Ardelis was simply brilliant while winning the third race of his career ' the Calcutta Million over 1,600m on Saturday. The Razeen-Kolar Gold son had won his previous encounters with as much ease and his scintillating performance in the Million may see Vijay Singhís prized possession start as a favourite in the Japan Cup during the Bangalore Invitation Cup weekend, early next month.
C. Alford had expected the 16-100 hot-favourite to provide him an armchair-ride and the Deepak Khaitan-property did not disappoint the jockey who had Ardelis settled behind a runaway Imperial Stride till nearing the 600m marker before shooting into the lead for a distance victory. In fact, verdicts in his previous wins also matched the one recorded in the Million.
The Vijay-Alford combo ruled the afternoon, winning all the mile races on the eight-event card. Starting off with a measured victory of Clockwork over Star memories in the Manasseh Memorial Cup, the duo went on claim the Governorís Cup and the Crystal Man Handicap.
Alekseiís decisive victory over the hot-favourite, Star Phoenix in the Governorís Cup, must have brought much joy to the Vijay-camp as the Razeen-Remembren son was on a repair-list following his burst blood vessels early in the season. More importantly, Aleksei was conceding all round weight in the highest Class and the Phoenix enjoyed a big pull of 5.5kg at the handicap.
Silver Grey was hardly impressive while winning a Class IV-mile about a fortnight ago. The Steinbeck-Silver City daughter silenced her criticswith a fluent victory in the higher Class, and it was a mile race again. The filly had started her career late ' nearly after an year. She is bound to make her presence felt even in the higher class.
Earlier on Wednesday, Jockey Imran Chisty scored a quadruple of wins after a five-win haul in the previous meeting. His innings began with the victory of a half-money favourite, Roofer, which was a mere formality in the Holiday Date Handicap. The Errol Bhungard-ward had been concealing his form. His last run, however, revealed it all when he covered nearly 100m from the rear to place a good third. Poetic Moment, an even-money favourite in the Little Lady Handicap-mile, dictated his own pace up-front to help Chisty notch-up his next win.
For Chisty, it was no easy task to steer Notable Guest and Tomahawk to victory in their respective events. But his strategy of varying pace upfront paid off in each case.
In the 1,400m Pussy Galore Handicap, Bathís Malkin, a 4-1 shot, lorded it over the even-money favourite Astra Fields, a Chisty-ride who was made to chase Vancouver, in the beginning and then the Harvinder Singh Bath-winner from the near halfway mark.
In the Aspirant Handicap, Bathís Going Starry downed Karkiís hotly fancied Moira. The winner, ridden by apprentice M.Mark, lost some ground at the start but was quickly brought close to the field. The Apprentice made his task more difficult by electing to make his run close to the rails where he found himself locked for galloping room. Switching the course in the last furlong, the Mazilier-Musanda filly scored a decisive victory. The four-year-old had made her debut run early in the season.
Chistyís Regal Empress could not have beaten Kandinsky in the Stringfellows Cup. The winner established his customary five-length lead from the start and was seen going great guns right from the halfway mark. More importantly, he never looked to be tiring. It was Kandinskyís fourth win from five starts and trainer Javed Khan deserves a pat on his back for transforming a mediocre Western India-migrant into a money-spinner.