Intensity should come with India cap: Sourav
Palmeiras to play 3-5-2
Abhishek emerges the sole leader
Lone-goal win for Barisha SC
South stars for Monsoon Rally
Agarkar moves ahead in race
Pune Racing/ Rambus may spring a surprise
Pune Racing/ Zephyr Bay triumphs
Calcutta Racing/ Track trials
Race Review/ Close finishes were order of the day

Calcutta, Sept. 22: 
Sourav Ganguly’s toughest assignment as captain is hours away: The tri-series and three Tests in South Africa.

Sourav, of course, is game for the challenge, though terribly disappointed he won’t have the full side for the tri-series. His thoughts came through during a one-on-one with The Telegraph yesterday, his last day at home for quite some time.

Following are excerpts

Q Thanks to injuries, the team originally picked for the tri-series, isn’t the one which will board the flight to Johannesburg, early Monday. Have the many pull-outs upset you?

A Injuries are neither good for a player, nor any team. I’m not upset, but I’m certainly disappointed. After all, the chance to lead a full-strength team has gone… If there’s a silver lining, it’s that all are expected to be available for the Test series. Indeed, the Test cricket segment is the most important part of any tour.

Q At full strength, just how competitive will India be?

A Very much so, even though South Africa is a nicely balanced side with an attack which has teeth… Barring a few bad sessions in one or two Tests and an overall disappointing show in another couple of games, we’ve been very competitive in the past 10-12 months. A success percentage of around 60 (in Tests) isn’t bad but, yes, our failure to win in Harare still hurts. Victory there and we would have won our first series outside the sub-continent in 15 years…

Q Harare was in June. A few weeks ago, we let go an excellent opportunity in Colombo (at the SSC), too…

A We did, but it didn’t help that Zaheer pulled a stomach muscle very early and couldn’t do a Kandy…

Q Do you agree with coach John Wright that we lacked intensity in that decider?

A I wouldn’t disagree… We batted well only till lunch on the first day and, then, played poorly in all departments… Cricket, today, is a mind-game and there must be something wrong if, for instance, newcomers have a problem with intensity and motivation.

Q As captain, what can you do to avoid a repeat?

A The captain and coach can only guide, but the players must themselves get their act right. If you ask me, the India cap alone should guarantee intensity of the fiercest kind.

Q Playing at home will only add to South Africa’s strength…

A The home-advantage factor will be there, but our team has batsmen with hundreds overseas and bowlers who have returned handsome hauls, again overseas. We drew the series in Zimbabwe and lost 1-2 in Sri Lanka, but both series still produced some pluses. So, if anything, I’m confident.

Q The Allan Donald-factor is there, too, isn’t it?

A He isn’t as pacy and, clearly, none of our batsmen should be overawed… Out in the middle, reputations shouldn’t be allowed to dominate. My own view is that one is only as good as his last game… Donald has been a great fast bowler, but he has done well against all countries not just India.

Q But we aren’t comfortable against the short-pitched stuff…

A No, no, no… I don’t agree. Rahul and Sachin are good pullers. So is Laxman, who will be there for the Tests… I’m not a good puller but, in Test cricket, I don’t think I’ve been troubled by the short ball… In India, intriguingly, fending doesn’t get any marks. But, as long as you don’t get out, what’s wrong? Just look at the Waughs: Steve isn’t the best player of fast bowling and Mark gets hit so often…

Q Essentially, what will we have to do?

A Be disciplined, both while batting and bowling. The South Africans are an extremely disciplined unit and we’ll have to match them… In the Test series, specifically, a big role awaits our openers. The pressure will be more on them and, hopefully, they won’t disappoint.

Q What did your first tour of South Africa (1996-97) teach you?

A I had only played five Tests before that trip and, therefore, was still somewhat of a newcomer… I did get over 200 runs in the three Tests, and some in the ODIs, but should have done better. Exposure to the wickets there was part of my education. This time, I’m obviously more mature and experienced. Moreover, I have a much better idea of what to expect.

Q That 1996-97 team has six survivors (Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Jawagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and the captain himself). What, then, will you be telling the many first-timers?

A Actually, it’s great that we’ll be in South Africa a good 10 days before our first competitive match (October 3)… Not just the first-timers, everybody will get an extended opportunity to acclimatise… I’ll be asking the batsmen specially to be positive with a capital P. Also, they should stick to their game and not try to change simply because it’s a tour of South Africa. Any mid-tour adjustment is inviting trouble.

Q Quite a few cricketers prefer finishing off the ODIs before getting into the Tests. What are your views?

A Suits me.

Q What’s been your own mental preparation like?

A Difficult to describe, but I’ve tried to keep myself fresh in the mind. We’ve only just finished a series (in Lanka) and, so, it’s been important to stay fresh… The South Africans do have a couple of new faces, but the nucleus isn’t terribly different from the time we last played them… I have more than a fair idea of what I’ll be up against.

Q Have you, for instance, been training with wet tennis balls?

A Have always done so, before every tour.

Q There was a report you will be using lighter bats…

A (Laughs) That’s news to me.

Q You’ve already dismissed a suggestion that, as captain, you’ve come through a crisis-period. Still, will your approach to the job be any different?

A As I told you the other day, I’ll continue to be guided by my instincts and remain positive. Of course, John’s presence has been of help… It’s a partnership committed to help India become consistently competitive.

Q Will you be back to writing ‘notes’ for individual players?

A (Grins) That and also a series of one-on-ones from the time we land and the start of the tri-series (October 5)…

Q Kumble returns to big-time cricket after a year. As captain, you must be particularly pleased…

A Definitely. It’s not good for an active sportsman to have such a long lay-off… Anil is bound to be hungry for wickets.

Q His return should take some of the pressure off Harbhajan Singh, isn’t it?

A Let’s see them bowl in tandem… Most successful teams have wickettakers who bowl as a pair… Indeed, a couple of big partnerships and a pair of wicket-taking bowlers go a long way in ensuring victory. Individual performances, no matter how impressive, alone won’t do.

Q Why didn’t Harbhajan deliver in Lanka?

A The Lankan batsmen played him far better than we played Murali.

Q As Harbhajan is very close to you…

A (Interrupting, smiling) I’m close to everybody.

Q Fair enough, but to talk of Harbhajan only, what will you be telling him?

A I’ve already told him to be patient… That he should work on the right length and line and not be obsessed with picking a wicket on every ball. It’s like a batsman whose mind is on a hundred even before he has taken guard and got a feel of the wicket and bowling. There’s bound to be trouble.

Q To focus on the tri-series, will you favour experimenting, by way of rotation, against Kenya?

A If we’ve got to do something, it should be versus South Africa… If we have to be bold, we might as well try options against one of the best teams. In any case, in one-day cricket, nobody is a born No.3 or No.5 or whatever.

Q The final question: You’ve begun placing a red hanky in your right pocket. Why?

A (Laughs again) It’s been given by my father… I used it for the first time in the Margao one-dayer (versus Australia)… I got some runs that day (74) and, well, it’s become a permanent fixture since.


Calcutta, Sept. 22: 
In keeping with the current Brazilian trend, the Palmeiras team plans to employ the 3-5-2 system during their campaign in the 107th IFA Shield. According to their coach Humberto Gomes Ferreira, “the team is slowly getting used to the new format. However, if needed, we can change to the 4-4-2 format during the course of a match.”

The coach — who hails from Florianapolis, the city which is also home to Gustavo Kuerten — has no idea of Indian football or his opponents in this tournament.

The team is not taking any chances and had another round of strenuous training at the Howrah Stadium this afternoon. “We know it’s not going to be easy especially after having come from a lay-off. We will take some time to settle down,” said striker Reinaldo, who idolises Romario.

The Brazilians presented five of their key players in a professional manner at their first formal press conference in the city this evening.

Besides the players and the coach, an assistant coach, a team doctor, a physio along with two of his assistants were present. The coach said they formed an integral part in keeping the players in good shape and moulding the careers of these young boys.

Nam Dinh hopeful

The other foreign attractions in the tournament, Nam Dinh FC of Vietnam and Muktijoddha, had their first workout in the city today.

Nam Dinh, a 45-year-old club, finished second in the country’s 10-team professional league, behind Song Lam. Vietnam are currently No. 111 in the Fifa rankings.

Coach Ninh Vanbao has been with the club since 1983. He informed that the team, apart from friendlies, hasn’t played much soccer since the league ended in May.

But Vanbao was hopeful of making the semi-finals. “The ground condition is in keeping with our liking and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t make the semis,” he said after practice.

The club is run by Nam Dinh Textile Mills. Three from the touring side represented the country in the pre-World Cup campaign while four others turned out in the SEA Games.

Five players could not make the trip since they were training with the national under-21 team for the 2003 SEA Games which will be hosted by Vietnam.

The team has two Russian recruits — Murat Tagiev, Guen Adigrichime.


Calcutta, Sept. 22: 
Fourth seed Abhishek Das of Bharat Sevashram School, Jamshedpur, emerged sole leader with 7.5 points after the eighth round of The Telegraph Schools’ Chess Championship at Gorky Sadan today.

Breathing down the neck of the leader were Saptarshi Roy and Samput Mallick. They have seven points each. Saptarshi meets Abhishek in a crucial ninth-round game tomorrow. Like today, two more rounds will be played tomorrow.

Abhishek won both his games with relative ease. In the seventh round, he won an early exchange in the 15th move against Abhishikta Pattanaik of Acharya Harihar School, Cuttack, and went on to wrap up the game in 36 moves.

In the next round, he trapped Ayan Lahiri of Laban Hrad Vidyapith in a mating net in the Petroff Defence.

Sudip Rajbanshi of Luis Braille Memorial School for the Sightless beat Sandipan Chatterjee in the eighth round to move to 5.5 points.

Top seed Saptarshi of Kumar Ashutosh Institution bounced back into contention with a fluent win over second seed Somak Palit in a Sicilian Defence in the eighth round. In a major piece ending, the game seemed headed for a draw, as both players had a few minutes to complete their moves. Saptarshi broke open Somak’s defence with a brilliant rook sacrifice to snatch the point.

The two-time defending champion had earlier beaten former Asian under-10 girls’ champion Mary Ann Gomes in 33 moves in an unusual variation of the From Gambit.

In the morning, Somak won comfortably against Tanmoy Pattanayak of Mitra Institution (Main) in the Alapin variation of the Sicilian Defence. Somak won an exchange early in the game and, had in addition a passed pawn, which decided the fate of the game. Third seed, Ayan Lahiri of Laban Hrad Vidyapith, outwitted Pritam Banerjee of Elias Meyer School in 32 moves in the Dragon variation of the Sicilian Defence.

The giant killer of the earlier rounds, Debayan Majumder of St James, could not maintain his brilliant run and lost the seventh round to Joydeep Dutta of Kumar Ashutosh Institution (Branch) in 36 moves in a Centre Counter opening.

The youngest participant, four-year-old Tamisra Das of Little Flower, beat Roshni Chatterjee of Auxilion Convent in the eighth round to move to two points.


Round VII: Somak Palit (5.5) bt Tanmoy Pattanayak (5.5); Abhishikta Pattanaik (5.5) lost to Abhishek Das (6.5); Mary Ann Gomes (5) lost to Saptarshi Roy (6); Pritam Banerjee (5) lost to Ayan Lahiri (6); Samput Mallick (6) bt Sourav Bose (5); Debayan Majumder (5) lost to Joydeep Dutta (6); Supriya Maji (5) lost to Soumya Thakurta (6); Nishikant Mishra (6) bt Debaditta Biswas (5); Sankar Majumder (5.5) bt N. Sashank Singh (5); Chiranjit Saha (4.5) lost to Suman Basu (5.5); Ritam Bhaumik (5) drew with Najir Arifin (5); Priya Ratnam (5) drew K. Chakraborty (5); Swagatam Sengupta (5.5) bt Sandipan Chatterjee (4.5); Sayan Sarkar (4.5) drew Sumit Shaw (4.5); Karamtej Singh (4) lost to Rohan Vijay Shandilya (5); Payel Guha (4) lost to Prabuddha Ghosh (5); Abinash Das (5) bt Amritesh Ray (4); Hasib R.K. Sagar (4) lost to Souvick Barick (5); Saurav Chakraborti (4.5) drew Arijit Sinha (4); Chandra S. Mishra (4) lost to Sk Shahid Ahmed (5); Soumya Talukdar (4) lost to Souvik Chakraborty (5); Nandan Buragohain (5) bt Shamima A Liza (4); Dipayan Ghosh (4.5) drew Vikash Kumar Tiwari (4.5); Arijit Ghosh (4.5) drew Jibanand Singh (4.5); Suman Mallick (4) lost to Sharmin S. Shirin (5).

Round VIII: Saptarshi Roy (7) bt Somak Palit (6.5); Ayan Lahiri (6) lost to Abhishek Das (7.5); Soumya Thakurta (6) lost to Samput Mallick (7); Joydeep Dutta (6.5) drew Nishikant Mishra (6.5); Tanmoy Pattanayak (6.5) bt Abhishikta Pattanaik (5.5); Suman Basu (6) drew Sankar Majumder (6); Debaditta S. Biswas (5.5) drew Swagatam Sengupta (6); Rohan Vijay Shandilya (6) bt Nandan Buragohain (5); Souvik Chakraborty (5.5) drew Pritam Banerjee (5.5); Najir Arifin (5) lost to Mary Ann Gomes (6); N. Sashank Singh (5.5) drew Souparna Ghosh (5.5); Sourav Bose (6) bt Suddhasattwa Das (5); Prabuddha Ghosh (5) lost to Varun Jain (6); K. Chakraborty (5) lost to Debayan Majumder(6); Abinash Das (5.5) drew Abhijit Kar (5.5); Sumit Shaw (5) lost to Supriya Maji (6); Souvick Barick (5) lost to Ritam Bhaumik (6); Sk Shahid Ahmed (5.5) drew Bharat B. Mohanty (5.5); Sharmin S. Shirin (6) bt Priya Ratnam (5); Kunal Somaiya (5.5) bt Sayan Sarkar (4.5); Arpan Sarkar (Sr) (5) drew Dipayan Ghosh (5); Arijit Sinha (5) drew Minhazuddin A Sagar (5); Saurav Chakraborti (5.5) bt Sayantan Roy (4.5); Vikash Kumar Tiwari (4.5) lost to Tathagata Banerjee (5.5); Arijit Ghosh (4.5) lost to Chiranjit Saha (5.5); Jibanand Singh (5) drew Arnab Chowdhury(5); Sriya Bhattacharya (4.5) drew R. Bhattacharya (4.5); Anirudha Menon (5.5) bt Arinjoy Ganguly (4.5); Sandipan Chatterjee (4.5) lost to S. Rajbanshi (5.5); Saheli Banerjee (4.5) lost to Abhratanu Dutta (5.5).


Calcutta, Sept. 22: 
Barisha SC defeated Mohammedan AC by a Tapas Mondal goal in a first division group A tie today.

Aikya Sammilani overcame Victoria SC by the odd goal in three. A. Das and R. Dey struck for Aikya while C.R. Das reduced the margin for Victoria.

Garlagacha beat Police AC 4-2 while Sporting Union and Milan Samity ended goalless.

Barnes signs

Nigerian recruit Colly Barnes today signed on the dotted line for Mohun Bagan. He will play the IFA Shield.

Haldar in lead

Subrata Haldar led with an average score of 168 points at the end of the third day in the ColorPlus national bowling qualifiers at Nicco Super Bowl today.

He was followed by Srivardhan Daga with 147 and Samit Shekh (142.25).

In the ladies category, Punam Arora led with 107.25 followed closely by Shweta Khanna at 107.

Varun Agarwal led the professional category with a average score of 157.16 followed by Sital Saraf on 151.50.

Manipur, Goa in semis

Manipur and Goa sailed into the semi-finals of the under-19 girls national football championships at the Duler ground here today, reports PTI from Margao.

The Manipur girls hammered Haryana 8-0 in a one-sided match even as Goa edged past Tamil Nadu by a self goal when Tamil Nadu defender S. Gokai, trying to clear the ball to safety, deflected it into her own goal.

The winner of the third quarter final between Bihar and Mizoram will meet Manipur while Goa will take on the winner of the last quarter final between Bengal and Tripura.


Calcutta, Sept. 22: 
With the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) having accorded national status to it this year, this edition of The Telegraph Maruti Esteem Monsoon Rally could see some top-of-the-board participants.

The second year of this revived and refurbished 600 km rally — to be run on Friday and Saturday over two legs (Calcutta-Jamshedpur and Jamshedpur-Ranchi) with 15 per cent in special sectors — retains its time-speed-distance format.

Joining the fray with all local stars will be the likes of south India star Jagannath Balu from Coimbatore. That is manoeuvring skills aplenty, notwithstanding the fact that he will be driving a Maruti 800. This will be Balu’s debut in Bengal, after his winning streak at the K-100 in Bangalore, the Scissors in Hyderabad and other meets. Also expected are the Budhia brothers of Ranchi.

According to Rajat Majumder, president of the Bengal Motor ports Club (BMSC), the organisers, there is a possibility that a J.K. Tyre team with its reconditioned Mitsubishi Lancer could also be landing here for the treat. That will be a professional group. Like the Marutis, the Lancers have also now been homologised.

Not that rallying has become a cheaper sport overnight, but perhaps the prominent Indian presence on the Asian rallying circuit has had a domino effect. Last year’s The Telegraph-WagonR rally was a ‘test’ case, so to say, as Majumder put it at a press briefing today. This year, it is pouring talent.

Mitil Chakraborty will be on show. So will stars like Bharat Parekh, Jogendra Jaiswal, Biswajit Chowdhury, Prasanta Paul and Subhojit Kumar in the four-wheeler category.

The organisers have realised the imbalance in letting go Maruti 800s and the likes in abrasion with the Esteems (1.3 litres) and higher capacity (1.6 litres and the like) in a rally that is expected to run over some of the most ill-maintained surfaces in the country. Hence, this time, the four-wheeler category has been divided into two groups — the under-1,100cc engine capacity cars, and those above in this meet which is being held in association with IBP andPrabhat Khabar.

There will be stars in the two-wheeler category as well. Yamaha Racing Team captain K. Prasad from Mysore will find at his heels local challengers in Mukesh Thakkar (champion last year), Sutanu Roy, Valmiki Biswas, veteran Harjeet Singh Dhanjal and others. Prasad was the winner in the third Kaviguru Rally of the BMSC.

So far 30 four-wheelers and 25 two-wheelers have been registered for the first leg of 400 km (the numbers being five and 6, so far, for the second leg), but Majumder said the numbers are fast growing.

The total prize purse will be Rs 4,99,000, the overall winner (in both legs) in the four-wheeler category earning Rs 90,000. The overall winner in the two-wheeler category will get Rs 45,000.

The rally will run through rather picturesque territory — through Howrah, Hooghly, Bardhaman, Bankura, Purulia, East Singhbhum and Seraikella and Kharsawan, before reaching Ranchi in Jharkhand — and this being the petering-out stages of the monsoon, there could be a good number of decent causeways in the jungles (primarily East Singhbhum) to navigate.

There will be a few ‘firsts’ at this year’s rally. Service teams are not allowed in TSD rallies, but considering the “vehicle safety factor” the rally’s supplementary regulations have allowed service vehicles at certain pre-designated points. Also, from this year there will be a rolling trophy for the best marshall and the best tuner. These were off-the-cuff awards every year.


Calcutta, Sept. 22: 
Captain Sourav Ganguly’s choice, Ajit Agarkar, appears to have emerged frontrunner to replace Ashish Nehra in the tri-series team for South Africa. This afternoon, Nehra was officially declared unfit in Mumbai.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, the selectors seem to have begun coming around to the captain’s views, even though most were initially inclined towards Debashish Mohanty. As of late tonight, Rakesh Patel isn’t at all in the picture.

It is understood the selectors will formally meet tomorrow, after watching all three replacement-candidates bowl at nets. It shouldn’t surprise, though, if the replacement doesn’t leave with the rest of the team late tomorrow night.


Pune, Sept. 22: 
A close second over a sprint to Tobler, who went on to win the Deccan 2,000 Guineas, the well-bred colt Rambus is expected to relish the mile trip and may take his seven rivals by surprise in the S. A. Poonawalla Trophy at the Pune race on Sunday. P. Kamlesh partners the Cooji Katrak-trained Placerville-Lap of Luxury son.


1.45 pm: Texas King 1. Mein Kampf 2. Super Sword 3.

2.15 pm: Fluency 1. Mystic Lady 2. Grand Gesture 3.

2.45 pm: Sedona 1. Classic Rock 2. Reflecting 3.

3.15 pm: National Velvet 1. Among Men 2. Twist Afleet 3.

3.45 pm: Rambus 1. Criollo 2. Aphaia 3.

4.15 pm: Loving You 1. Park Lane 2. Jonty’s Pal 3.

4.45 pm: Judge Jules 1. Avantage 2. Centenary 3.

Day’s Best: Rambus

Double: Sedona & Judge Jules


Pune, Sept. 22: 
Trained by Bezan Chenoy, Zephyr Bay lifted the Idar Gold Trophy in Pune on Saturday. Malesh Nerredu partnered the Placerville-West Coast Keg son to victory.


(With inter-state dividends)

1 All That’s Nice Plate 1,200m: (1-2-9) Josh King (Sandeep) 1; Teaser 2; Infuriate 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 3-1/4; (1-12). Tote: Win Rs 61; Place: 21; 18; 19; Quinella:169; Tanala: 2,176. Fav: Adam’s Blessings (8).

2. Pillar To Post Plate 1,800m: (9-8-7) Seriously Stunning (Appu) 1; Resist 2; Prima Ballerina 3. Not run: El Campeador (2). Won by: 2-3/4; 9-1/2; (1-55). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 10; 12; 24; Quinella: 19; Tanala: 140. Fav: Seriously Stunning (9).

3. Charon Trophy 1,400m: (5-7-2) Afilado (Kader) 1; Consortium 2; Seychelles 3. Not run: Sound of Whisper (1). Won by: Hd; 7-1/2; (1-25.9). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 11; 19; 15; Quinella: 197; Tanala: 748. Fav: Afilado (5).

4. Prime Time Plate 2,000m: (1-8-3) Mille Fiori (Shroff) 1; Suratha 2; Saytarra 3. Won by: 2-1/4; Hd; (2-9.6). Tote: Win Rs 38; Place: 14; 15; 15; Quinella: 81; Tanala: 305. Fav: Mille Fiori (1).

5. Princess Gombos Plate 1,400m: (3-6-9) Natural Spark (Sandeep) 1; Millennium King 2; Stay With Me 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1/2; (1-27.5). Tote: Win Rs 75; Place: 21; 20; 34; Quinella: 179; Tanala: 4,459. Fav: Millennium King (6).

6. Idar Gold Trophy 2,400m: (4-3-2) Zephyr Bay (M. Narredu) 1; Top Mover 2; Jonty Rhodes 3. Won by: 1/2; 1-1/4; (2-37.3). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 16; 13; Quinella: 27; Tanala: 375. Fav: Top Mover (3).

7. Maj. V. M. Lad Memorial Trophy 1,200m: (2-4-1) Flasher (Rajendra) 1; Shahandeh 2. Star of Attention 3. Won by: 4-3/4; Hd; (1-11.7). Tote: Win Rs 39; Place: 16; 18; 11; Quinella: 119; Tanala: 631. Fav: Star of Attention (1).

8. Al-Bashir Plate 1,600m: (7-4-10) Paradise Dancer (Prakash) 1; Never Surrender 2; Sudden Glory 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 4; (1-41.6). Tote: Win Rs 36; Place: 15; 13; 106; Quinella: 36; Tanala: 1,570. Fav: Never Surrender (4).

Jackpot: Rs 20,800; (C) Rs 1,345

Treble: (i) Rs 421; (ii) Rs 589; (iii) Rs 630.


Calcutta, Sept. 22: 
Calamint and Grand Lodge were impressive during the workouts this morning.

Outer sand track

1,400m: Calamint (Surender) in and Angeles (C. Alford) in 1-42s; (400m) 30s. Former 4 ls better.

800m: Treasurer (Surender) and Arendal (C. Alford) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Level. Allosaki (C. Alford) in 59s; (400m) 30s. Auctioneer (A. P. Singh) in 59s; (400m) 29s. Beau Bruno (K. Kumar) in 1-0s; (400m) 29s. Flamebird (Glowli) and Flying Scot (Upadhya) in 57s; (400m) 28s. Level. Grand Lodge (Upadhya) and Winning Hand (Som S.) in 56s; (400m) 27s. Former a length better Raaz (Smith) in 56s; (400m) 28s. No Regrets (Rb) and Tsaynen Blue (Golwi) in 58s; (400m) 29s. Former a length better. Cup of Life (C. Alford) and Sky Command (Bird) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Former better. Rare Gold (C. Alford) and Calabash (Gajender S.) in 58s; (400m) 29s. Former far better.

Monsoon track

800m: Ballet Master (B. Gurnag) and Peace Envoy (Dalpat) in 55s; (400m) 25s. They were level

600m: Secret Adversary (Dalpat) in 39s; (400m) 25s. Fit. Bleaased Spirit (Smith) in 40s; (400m) 25s. Fit.

400m: Keep The Faith (Jaiswal) in 27s.

Sand track

1,600m: Harry The Horse (Rutherford) in 1-51s; (400m) 28s. Was pushed.

1,200m: Starina (Rutherford) in 1-27s; (400m) 25s. Scavenger’s Son (B. Gurang) in 1-27s; (400m) 29s

800m: Gold Buck (Shanbker) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Spanish Drum’s (Asghar) in 58s; (400m) 28s. Crimson King (Asghar) in 54s; (400m) 26s. Fit. Moved well. Tsavo (Amjad) in 57s; (400m) 29s.


Fields are getting larger, after nine weeks of small, though competitive charts. The lean period was, however, also dominated by a couple of standouts each race day, and surprise winners had been popping up regularly. But big fields set a different kind of atmosphere and the turfites start thinking big, too. The September 19 race-crowd enjoyed, practically from start-to-finish.

The main subject of discussion that afternoon was the RCTC handicapper — for contrasting reasons. If the dream six-horse blanket-finish in the 1,400m Astounde Handicap was a job well done and the handicapper earned kudos, he was also subjected to criticism for allowing a 61 rated Altiama to be “left in” for the next Wednesday’s Monsoon Cup which is restricted to horses rated between 66 and 94. The handicapper, however, felt the controversy was uncalled for. According to him, the horse was struck out by the club almost six weeks ago, on August 10. When entered for the race, the horse was Rated 72. Altiama’s ratings had come down subsequently because of his poor Bangalore form.

Coming back to the dream-finish, the hero of the afternoon was, once again, apprentice Rutherford Alford. The young boy seems to be developing a canny sense of judgement. Riding a 2-1 second favourite, Solo Act, he had father, Richard’s, eight-year-old ward dropped out of the race early on. Unpurturbed till well into the home-stretch, the boy followed father’s instruction in toto — alerting the Midyan-Unwanted Treasure son only nearing the distance-post. The horse flew on the wide out to make it quite apparent in the last 100 metres that he was going to catch up with the field.

The official verdict between Solo Act and the second placed horse Mr. Bombshell was ‘short-head’ but it was not tight enough to deceive a naked eye. The other four horses who made the finish exciting were Altiama, Aflciker, Kargil Soldier and Double Bull.

Acklins, won the Almanac Cup but the Twist and turn-Running Wild son was far from convincing in his three parts of a length victory over Iron Warrior. Jockey Md. Amil, once again, brought the three-year-old eight-wide at the home-turn as he failed to put the hanging-out youngster on an even keel.

Long in the tooth, Floral Path from H. S. Bath’s yard came with a good late run to take the measure of Bird’s Empire, a 2-1 public-fancy, in the Golden Beam Handicap. Bird’s Empire, a Daniel David-trainee, led most of the way in the hands of apprentice Fateh Ali Khan but failed to counter the challenge of the nine-year-old who was ridden to perfection by Shanker. In fact, the first four in the race were separated by mere one and half-a-length thus making it another tight affair. The other to finished in a close order were Flying Power and Crest Star.

Apprentice Khan made amends in the following race, the Prince Regent Cup. Atop Ardon, a 4-1 chance from Daniel’s yard, Khan kicked off from the start establishing a two length lead on the Tecorno-Andromeda four-year-old filly and never allowed his fellow apprentice riders — Amjad Khan on Addab and Rutherford on Tajik — to come near him.

Jockey Nic Connorton guided the 12-10 favourite Grecian Prince to victory in the Sprightly Handicap over 1,200 metres but after giving few anxious moments. He brought the Daniel-ward miles wide at the home turn and further wider into the straight.


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