Had a couple of outsiders not missed verdicts by whisker, the script after last Friday’s racing would have been very different. The two verdict tilted the balance grossly in favours of punters, thus taking the total tally of favourites who delivered the goods to four.
The afternoon, however, will be remembered for the courageous performance of two horses —
Prince of Fashion and Arctic Fancy
— in their respective races that, incidentally, were trophy events. — The 1,800m Aztec Cup and the 1,100m Balam Cup. For The Prince, who was ridden by Imran Chisty, it was a gutsy task. The Richard Alford-trainee was assigned a topwight of 60kg and the one in the opposition to put his best foot forward was Daniel David’s lowly weighted trainee Ace Of Spades who decided win from the start. Chisty on the 6-4 favourite allowed the leader only a measured space before shooting into the lead 600m from home. Although, the Prince never kicked clear of the Ace, it was the long battle, despite huge difference in their weights, which made the race that much exciting.
Equally exciting was the victory of a lesser fancied winner Arctic Fancy. The Daniel-trained mare looked to be out of reckoning in the final stretch as the Tecorno-Chinzi daughter lost a favourable position approaching the home turn. Jockey Amyn Merchant, however, never lost his heart, instead, he utilised the short burst of the five-year-old very effectively to get the measure of the favourite Alsheim virtually at the post. With a sizeable lead build up nearing the distance-post, Alsheim, the Vijay Singh-trainee, was being hailed as a winner.
Vijay, however, had his winner in the concluding event, the Pickwick Handicap. But again, it was no easy picking for his mare Midnight Escape. The 8-10 favourite missed the kick leaving Cristopher Alford to nurse her in the rear till the final turn. The Portroe-Limo Lady mare made her winning bid late, and on the wide out in the stretch-run, to account for Daniel’s Adeline who looked to be in comfortable position till 150 metres from the winning post.
Calabash and Kainat had already served notices of their intention in their previous outings and the two favourites fulfiled commitments in their respective events and with a degree of comfort.
Earlier on Wednesday, it was a cloudy and murky afternoon that also had its share of heavy rain mid-way through the six-event card. Favourites and the lesser fancied winners, however, shared the day’s spoils. While Castle Moon, No Regrets and Primaticcio justified form in their respective events, On The Bit, Starina and Grand Lodge added spice to the proceedings as each of the three was a long priced winner.