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Announcer justified past form

In his first season, when Announcer beat Romantic Notes in the Indian Produce Stakes, the Tecorno-Karishmaís Pet son had raised hopes of a bright future ahead. More so because the latter in her illustrious career had also won the Derby among other prestigious events.

However, Announcerís scoreline was marked with failures until the Romanticís Derby. It was immediately after the Derby that the Deepak Khaitan-owned horse got into his rhythm and reeled off three smart wins.

All this happened last winter and the horse was off the track until last Wednesday when he notched up his fourth successive victory to the delight of his camp which did not do anything wrong on the day.

Khaitanís colours ó gold and red belt ó were so prominent during the afternoon that the city heavyweight owner had to shuttle between his box and the track to lead-in the four winners, albeit trained by three different trainers ó the Singh brothers Vijay and Bharath, and Darius Byramji. All his winners, though, were ridden by C. Alford.

It was Vijay who gave him the start with his baby Alashaan before Announcer made short-work of his 11 rivals to claim the 1,200m Aphroze Cup from a late finishing Pearl Dragon. Bharath wrapped it up with an easy victory on Rock Music in the concluding event. Dariusí contribution came through Khaitanís migrant from Bangalore, Acquisitive, whose bloodless victory in the 2,000m Bengal Area Cup was indicative of more such wins to follow.

Alashaan, in the 1,200m Sreepriya Cup, was up against Regal Fortune who had already benefited by a good forward run to finish a fair third in the company of Bold Raider and Calorific. Yet, the winner, a Diffident-Take A Powder son, overhauled the Daniel David-trainee, in spite of running green.

In fact, Regal Fortune, a filly, was hard-pressed to beat the weakening leader Amelina, a stable-mate of the winner, who could win soon.

Daniel, too, had his share of luck but only in the lesser events. His Reaching Out beat a big field of 11 towards the fag end of the day. The manner in which the five-year-old mare won was fluent and impressive, too. Danielís Destiny Dance, on the other hand, needed to be urged from the 1,000m post to stay in fifth. Although the Lycius-Doyella four-year-old was able to keep Farley Rordigues Rohini at bay in the 1,600m Winged Tiger Handicap, his rider Amyn Merchant appeared to be a spent force in the final stages of the race. Therefore, it did not come as a surprise when Rohini narrowed the victory margin of Destiny Dance to a shade under a length.

Rodrigues, however, was quick to re-coup losses suffered on Rohini when his recently acquired Athenia, incidentally from Khaitan, stopped a well-planned treble on Daniel. Danielís Stimulated who was equally at discomfort for Merchant to do anything better from the 600m marker. The jockey failed to get a Dastiny Dance-like response from the 5-4 favourite, despite his pushes and urgings. Athenia galloped ahead of the favourite before shooting into a handy lead 150m from the winning post.


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