know, this passion of mine, this long distance swimming, has taken me to so many places, I find it weird sometimes. I entered the hotel in Nikiti and was told that this was the first time any Indian had even stepped into that hotel! Makes you feel good inside.”

That could be the key, the feel-good factor. That could be the motivation. It is way past time for records, as far as Bula Chowdhury is concerned. It is time now for adventure and for that deep desire in you to push horizons. She did the English Channel twice (in 1989 and in ‘99), then the Strait of Gibraltar in 2000, the Chinmoy Marathon in Zurich last year, the Tyrrhenian Sea (Italy), also last year, and now this.

This long distance achievement spate almost matches her sprint and competitive swimming prowess, yet, unlike so many Bengali bahus, refuses to sit back and look back and feel satisfied. The hunger is still there.

“Look, I cannot think about leaving the water,” she says waving her arms. “I think of the sea nowadays, even in my sleep, I feel the excruciating pain in my arms and shoulders as I near the end of each long one… You know, nearing the end I just think of finishing it, somehow, just clambering ashore and falling into a deep, deep sleep. I flay my arms and push my strokes in agony and pray ‘let this one be over.’

“Yet, every time I am finished with it, and have rested, I want to get back in again. It’s a vicious circle.”

Well, that circle started in a small pond behind her home in Hindmotor, a township near Calcutta, way back when her age was in single digits. As she flailed her arms, a local coach noticed her talent and gave her lessons in the pond and in the Hooghly river nearby. When she came over to Calcutta, she won the pool over and then dove into the international arena. The SAF Games, the Asian Games, the Asian Championships, friendship meets and more.

Probably it was the training in the Hooghly (however brief) that planted, deep in her, the desire for the long hauls. Having been a sprinter, basically it was a transition from strength to endurance: a tough deal. But along with her husband Sanjib Chakraborty, an accomplished sprinter in his own right those days, this Sahara India employee has achieved beyond maybe what even she had dreamt of.

“I was in Delhi for training,” she says with her still-childish smile, and I met those great swimmers who I competed with and often beat. And they were surprised. Oh, boy they were. ‘you are still in the waters?’ they asked, ‘you are still swimming competitively?’ Well, why not? I can’t think of anything that does not relate to swimming, I can’t think of ‘retiring’. Retiring, that’s a bad word, not for me, not as long as I can make it happen.”

So that’s the answer. Bula (and Sanjib) does not wait for it to happen to her. She goes out and makes it happen. Then she comes back and wades into memory and gets the adrenaline flowing all over again, and it is time to leave. How may countries has she been to so far? “C’mon, I can’t remember that.”

In her spare time, maybe she could open a notebook and write those names, of exotic places, of lovely places, of tough places, of memorable places, and, overall, of places that, as a child of a middle income group family in a low profile township, she may never have dared dream.

It is a story in perseverance. It is a story of sheer grit and a never-say-die attitude that one hears easterners aren’t really endowed with. “I admire the grit of Bengal’s great swimmer Mihir Sen. I am left with the Palk Strait crossing to catch up with him.” Then…

Then there will be history, all over again.

   

 
 
PRIYA RATNAM MOVES AHEAD 
 
 
FROM A CORRESPONDENT
 
Jamshedpur, July 29: 
Priya Ratnam (Saran Central School, Chhapra) with seven points shot into the lead on Monday after the seventh round of the The Telegraph Schools’ Chess Championship, Jamshedpur.

Priya is followed by Akash Kusum (MNPS) and Arin Kumar Biswas (SE Rly MH, Chakradharpur) with 6.5 points each in the meet co-sponsored by Horlicks.

Top seed Ratnam played the Spanish Opening from black and got comfortable equality in the opening against Ved Prakash (Rajkiya Madhya Vidyalaya, Patna), the giant killer till morning.

In the drawish endgame of rook, knight and three pawns against opponents rook, knight and four pawn, Prakash should have attacked the extra pawn from behind. Instead, he went other way and allowed Ratnam to defend the extra pawn. After that, the top seed gave no chance to Prakash and realised his material advantage to a full point in 63 moves.

In her sixth round encounter Ratnam beat Minki Sinha (Arya Kanya High School, Patna) in a game where both were short of time.

On the third table the game between C Vijay Gopal

(DBMS) and Arin Kumar Biswas was a one sided affair in favour of Biswas, who opted for the Leningrad System of the Dutch Defence and gobbled a rook in tactical skirmish and scored full point in 38 moves.

Third seed Shalini Srivastava (Carmel Junior College) employed the Sicilian Defence playing black against R Sharda (DBMS) and with ease and took her tally to 6 points.

Vikash Kumar Tiwary (Church School) continued his poor show to lose against Ankit Kumar Singh (DAV, RIT, Adityapur) in 49 moves.

   

 
 
TT TEST SERIES PLANNED 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, July 29: 
Bengal, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu table tennis associations have decided that the three state teams will play ‘Test’ series amongst themselves.

The first of the series will be played in Maharashtra, with the three states first playing in Nasik and then in Pune, between August 5 to 11. The BTTA said the third and fourth legs of the series will be played in venues in Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The series will carry a prize money of Rs 25,000.

SQUADS — Boys: Soumyajit Sarkar, Niloy Basak, Subhadeep Das, Chiranjeeb Chowdhury, Avishek Mukherjee, Abhijit Ray. Girls: Sayantika Kundu, Anushree Saha, Sukanya Bose, Moonmoon Basak, Soumi Mondal, Ria Das Gupta. Sub-jr boys: Sayan Pal Roy, Soumya Nandi, Anirban Roy Chowdhury, Subham Kundu, Sudipta Ghosh, Kankojit Mondal. Sub-jr girls: Sabeera Parveen, Soumi Mondal, Pallabi Kundu, Sweta Modak, Sukanya Bose, Salankora Mahalanobish.

However, Sudipto Bose, Salankara Mahalanobis, Sukanya Bose and Sayan Pal Roy of Siliguri Table Tennis Academy will not be allowed to take part in the camp as per instructions of Siliguri District TT Association.

   

 
 
IN THE CITY 
 
 
 
July 29: 

Ashok Malhotra to return to local cricket

Ashok Malhotra, the outgoing national selector from Bengal, is all set to make his comeback to competitive local cricket.

Malhotra, who last played competitive cricket four seasons back, said: “I know it will be tough, but I have started working on my fitness and am confident of making it.” Though there are rumours doing the rounds, that Malhotra may play for Mohun Bagan, the former Bengal captain is not too keen to play there. “It is a champion team by itself and my presence won’t make too much of a difference to such a big team,” Malhotra said.

“I aim to be playing with a smaller team which is competitive enough. I have got offers from a few clubs. But I’ll make the final decision in a month’s time,” Malhotra said.

Meanwhile, Pranob Roy is likely to be the chairman of selectors of Bengal following the completion of Malhotra’s term.

Dalmiya keeps CAB presidency

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya swept the CAB presidential polls after the Annual General Meeting of the state association Monday. While Dalmiya got 114 votes, former CAB secretary Debdas Banerjee, managed only five. One vote was cancelled.

Meanwhile, Bablu Kolay and Sudhir Chakraborty will continue as the joint-secretaries for the second term. While Kolay got 113 votes and Chakraborty 80, rival candidate Samar Pal managed 40.

Police player marched out

Sandip Sil of Police AC was sent off in a first division group A of the IFA League match against BNR Monday by referee Kashinath Sen. The match ended 1-1, with Biswajit Dey scoring for Police and Koushik Dey for BNR. In another match, Milan Bithee beat Customs 1-0, Sk. Aksar Ali scoring.

Kidderpore and Rajasthan were locked goalless in the third group A match.

Meanwhile, N. Mondal scored a brace to ensure a 2-1 victory for Aikya Sammelani against Garalgacha. P. Bag scored for the losers. In the other two matches, Behala Youth beat Anushilani 2-1 while the match between United Students and Calcutta Police ended 1-1.

Nabi’s hattrick in IFA XI loss

Mohammedan Sporting striker Rahim Nabi scored a hat-trick for IFA XI in their match against Manning Rangers in Durban Sunday. But that was not enough as the Calcutta side went down fighting 3-5. According to information received here, IFA XI trailed 0-3 in the first session. The team returns Wednesday.

Bhutia signing

Bhaichung Bhutia can only sign for Mohun Bagan on August 14 after he has got his transfer papers in order. Bagan secretary Anjan Mitra informed that the striker has asked for the international transfer certificate to be issued so that he can play for Mohun Bagan club. Meanwhile, the Bagan authorities are not happy with the decision of Indian coach Stephen Constantine not to release the players. They will take up the matter with the AIFF on July 31.

Don Bosco win

Don Bosco won the under-19 category of the inter-school zonal squash championships being held at the Calcutta Racket Club from July 18 to 21.

They beat La Martiniere in the finals. Meanwhile, La Martiniere emerged champions both in the under-17 and 15 categories beating St James’ School and Don Bosco School, respectively.

Santipur lose

Narayanpukur United Club beat hosts Santipur Sporting Union 4-3 in the tie-breaker of the semi-final of the SP Roy Memorial tournament.

Motherhat Athletic Club South 24 Parganas moved into the semi-finals beating Purulia Town Club 3-0 while Chandannagore Central Club downed Beharampore Town Club 4-3 in the tie-breaker.

   

 
 
CALCUTTA RACES/ LOOKS MATTERED ON THE DAY 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
July 29: 
More than the arithmetic of handicapping or form, the criterion for spotting winners in last Wednesday’s six-event race card was good looks. Four horses, on their admirable appearance, stood head and shoulders above their respective rivals during the routine parade before each event.

The likes of Prince of Fashions, Wandering Warriors, Allayings and Softwares were all armoured with killing looks that invited self-recommendation. And each of the four lived up to the promise though Wandering Warrior must thank the visiting jockey Imran Chisty for turning a sure defeat into a courageous winning effort.

It was an impressive jockeyship and only the likes of Chistys could have done it. Outmanoeuvred upfront, by Md Amil on Grand Lodge in the stretch run, Chisty making a chase, decided to persevere with the quietly fancied 6-1 shot from trainer T. N. Jaiswal’s yard and his efforts paid off virtually in the last stride.

If Warrior was tested to the fullest, the three others simply charmed their way to the winners’ enclosure without raising much of sweat. But, surprisingly, Prince of Fashion remained neglected in the betting while Alamito kept the cash registered ticking for bookmakers in the 1,800m Douetil Memorial Cup. Yes, the half-money favourites was supported by his winter form but not by the weight that stretched against the Bharath Singh-trainee by about 10-kg compared to the Mumbai-migrant who had failed to impress in his only start four months ago.

Nevertheless, the Prince was not hustled up as Alkido unwinded out in front until the halfway of the journey. Taking over thereafter, it was easy going for the Richard Alford-trainee and his jockey Chisty.

Allaying inflicted humiliating assault on her six rivals in the 1,400m Pa Bear Cup, the feature event. Contrary to her known style of finishing run, the Excalibur’s Lake-Amalita mare shot in to the lead from the start and the Bharath Singh trained five-year-old went further and further away from the field. Partnering the even-money favourite, Cristopher Alford had to apply brakes much before the winning post to restrict her margin of victory to shade under five lengths. Although sparingly raced, Allaying seems to be enjoying the monsoon turf and could be followed to profit when she runs again.

The top weight was hardly a stopper for the John Stephens-trained Software. Faiz Ali Khan riding the Gold Discovery-Great Beauty mare was a picture of confidence as he took the 5-4 favourite to the front from the start.

Allowing Amyn Merchant on Lively Project to come as close as to the favourites tail, Khan literally toyed with the hard-ridden second favourite.

The going was equally easy for the Stephens-Khan duo on On The Bit in the Wheels Handicap. The Gaswar-Ballymena mare shot out of the pack like a scalded cat and the 5-2 favourite looked a winner long way from home.

Neglected in the betting in view of veteran Nicky Bird doing duty on him, Black Mane exhibited his better class as the Deepak Karki-ward made light of his top-weight in the Kingcraft Handicap. Tactics adopted by Bird on the 10-1 outsider clearly took riders of the favourite Darth Vader and the second fancy Kyalami by surprise.

   

 
 
TRACK TRIALS/ SMART RULER WORKS WELL 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, July 29: 
Smart Ruler was impressive from among the following horses seen working today morning:

Outer sand track

800m: Smart Ruler (Asghar) and Amber Dancer (Yasin) in 58s; (400m) 38s. They were level.

400m: Prince of Fashion (Rutherford) in 31s.

Sand track

600m: Ace of Spades (Yasin) in 49s. (400m) 30s.Brave Venture (Asghar) in 44s; (400m) 25s. Fit.

400m: Simply Monarch 39s.Moon Mission (Rb) in 31s. Impressive Prince (Asghar) in 30s. Regency Times (Gurang) in 31s. Fit.

   
 

FRONT PAGE / NATIONAL / EDITORIAL / BUSINESS / THE EAST / SPORTS
ABOUT US /FEEDBACK / ARCHIVE 
 
Maintained by Web Development Company