Known to be a late starter, trainer Vijay Singh had a businesslike beginning to Day I of the winter season. More than the number of winners – a treble – that jockey Cristopher Alford helped the champion schooler score during the afternoon, what mattered was the style of their victory that promised more such triumphs.
Romantic Notes for instance, simply rubbished Assertive Dancer’s claim that the Razeen-Roccobarocco daughter was a frontline contender for the fillies’ classics. Coming out of a training setback, Assertive Dancer may have to produce a magical improvement to beat Vijay’s filly by Mischevious Music-Pheasant Heights if she is eyeing for the 1,000 Guineas.
Equally promising was the Vijay-Cristopher effort with their upcoming youngster Sea Royale who made the monsoon Fillies Stakes winner Moon Mission look ordinary in the 1,100m Leonidas Handicap.
Agreed, the Daniel David-trainee was receiving 4-kg from the winner but the fluent nature of his victory that the Alnasr Alwasheek-Sea Of Tranquility three-year-old registered outweighed any disadvantage.
The victory scored by Vijay’s Actable was no less impressive, even though the Twist And Turn-Psychedelia three-year-old beat a very mediocre opposition. But considering the heavy-impost of 60-1/2 kg on his back the four-length winning effort was praiseworthy. He may strike again.
In fact, Vijay could have led-in his five winners on the day had Actuate, in the Snow Forest Handicap, not lost about four lengths at the start and Arbello, in the Arisen Handicap, not burst a blood vessel when in a commanding lead of 4 lengths nearing the distance-post. Nevertheless, Actuate, an Elusive Pimpernel-Another Ratham four-year-old filly, made a grand effort as she extended Social Girl, the half-money favourite from Daniel’s yard, and the second favourite Abridge to the fullest thus requisitioning a photo-print to determine the winner. Social Girl won the race by a head while Actuate dead-heated with the topweight.
Arbello’s race was, however, won by a rank outsider, Castle Moon. But sources close to trainer John Stephen’s stable felt that it was Phunney Phellow who would have won the race had the starter not shown unduly hurry despite apprentice Rutherford Alford’s plea that he was not ready. As a result of this the Phellow was last to jump out thus the loss. On the last day of the monsoon season the starter had released the lever when a handler was still inside the box.
Rutherford, however, returned to the winner’s enclosure in the main event, the Delhi Race Club Cup, when quietly fancied Royal Satin landed the trophy in a very thrilling finish involving The Archer. It was The Archer who managed to establish a four-length lead from the start but the topweight found the going tough in the last 100m thus surrendering the advantage.