Devang uncertain
Four-stroke lead for Firoz Ali
State volleyball
Bangalore Racing/ Antwerp likely to strike
Mumbai Racing/ Tobler romps home
Race Review/ Advantage with South

Calcutta, Nov. 29: 
Bengal open their Ranji Trophy campaign against Assam at the Eden Gardens tomorrow on anoptimistic note, hoping the new season will usher in positive results.

The visitors, on the other hand, will be playing their second match this season, having already bagged five points by virtue of their first innings lead against Bihar.

The arrival of Woorkeri Raman as coach will be one of the important factors in shaping Bengal�s fortunes this season. The squad is expected to be in good shape after more than two months of physical conditioning and nets. �The fielding should improve,� said Raman after nets today.

Bengal have decided to leave out Ranadeb Bose and Shabbir Ali from the XIV. Wicketkeeper Humza Ferozie and Arindam Das, who will be making his debut, will open the innings followed by Nikhil Haldipur, Rohan Gavaskar and Saikat Mukherjee.

Devang Gandhi, though, will be a doubtful starter, a �back niggle� keeping him out of practice for the last couple of days. �I have been under medication and will only decide tomorrow morning,� Devang said of the chances of his playing.

If Devang is unavailable, Safi Ahmed will find a berth in the playing XI.

The three-pronged pace attack will be led by Shib Shankar Pal and Laxmi Ratan Shukla along with another debutant, Sanjib Sanyal. The team also expects some runs from Sanyal. But it will be left to the guiles of the experienced Utpal Chatterjee and the young Sourashish Lahiri to make the most of the slow turner on offer.

With very little grass on the track, the pacers will find the going tough, though the early morning moisture could come in handy for seam bowling. �A good wicket to bat on,� Rohan said today. The Bengal skipper is hoping to bat first, put up an imposing total and put Assam under pressure.

However, the visitors will be no pushovers. The side has been boosted by the presence of former India A and Mumbai player Manoj Joglekar along with Tamil Nadu recruits medium-pacer Gokulakrishnan and off-spinner S.R. Ganesh Kumar. The presence of veteran left-arm pacer Gautam Datta and left-arm spinner Sukhvinder Singh will also add sting to the attack. �We will be aiming for five points,� skipper Subhrajit Saikia said.


BENGAL (likely): Humza Ferozie, Arindam Das, Nikhil Haldipur, Devang Gandhi/Safi Ahmed, Rohan Gavaskar, Saikat Mukherjee, Sanjib Sanyal, Utpal Chatterjee, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Shib Shankar Pal, Sourashish Lahiri.

ASSAM (likely): Subhrajit Saikia, Parag Das, Zakaria Zufri, Manoj Joglekar, Pabitra Datta, Sumit Ranjan Das, Sukhvinder Singh, Gokul Krishna, Ganesh Kumar, Gautam Dutta, Orland Connor.


Calcutta, Nov. 29: 
The stage is set for a final battle between local star Firoz Ali and Mukesh Kumar in the 11th leg of the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour.

After today�s action at the Tollygunge Club, Firoz gained a thin edge with a third-round four-under 66 for a total of 198. Mukesh, at two-under 68, was four strokes behind with a eight-under 202 aggregate.

Indrajit Bhalotia, another local challenger, slipped from his overnight second to third with a tally of seven-under 203. Uttam Singh Mundy and Vijay Kumar were tied for the fourth place at 207.

S.S.P. Chowrasia, another local contender, matched Firoz� effort with a four-under 66 to move to sixth spot at 208.

Firoz�s last title came in the Wills Western Open in Januar and he is keen to end the sequence of failures.


Calcutta, Nov. 29: 
Kalyan Parishad defeated Asis Smriti Sangha 25-2, 25-16, 25-11 in the women�s event of the senior state volleyball meet today. Sabuj Sathi overcame Subhas Sangha 25-14, 23-25, 25-19, 16-25, 15-13. In the men�s section, Chattra Samity beat Bijoyee Sangha 21-25, 25-16, 18-25, 25-19, 15-11.

Rakhi Sangha win

Rakhi Sangha women beat Barisha AC 39-12 in the senior state basketball meet. Twelve men�s and eight women teams are participating.

Floodlit tennis

Rounka Garg, Anant Jain, Biswakarma, Samrat Ghosh, Karan Dhillon, Farid Alam, Hiteshwar Singh and Suchetana Sengupta moved into the second round of the floodlit hardcourt tennis meet at Saturday Club yesterday.


Bangalore, Nov. 29: 
The Padmanabhan-trained Antwerp, to be ridden by F. Norton, is likely to win the 1,600m Hoysala Cup, tomorrow�s main attraction here.


1.30 pm: Laplander 1. Al Bashir 2. Wool U Gooli 3.

2 pm: Ashleen 1. Auchterarder 2. Caesarr 3.

2.30 pm: Cavallini 1. Fantasy Bay 2. Dover 3.

3 pm: Our Ambition 1. Mayfair 2. Alluring Bay 3.

3.30 pm: Crown Dancer 1. Fiesba 2. Little Genny 3.

4 pm: Antwerp 1. Altimara 2. Refresher 3.

4.30 pm: Amazon Gold 1. Minstrel Star 2. Magic Mantra 3.

5 pm: Alassio 1. Silvanus 2. Arduous 3.

Day�s Best: Crown Dancer

Double: Ashleen & Cavallini


Mumbai, Nov. 29: 
Tobler, from Vinayak�s yard, scored an easy victory in the hands of M. Narredu to bag the 1,600m Sir Rahimatoola Chinoy Trophy in Mumbai on Thursday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Ardilles Plate, Div-II 1,000m: (1-5-2) Fluency (Lemaire) 1; Overtures 2; Peace March 3. Won by: 3-1/4; 1-3/4; (1-0.9). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 11; 16; 46; Quinella: 26; Tanala: 442. Fav: Fluency (1).

2. Ardilles Plate, Div-I 1,000m: (2-6-3) Reconquista (M. Narredu) 1; Super Sword 2; Adam�s Touch 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 2-1/4; (1-1.1). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 12; 14; 29; Quinella: 26; Tanala: 310. Fav: Reconquista (2).

3. Hector Plate 1,400m: (5-4-1) Iceberg (McCullagh) 1; Aphaia 2; Anthology 3. Won by: 9; 4-1/2; (1-26.1). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 11; 11; 18; Quinella: 12; Tanala: 57. Fav: Iceberg (5).

4. Basque Plate 1,200m: (6-5-11) Flirtatious (Farooq) 1; Attia In Sunlight 2; Charging Bullet 3. Won by: Hd; Nk; (1-15.2). Tote: Win Rs 123; Place: 44; 31; 34; Quinella: 814; Tanala: 8,607. Fav: Salsa Dancer (7).

5. Sir Rahimatoola Chinoy Trophy 1,600m: (5-7-3) Tobler (M. Narredu) 1; Soviet Ace 2; Seychelles 3. Won by: 3-1/4; 3/4; (1-38.9). Tote: Win Rs 11; Place: 12; 18; 27; Quinella: 49; Tanala: 315. Fav: Tobler (5).

6. Dr. A. Karmally Trophy 1,400m: (2-5-10) River God (Gallagher) 1; Dazzling Gold 2; Opener 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 4-3/4; (1-26.5). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 14; 14; 19; Quinella: 47; Tanala: 185. Fav: River God (2).

7. Cavalino Plate 1,400m: (2-4-9) Kazakh (M. Narredu) 1; Mystic Lady 2; Bongoni 3. Won by: 4-1/2; 3/4; (1-27.3). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 12; 20; 31; Quinella: 56; Tanala: 454. Fav: Kazakh (2).

8. Silver Phantom Plate 1,800m: (3-1-4) Chiliandrina (Shroff) 1; Resist 2; Loving You 3. Won by: 1/2; Dist; (1-56). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 11; 17; 24; Quinella: 43; Tanala: 170. Fav: Chiliandrina (3).

Jackpot: Rs 556; (C) Rs 111.

Treble: (i) Rs 485; (ii) Rs 51.


The score between M. A. M. Ramaswamy the Deepak Khaitan � the two heavyweights on the India turf � was one-love, after the first Classic of the season, the Calcutta 1,000 Guineas, last Sunday. The two big horse-owners are expected to dominate the local Classics in the coming months. Serious Spender-Corviglia daughter Touch of Silver gave the edge to the southern turf baron. �Silver� foiled the designs of the Vijay Singh yard to unsettle the Daniel David ward with a hot-pace that saw an equally promising Ancheta at the receiving end.

However, horses are unpredictable. If Vijay thought the Tecorno-Goldilocks daughter was no match for his fancied wards � Angeles and Calorescence � so did the entire racing fraternity as she remained untouched in the betting in spite of an open offer from the books to write your own card.

Ancheta established a long lead from the start and nearly pulled off a sensational win. She was, in fact, five lengths clear of the 7-4 favourite Touch of Silver on whom a desperate jockey Prakash Bhonsle was left with no option but to fire up all cylinders. It was an engaging duel that must have taken even jockey Shanker on the leader by surprise and he refused to give in an inch until the last 125m when Ancheta may have thought �enough was enough� and surrendered. Angeles and Calorescence were sluggish in their movements and just about managed to occupy the minor slots behind Ancheta.

By the fifth meeting of the season, only two horses, from among many with Classic pretensions, have emerged as major players for the 2,000 Guineas early next month. It was The Archer who walked on to the Guineas scene earlier on November 21 when the Broto-Wanderland colt treated his 13 rivals with scant respect to win the Class II Darbhanga Cup over 1,400m. Incidentally, the field also included the monsoon Colts Stakes winner Alcalde. The fact that the winner, a John Stephens-trainee, clocked a smart timing of 1 min. 25.3 seconds over the slated trip. It speaks volume of his winning effort. However, he could have recorded the stormy victory with an equal degree of comfort even without the riding assistance of the visiting jockey K. P. Appu. Such regularity in partnerships, however, do help to develop close association between the jockey and the horse as they come handy in crunch situations that Appu is likely to encounter in the big events to follow.

At almost level weight, Alcalde had an even chance of making it a close fight. The Bharath Singh-trainee was also kept right behind The Archer, though taking the final turn much wider than expected. But that is no excuse for Cristopher Alford who was flat out on the Khaitans-owned colt, by Rebounding Thrill out of Nimble, in the stretch-run to a five-and-half-a-length defeat. But Khaitans hardly need to worry by such debacles because the leading owners have answers for all riddles. In fact, the answer came just half and hour latter when their property Alamito, also a Bharath-trainee, wrapped up the Fitzgrafton Handicap over an identical distance.

True, Alamito (Cristopher up) may not have beaten much in the opposition and his start-to-finish victory in a Class III race lacked fluency of a champion. But, the monsoon Derby winner is known to be a distance customer and the timing clocked by the Twist And Turn-Bailla Reus colt was only .2 seconds slower compared to The Archer�s effort to make it a thought provoking subject among the rival ranks. To add to it, Alamito will relish the extra furlong of the Guineas� trip more than all in the fray.

Khaitans� challenge does not end with Alamito. They also have a good galloper in Antequera who is expected to run straight in the Guineas. The connections of the Green Forest-Silver Reflect are banking heavily, and rightly so, on his southern Classic form. Although without a winning luck in the Bangalore/Mysore Classics, he had finished close to champions on more than couple of occasions.


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