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‘Strength’ may outsprint all in star event

Calcutta: It is festive time again at the RCTC raceground on New Year’s Day. An eight event card, that includes sponsored events like the Eveready Alkaline Sprinters’ Trophy and the Eveready Indian Produce Stakes, also has a touch of royalty, thanks to His Majesty the king of Nepal who has donated the Nepal Gold Cup, an annual feature on January 1. All three events, however, bear a very open outlook.

The sprint event may see clash of titans — Bold Chieftan and Strengthtostrength — the two very high handicapped horses in the country’s turf circuit. However, both are past their prime, though until last winter they reigned supreme.

However, the fact that Strengthtostrength has, in his two mock-trials here, been showing glimpse of his form that helped the eight-year-old claim a rare double of wins — the Sprinters’ Cup and the Super Mile — during the Invitational weekend last March, the Farajullah-Powerglide from John Stephens’ yard may just about beat Bold Chieftan to annex the sprinters’ crown in the hands of Robert Gowli.

Andropov in the Produce Stakes faces no serious threat from the rival quarters. It is his vastly improved stable-mate, Thrilling Proposal, who may pose problem to the Vijay Singh-trainee who moved luxuriously in the last furlong to score a runaway victory. The Proposal had placed third, albeit far behind in the race.

Hello Brother, who had outclassed Andreyev in Mysore, may do so again if the six-year-old manages to produce a repeat performance in the Nepal Gold Cup. Although it was only about 10 days ago that the Young Senor-One Up son ran, that run is best ignored as he needed the lung opener. Chowksey Ruzaan partners the Farley Rodrigues-trained gelding.

Royal Command shapes as a good bet in the Winged Tiger Handicap for three-year-old and over in Class V to be run over a 1,100m scurry. The Excalibur’s Lake-Bruno Conti son has attained fitness after running forward races against stiff opposition.

Read as Horse nos, last four runs, horse name, trainer, jockey, weight & draw:

1. Robert Bruce Handicap 1,600m (Cl lII;Cl IV; Rt 22-72) 12 noon

1       3331       Alborada [Daniel] Gallagher       60.0       2

2       4102       Flamebird [Bharath] R. Marshall       60.0       1

3       0120       Midas Touch [Bhungard] B. Gurang       59.5       3

4       1212       Kainat [Javed] M. Reuben       57.0       6

5       - - 11       Arrayal [Bharath] C. Alford       54.0       5

6       4044       Rheinheart [Bath] C. Ruzaan       51.5       4

1. ARRAYAL (5) 2. KAINAT (4) 3. FLAMEBIRD (2)

Arrayal: Promoted upon his easy win. May do the trick again. Kainat: May trouble all if he maintains a straight course. Flamebird: Top weight may prove a stopper.

2. Whiplash Handicap 1,600m (Cl IV,Cl V; Rt. 00-50) 12-35 pm Indian jockeys only

1       3004       Knoxville [R. Alford] S. Domingo       60.0       1

2       - - 22       Annotate [Bharath] C. Alford       57.0       7

3       3100       Finders Keepers [Jaiswal] E. Smith       57.0       4

4       0000       Courtesan [R. Alford] Rutherford       56.5       2

5       4001       Capistrano [Rodrigues] C. Ruzaan       55.0       6

6       0404       Flying Scot [Bath] G. Singh       54.5       3

7       0040       Schumacher [Daniel] Md Amil        52.5       8

8       4403       She’s A Star [Jaiswal] I. Chisty       51.0       5

1. Annotate (2) 2. Capistrano (5) 3. knoxville (1)

Annotate: Looking much improved. May take some beating. Capistrano: The quick run may work against her interest. Knoxville: Working very well. May place.

3. Nepal Gold Cup 2,200m (Cl I; Cl II; Rt. 66-94 ) 1-05 pm Indian jockeys only

1       2330       Anolini [Vijay] Shanker       60.0       2

2       0430       Hello Brother [Rodrigues] C. Ruzaan       57.5       3

3       - 041       Among Men [Javed] R. Gowli       56.0       4

4       - 312       Andreyev [Vijay] C. Alford       55.0       1

1. hello brother (2) 2. Andreyev (4) 3. anolini (1)

Hello Brother: Had outclassed Andreyev in Mysore. May hold him again at the busy end despite his poor looks. Andreyev: Troubled six in-a-row winner Smart Ruler over a mile. Known to relish staying trips. Anolini: May place.

4. Eveready Alkaline Sprinters’ Trophy 1,200m (Terms, 4-y-o & over) 1.45 pm

1       - 110       Alcalde [Bharath] C. Alford       57.0       4

2       1440       Bold Chieftan [Daniel] Gallagher       57.0       3

3       0012       Comedy Of Errors [R. Alford] I. Chisty       57.0       5

4       1121       Immaculate [Daniel] C. Ruzaan       57.0       6

5       1000       Royal Satin [R. Alford] Rutherford       57.0       1

6       - - 00       Strengthtostrength [Stephens]R. Gowli       57.0       2

1. strengthtostrength (6) 2. bold chieftan (2) 3. royal satin (5)

Strengthtostrength: Ignore his Pune form. Has attained fitness through his two mock trials. Bold Chieftan: Went easy in Calorescence’s race. May offer stiff resistance to the best in the field. Royal Satin: May place.

5. Winged Tiger Handicap 1,100m (Cl V, Rt 00-28) 2.20 pm Indian jockeys only

1       4140       Anacott [Vijay] Surender S.       61.0       8

2       0413       Arian [R. Alford] Rutherford       59.5       11

3       0400       Royal Command [Daniel] C. Ruzaan       59.5       5

4       4002       Adams Dream [Karki] M. Reuben       58.5       9

5       2303       Heaven’s Blessing [Bath] G. Singh       58.0       4

6       - - 00       Bold Apparel [Bhungard] Md Yacoob       56.0       7

7       0031       Gryffindor [Bharath] S. Rabani       56.0       3

8       1000       Mahika’s Pet [Mujeeb] Haroon K.       55.5       2

9       0043       Idolize [Vijay] Shanker       54.5       1

10       0000       Sweet Revenge [R. Alford] Tamang       54.5       10

11       2004       Super Twist [Bharath] Md Islam       53.0       6

1. ROYAL COMMAND (3) 2. ARIAN (2) 3. SUPER TWIST (11)

Royal Command: Has fooled around in his last two runs. Looking fit to strike. Arian: Met with an interference and lost his last start. Super Twist: May place.

6. Eveready Indian Produce Stakes 1,200m Terms, 3-y-o only) 2.55 pm

1       - - - 1       Loveisblind [Bharath] R. Marshall       57.0       6

2       - - - 1       Andropov [Vijay] C. Alford       56.5       1

3       - - - 0       Autumn Fantasy [Daniel] C. Ruzaan       53.0       7

4       - 242       Destiny’s Trick [R. Alford] Rutherford       53.0       5

5       - - - 3       Great Ambition [Daniel] Gallagher       53.0       4

6       - - - 0       Gypsy King [Bharath] I. Chisty       53.0       2

7       - - - 3       Thrilling Proposal [Vijay] Shanker       53.0       3

1. Andropov (2) 2. thrilling proposal (7) 3. great ambition (5)

Andropov: Came with a good run from far away to win a scurry. May relish the additional 100 metres. Thrilling Proposal: Vastly improved since his third behind Andropov. May take the field by a surprise. Great Ambition: May place.

7. Phoenecian Handicap 1,200m (Cl III; Rt. 44-72) 3.30 pm

1       0014       Excellent Striker [Daniel] B. Gurang       60.5       1

2       1200       Secret Adversary [Daniel] Upadhya       58.5       8

3       0000       Sky Command [Mujeeb] Md Islam       58.0       11

4       - - - 0       Aherlow [Vijay] Shanker       57.5       2

5       0000       Kargil Soldier [Stephens] P. Alford       57.5       9

6       3403       Lively Project [Daniel] Gallagher       56.0       7

7       1000       Sergeant Slipper [Bhungard] R. Ahmed       55.0       6

8       - 100       Software [Stephens] Brij S.       52.5       4

9       0000       Reine Beau [Bhungard] S. Salam       52.0       5

10       0200       Abridge [Bharath] S. Rabani       50.5       10

11       - - -0       Venus [Javed] Som S..       48.0       3

1. venus (11) 2. sky command (3) 3. excellent striker (1)

Venus: Caught the eye in her last start. Its about the time she struck. Sky Command: Best in class. Looking fit, too. Excellent Striker: May upset.

8. Azhar Cup 1,400m (Cl II, Rt. 66-94) 4.05 pm

1       0000       Ballet Master [Bhungard] A. P. Singh       60.0       6

2       4324       Lockers Park [Bharath] R. Marshall       59.5       5

3       - 440       Secret Blessing’s [Daniel] Upadhya       58.0       4

4       1202       Calamint [Vijay] C. Alford       57.5       9

5       - 102       Sanctified Star [Bhungard] Gallagher       55.0       7

6       0000       Arctic Fancy [Daniel] S. Salam       53.0       8

7       - - - 2       Arzillo [Vijay] Shanker       51.5       3

8       4443       Illustrious Reign [Jaiswal] Som S.       51.0       1

9       0431       Cool Quest [R. Alford] I. Chisty       48.0       2

1. calamint (4) 2. sanctified star (5) 3. arzillo (7)

Calamint: Lost to Arcaro, a good horse. May win now. Sanctified Star: May pose problem to all if he does not burst a blood vessel. Arzillo: Looking fit. May upset.

Day’s Best: Royal Command Double: Annotate & Andropov


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