England do better than survive eventful day
I am my own captain: Nasser Hussain
Controversy falls flat
Rs 400 minimum rate for ticket to Eden ODI
Devika, Varun share Day II honours
Five-way lead in East India golf
Durgapur, Siliguri teams win
Ganguly-Sadhu claims title
Track Trials/ Annatto, Anagram shine
Race Review/ Alford cousins took centre stage

Bangalore, Dec. 19: 

Be it a software industry launch, an addition to the glamorous world of fashion or even the opening of an enticing pub, Karnataka�s capital is quite a happening city. Indeed, Bangaloreans constantly seem to be in the looking-forward-to mode.

At the Chinnaswamy today, though, the most awaited event didn�t occur and the unlikely �villain� was an otherwise favoured son � Anil �Jumbo� Kumble. Specifically, 22 overs in five spells weren�t enough for that one wicket which would have placed our most successful spinner in the 300-club.

It didn�t help that Mark Ramprakash was let off by V.V.S. Laxman.

Actually, Day-I of the third and final Test in the Hero Honda series was pretty bizarre. Perhaps, for the first time, an entire day was gone through under floodlights. Then, the gifted Michael Vaughan became only the seventh batsman in over 120 years of Test cricket to be out handling the ball.

[Later, Vaughan revealed the �entire team� was disappointed the Indians appealed. Well, in this age and time, the Indians did what any professional team would do. Moreover, the Yorkshireman needn�t himself feel embarrassed: If the sport�s elder statesman, Steve Waugh, can be similarly dismissed, Vaughan can surely be excused.]

And, from a personal perspective, star athlete of the Seventies T.C.Yohannan would have found son Tinu�s exclusion from the XI bizarre. The one-time champion came from Kochi to watch his son in India colours, for the first time, but the thinktank and the national selectors turned spoilsport.

Tinu, however, presented a brave front. �I wouldn�t say Dad was upset... Having himself been a sportsman, he appreciates it�s all part of the game... In fact, he spent the entire day at the stadium,� the youngster, who concealed his own disappointment rather well, told The Telegraph.

On the other hand, England captain Nasser Hussain�s father Jawad didn�t exactly have a disappointing outing. A former Tamil Nadu cricketer, the senior Hussain watched his son win the one toss all of England had been praying for, and then saw him contribute 43 (98 minutes, 64 deliveries, 5x4, 1x6) in the reasonable 255 for six total.

England could have done better. Equally, as conditions throughout weren�t the most comfortable, the team could have crumbled quicker than the most delicate cookie. Being 0-1 down, it was essential England survive the first day. They did.

With curator Kasturirangan having supervised the shaving-act (removing traces of green) before handing the wicket to the umpires, there�s a good chance deterioration will now be speedy. In any case, the wicket may consistently be dual-paced, sooner rather than later. In the three sessions, England scored 82, 94 and 79, respectively.

Incidentally, owing to heavy dew � obviously, it will be a regular feature � Match Referee Denis Lindsay rescheduled the start to 10.00 am each day. Tomorrow, though, play will begin 16 minutes early to make good four overs lost this evening. Thanks to a 26-minute hold-up late in the day, because of �insufficient� light, the minimum of 90 overs couldn�t be bowled � not even after play continued past the re-scheduled 5.00 pm close.

There were less than 5,000 at the Chinnaswamy when Jawagal Srinath bowled the first ball but, by the afternoon, the turnout was in the vicinity of 18,000-20,000. Predictably, Kumble was the numero uno crowd-puller, but he tried too hard to begin with and, later, became distinctly impatient. The let off, too, played its part.

Within half-an-hour itself, there were shouts of �we want Jumbo, we want Jumbo,� and while Sourav Ganguly obliged as early as the 15th over, others got wickets. Inexplicably, though it was overcast even before the toss, the Indians still chose to field one specialist quick.

Sourav, who was Srinath�s opening mate, explained: �The decision was collectively taken this morning...� Yohannan�s exclusion saw the big-league return of off-spinner Sarandeep Singh after 13 months. He looked ordinary � more so when Harbhajan Singh was on view � till his 11th over, when Vaughan exited and highly-rated Andrew Flintoff flopped yet again.

Later, Sarandeep added Ramprakash�s scalp but, really, credit ought to be directed umpire A.V.Jayaprakash�s way. Though the batsman, whose forefathers hailed from UP, was beaten playing forward, there was no contact with bat and the �catch� by Rahul Dravid was effectively off the pad. Ramprakash scored 58 (165 minutes, 133 deliveries, 5x4).

The former Middlesex and now Surrey pro, however, was lucky to have survived on duck and, then, on 28 off Sarandeep. On the latter occasion, Deep Dasgupta should have done better.

But for the second Test MoM Craig White and young James Foster�s determination, Ramprakash�s dismissal may have forced an early end to the England innings. As it turned out, the two remained unseparated in the 51 minutes till stumps and, just as important (psychologically), kept Kumble grounded on 299.

Earlier, after an indifferent start � vice-captain Michael Trescothick getting out in soft manner and, just as bad, Mark Butcher running himself out � England recovered through Vaughan and Ramprakash�s 113-run partnership for the fourth-wicket.

Unusually, in the midst of their character-oozing association, Vaughan called for bananas! If anything, that whetted his appetite for runs: From 37 he went beyond his third fifty in 13 Tests.

Vaughan, it may be recalled, only made the XI (in Motera) after Graham Thorpe opted to return home following marital disharmony. He is already 27, but certainly has it in him to prosper in the top-bracket.

Of course, before the Vaughan-Ramprakash effort had been Hussain�s innings which ended with a beauty from Srinath. Having been pulled by the England captain for an outrageous six, Srinath eventually did settle scores.


Bangalore, Dec. 19: 
It�s with good reason that Nasser Hussain is regarded a captain with a difference. And, it�s significant that the generally unsparing Media in England doesn�t go anywhere near his jugular even if the going hasn�t been good.

Hussain, who doesn�t offer excuses and doesn�t ever act the diplomat, spoke to The Telegraph exclusively on captaincy last evening.

The following are excerpts

On captaincy

(Grins) Basically, the captain is only as good as his team. People do have this tendency of giving captains a larger than life image but, really, an overwhelming majority of the best captains have been the ones with the best teams. I do accept, though, it�s also upto the captain to get the best out of his players. Mike Brearley, for example, did so. More recently, Stephen Fleming has been doing much the same. Like Brearley, I respect Fleming a lot. His team isn�t high on talent, yet he brings the best out of each player. Also, Fleming remains down to earth.

On whether he is his own captain

Indeed. I do believe in listening to others, gathering information...At the end of the day, however, I�m my own captain. Bottomline is doing things your own way because you will yourself either live or die by the sword. So, why risk dying by embracing somebody else�s thoughts rather than following your own gut feeling and instincts. I�m passionate about the game, passionate about the captaincy.

On his approach as captain

I don�t see myself as a superior being and, clearly, nothing means more than getting my teammates� respect. I remember when I was going through a bad patch (all of 2000), it�s the team which helped me pull through... They felt for me because I was one of them. In fact, I�ll never forget the emotion of the moment when I regained form with a hundred in the Kandy Test this year... The team was delighted, and the emotion showed... As for me, I was happy I had returned something (to the team). Mutual respect is important. Speaking generally, I�m pleased as long as every single player has given his best shot, has been faithful to the role assigned.

On captains he has learnt from�directly or indirectly

In my youth, Keith Fletcher was an important figure. Indeed, he�s the one who groomed me into an Essex player... Then, Graham Gooch, both at Essex and in the England side. I must confess I gained enormously by working with both at an important stage in my career... More recently, when I was vice-captain, I learnt quite a bit from Mike Atherton.

On interacting with Brearley

I�ve spoken to him, yes, but I can�t claim to know him closely... Brearley, after all, isn�t the person to... He has kept his dignity (by largely staying away from the limelight)... At the same time, if you ever need advice, he�s there. Actually, just about a year ago, it was very nice of him to have left a message on my voicemail, congratulating me and the team for beating Pakistan in Pakistan. (Adds after a pause) Now that you�ve asked me, the couple of times I�ve sat down and had a chat, the conversation hasn�t revolved around strategy and such like, but on being successful.

On whether he reads out the Riot Act

Occasionally... I�m not the Gooch sort of person... Ninety nine per cent of the time you�ll find me relaxed and enjoying the cricket... Of course, it�s not that one can�t have a difference of opinion. Even as captain, I have had spats with Goughie (Darren Gough) but, next morning, we still are mates. He understands me and I understand him. That�s how it should be and, if I may add, the England players are encouraged to speak their mind.

On whether he, then, is an absolutely democratic captain

If you�re asking whether even the most inexperienced player gets to contribute (at team meetings), the answer is �yes�. Even on the field, nothing stops a Richard Dawson or a James Foster from offering suggestions. It could even be that, at times, I seek their views. At any given point in time, it�s possible they may have a different perspective, something I may not have thought of. There�s no hierarchy.

On whether, initially, he felt uncomfortable leading a team which had former captains Atherton and Alec Stewart

Not at all... I could have felt uneasy had the two been funny. But, then, the way they handled themselves in the dressing room made it easier for me. Honestly, I haven�t come across more professional cricketers. I especially miss Atherton... Miss his calm and cool presence. For me, Atherton was a rock we could always fall back on.

On whether he bounced ideas off Atherton

Not really, because once he was through with the captaincy, the line he took was: �I�ve had my share of worrying. Now, you sort things out.� He didn�t intend being offensive, yet kept himself out (of strategy)...

On leading from the front

Goes without saying the captain�s own game must be in order. And, on the field, his body-language should always be on an even keel... Is he always under pressure to perform? I wouldn�t quite agree but, then, circumstances could be such that the captain just has to deliver. This usually comes about when the team is short on experience.

On whether he learnt from Steve Waugh in the last Ashes series

(Laughs) Yeah... That if you have seven great batsmen � including a wicketkeeper with an outstanding average � and four great bowlers, then winning can�t exactly be very difficult.

On the captain and coach being on the same wavelength

It�s probably the most important aspect of a team, more so when there has been no previous interaction between the two. Duncan (Fletcher) and I, for example, didn�t know each other from Adam... In my book, nothing can split a team more than if the captain says one thing and the coach quite something else. Frankly, you can�t have a worse scenario than that. I�ve been fortunate that Duncan�s views on the game are pretty similar to mine. In fact, he has taught me a few things. For instance, I�ve learnt we don�t need those �naughty-

boy� nets after a defeat...

On despite having been strangers to begin with, how have the coach and he hit it off so well

(Smiles) Well, don�t know how it happened. Basically, Duncan�s such a nice bloke...He prefers staying away from the limelight and never ever tries to make himself look better. He�s not doing the job to enhance his image; he�s doing it to help improve English cricket. Duncan has no ulterior motives and, when he says something, everybody listens... The kind of work he does off the field enables me to wholly concentrate on the on-field affairs. The team looks up to Duncan.

On the highpoint of his captaincy

(Grins again) The whole of last winter... Beating Pakistan at home and, then, Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.

Finally, whether England�s approach on the last day in Motera could have been different

Given the inexperience of our attack, I don�t think we could have done better. We did try everything possible.


Bangalore, Dec. 19: 
England�s Michael Vaughan hasn�t at all taken his rare (handling the ball) dismissal well. And, going by what he said after stumps on Day-I of the final Test, the team hasn�t either.

�The entire team is disappointed the Indians appealed... Of course, the umpire only followed the law, but...� Vaughan remarked, suggesting he actually wanted to pass the ball to the fielding side. Yet, at the same time, Vaughan described his action as �a natural thing to do."

Significantly, reacting to what Vaughan said, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly told The Telegraph: �Well, I wasn�t close-in so I�m not sure of the sequence (of events). Fact, however, is the batsman shouldn�t have handled the ball. The law is absolutely clear.�

With the dismissal (in Sarandeep Singh�s 11th over) triggering a �controversy�, it�s relevant to reproduce Law 33.1: �Either batsman is out handled the ball if he wilfully touches the ball while in play with a hand or hands not holding the bat, unless he does so with the consent of the opposing side.� Vaughan and England do need an off-the-field refresher course specific to the games� laws.


Calcutta, Dec. 19: 
Ticket rates for next month�s day-night one-day International against England were finalised by the CAB working committee this evening.

Entry to the Eden Gardens on January 22 won�t come cheap. Fans will have to pay Rs 400, Rs 500 or Rs 700 to watch Sourav Ganguly�s men battle with Nasser Hussain�s visitors.

The Rs 700 denomination tickets, a newly introduced slab, will be of a limited number � about 4,000 � in the newly renovated block H. Special spacious chairs will be laid out for those purchasing the costliest tickets. The students� tickets will cost Rs 150.

Dibyendu hits 124 n.o.

Dibyendu Chakraborty hit an unbeaten 124 to help Bengal earn a 79-run first-innings lead in their three-day under-22 tie against Tripura. Having scored 294 in reply to Tripura�s 215, Bengal had the visitors reeling at 24 for two in their second innings by stumps on the second day at East Calcutta District Sports Council ground.

Dibyendu, coming in at No. 5 with his team at 78 for three, hit 18 boundaries in his 159-ball knock spanning 199 minutes. The other significant contribution came from opener Ritesh Jaiswal (69).

BRIEF SCORES: Tripura 215 and 24/2. Bengal 294 (D. Chakraborty 124 not out, R. Jaiswal 69, Sourav Sil 34; Koushik Chowdhury 4/83, Dhananjay Singh 4/102).

Samit Ghosh restricts Md. Sp.

On a batsman�s day, left-arm spinner Samit Ghosh captured seven for 107 to help Suburban restrict Mohammedan Sporting as a fresh set of CAB League matches got underway today. Zeeshan Zufri was the lone ranger for Mohammedan Sporting, hitting 102 out of his team�s 275.

Calcutta Customs had the most profitable day, piling up 431 for eight against High Court Club.


Ananda Bazar Patrika Sports Club 245 (Sukomal Ganguly 104, Ujjal Das 46; Sudip Chanda 5/58, Murtaza Lodhgar 4/85). Kalighat 53/2 (Altaf Hussain 2/14).

Barisha SC 346/9 (Subhajit Banerjee 115, Soutam Mitra 75, Kuntal Mallick 55; Abhirup Mukherjee 4/92) vs Belgachia Utd.

Calcutta Customs 431/8 (Anustup Majumdar 151, Avik Chowdhury 146, Amit Sharma 34; Ghanashyam Singh 3/96, Farasatullah 3/121) vs High Court Club.

Young Bengal 265 (Dipankar Mustafi 92, Masudur Rahman 45; George Pal 4/82, Rajib Dutta 3/64). Tapan Memorial 13/0.

Mohammedan Sporting 275 (Zeeshan Zufri 102, Ataullah Khan 47; Samit Ghosh 7/107, Arup Tripathy 3/88) vs Suburban.

Dakshin Kalikata Sansad 306 (Kaustav Roy 113, Probal Dutta 51, Soumen Karmakar 46; Brijesh Pandey 3/36). BNR 7/0.

Shibpur 345/9 (Samir Majhi 71, Anirban Gupta 61, Dilshad Akhtar 50; Soumitra Majumdar 3/37, Chandra Prakash Verma 3/89) vs Aryan.

Aikya Sammilani 332 (Mazhar Ali 137, Joydip Karmakar 48; Sanjib Singh Narang 3/56).

CPT300 (Shibsankar Banerjee 61, Tanmoy Mohapatra 54; Joyjit Bose 4/76). YMCA (Coll.) 13/0.

Calcutta XI squad

The IFA today announced the Calcutta XI contingent to take on Dhaka XI in an exhibition match at Haldia Saturday as part of the Banga Sanskriti Utsab. Dhaka XI will play another match Friday, against a Districts XI, at Howrah Stadium.

THE SQUAD: Prasanta Dora, Arindam Ghosh, Kajal Bhattacharya, Robi Karmakar, Ranjan Dey, Babun Kar, Palash Karmakar, Shib Sankar Chowdhury, Kamal Ghosh, Brajadulal Jana, Dipankar Chatterjee, Swarup Chatterjee, Sujoy Datta, Sandip Ghosh, Pradip Indu, Tapas Chaterjee, Amar Pyne.


Calcutta, Dec. 19: 
Honours were evenly shared between the city riders and their outstation challengers in the junior and sub-junior dressage events on the second day of the Junior national equestrian championship held at the sprawling greens of the Tollygunge club today.

It was Devika Mukherjee and Varun Todi who exercised their complete dominance to keep the Tolly flag flying, while Dev Nidhi of Equestrian Centre for Excellence, Bangalore and Maller Nishant from Chennai Equestrian Academy displayed promise of good horsemen in the making as they won their respective events with authority.

Each of the four is aged 15 and, incidentally, all of them endeavoured to beat their own mark to win their respective championship.

The police jumping, the only seniors� event held during the day, was totally monopolised by the Border Security Force team from Tekanpur in Gwalior with all the top three placings going to the policemen.


Dressage national children I � Dev Nidhi (astride Amazer; from ECE) 1; Haridas Nadia (Mr. Ed; EI, Chennai) 2; Dev Nidhi; EI) 3.

Dressage Junior national � Varun Todi (Black Rose; Tolly) 1; Varun Todi (Supreme Choice; Tolly) 2; Ms Kavita Swittens (Fame & Glory; LC, Ooty) and Abhishek Chopra (First Crush; individual) 3.

Dressage; sub-junior � Devika Mukherjee (Black Rose, Tolly) 1; Anant (Pronto; individual) 2; Devika Mukherjee (Pathfinder; Tolly) 3.

Sub-junior top score � Mallet Nishant (Smaten Pride; CEA, Chennai) 1; Rao Udhay Murthy (Ringo; RTS, UP) 2; Maller Nishant (Right Dancer; CEA) 3.

Police jumping � Ct. Jagmahinder Singh (Neelam; BSF, Gwalior) 1; S. I. Sunil Raghuvanshi (Warrior; BSF) 2; H.C. Sumer Singh (Toofan; BSF) 3.


Calcutta, Dec. 19: 
The Goodricke East India amateur golf championship kicked off at the RCGC today with five outstation players carding the best of one-over par 73. Delhi trio Ashok Kumar, Anitya Chand, Vijit Nandrajog, Chandigarh�s Gurbaaz Mann and Rajahmundri�s L. Salvadurai were in joint lead. Sanjeev Mehra was the day�s best performer among local golfers, being three strokes behind the leaders.

The top 32 after tomorrow�s second and final round of strokeplay championship will qualify for the matchplay which will be over 36 holes.

Allowance for 10 jrs

The Athletic Coaches Association of Bengal has selected 10 junior athletes to give a diet allowance of Rs 200 each for their preparation for next month�s inter-state junior national meet. Sujata Samanta, Tucy Deshmukh, Pratima Tudu, Shila Mondal, Sarmishtha Guha, Biswajit Baidya, Basanti Biswas, Anjali Shee, Amit Banerjee, Samaresh Maity will receive the allowance.    

Calcutta, Dec. 19: 
Durgapur CC and Agragami CCC Siliguri notched up nine-wicket wins over Bhowanipore CC and East Calcutta CCC, respectively, in the Ambar Roy sub-junior meet today.


Bhowanipore CC 85/9 (Pallab Das 22 n.o.; Souptik Bose 3/8). Durgapur CC 86/1 (Sayan Sekhar Mondal 43 n.o.). Durgapur won by 9 wkts.

East Calcutta CCC 72 (Swarup Chanda 3/10). Agragami CCC Siliguri 73/1 (Ipu Saha 32). Agragami won by 9 wkts.

Dum Dum Sporting Club CCC 159/6 (Sanchayan Chatterjee 56; Krishanu Banik 3/45). Kartick Bose Memorial CCC 95/6 (Srikanta Pal 30; Nikhilesh Poddar 2/10, Sourav Prasad 2/23). Dum Dum won by 64 runs.

Sodepur Club 130/6 (Pritam Mitra 45; Avik Sadhukhan 3/38). Suburban CA 86 (Shaswata Bhattacharjee 33; Pritam Mitra 2/27, Somnath Nag Chowdhury 2/28). Sodepur won by 44 runs.

Paikpara Sporting CCC 176/9 (Tanmoy Dam 41; S. Ghosh 2/41). Baguiati CCC 149 (S. Bera 28; Tanmoy Dam 2/18; S. Bera 2/44). Paikpara won by 27 runs.

Dum Dum Pathik Sangha 62 (B. Buddhadeo 2/11, B. Mukherjee 2/13. Murshidabad DSDA 63/2 (Ajoy Roy 29). Murshidabad won by 8 wkts.

Mukherjee CA 48 (Mithun Das 3/8, Tanmoy Roy 3/18). Sonarpur Sp. Union 52/0. Sonarpur won by 10 wkts.


Calcutta, Dec. 19: 
On a day of pitched battle of minds, Sudhir Ganguly and Alok Sadhu emerged champions in the Holkar pairs 64-board final while India Blues pipped Indian Railways A for the Board-A match title in the winter national bridge championship, which concluded at Netaji Indoor Stadium today.

Thirty four pairs were engaged in an enthralling session of bridge in the pairs event as not a single pair could hold their position at the top for long. On the last two boards, Ganguly-Sadhu duo pipped Manas Mukherjee and Rana Roy at the post. S. Sridharan and A. Khare and A. Dutta Roy and A. Ganguly finished third and fourth respectively.

In the Board-A match finals, played yesterday, the champion was decided through tie-breaker. Both teams finished on the identical score of 190 points, but India Blues clinched the title on the ground of beating Indian Railways A in their direct clash.

Suhas Das and Veena Bhasin lifted the Mixed Pairs trophy, a new addition to the championship while Bimal Sicka and Hari Bajoria came in second.


Calcutta, Dec. 19: 
Annato, Anagram and Soviet Song were impressive in today�s workouts.

Outer sand track

1,400m: Lucifer (Upadhya) in 1-51s; (400m) 36s. Eased up in last part. Pretty Boy Flyod (Dalpat) and Giorgio (Rb) in 1-50s; (400m) 31s. Level. Set Aside (Gowli) in 1-43s; (400m) 32s. Easy.

1,000m: Amber Dancer (Connorton) and Touch of Silver (Upadhya) in 1-9s; (400m) 28s. Level.

800m: Annatto (Amil) and Fame Star (Shanker) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Former 2 ls better. Latter was pushed. Peace Envoy (Connorton) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Moved well. Anagram (Shanker) and Freedom Warrior (Amil) in 53s; (400m) 28s. Former was a length better. Note former. Pearl Dragon (Yasin) and Discomatic (Locke) in 53s; (400m) 26s. Former was a distance better. Archery (Domingo) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Moved well. Ispahan (Rutherfoprd) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Good.

Sand track

1,400m: Calabash (Bird), Ornate Crown (Yacoob) and Rare Gold Gajender) in 1-44s; (400m) 26s. The trio separated by a length each. Kyalami (Rutherford) in 1-45s; (400m) 29s. Sanctified Star (Locke) in 1-40s; (400m) 27s. Easy.

1,200m: Ballet Master (Connorton) in 1-25s; (400m) 27s.

1,000m: Smart Ruler (Yasin) and Primaticco (Upadhya) in 1-6s; (400m) 25s. Former was a length better.

800m: Calculus (Rb) in 55s; (400m) 25s. Pushed. Soviet Song (Gowli) in 47s; (400m) 24s. Moved attractively. Impressive Prince (Gurang) and Royal City (Connorton) in 51s; (400m); 25s. Level. Social Girl (Ashgar) and Moon Quest (Saran) in 52s; (400m) 26s. Level. Just Kidding (P. Alford) in 1-1s; (400m) 32s. Appyness (Amil) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Bold Chieftan (Gurang) in 50s; (400m) 24s. Handy. Sagittarian (Rutherford) in 1-0s; (400m) 31s.Artisia (Rb) in 51s; (400m) 24s. Fit.

Gate practice, 1,200m: (from 2,000 to 800m): Best In Show (Rb), Secret Way (Rabani) and Alibaba (Islam) in 1-26s. First 600m in 40s. First two jumped out well. They were separated bt 2 ls and a distance.

600m: (from 2,000m to 1,400m): Adorer (Rb) and Colonial (Som) and Blushing Brave (Kujur) in 39s. First two jumped out well. They were separated bt 2 ls and a distance.

On Tuesday, outer sand track

1,600m: Calorescence (C. Alford) in 1-58s; (400m) 29s. Impressed. Mack The Knife (Rutherford) in 1-57s; (400m) 28s. Good. Abroach (C. Alford) in 1-59s; (400m) 32s. Fit.

1,400m: Anolini (Amil) in 1-39s; (400m) 28s. Moved well. Ascoril (C. Alford) and Victory Waltz (Domingo) in 1-42s; (400m) 31s. Former a length better.

1,200m: Actress (Surender) in 1-27s; (400m) 30s.

1,000m: Royal City (Connorton) and Primaticco (Saran S.) in 1-17s; (400m) 29s. Level. Alternator (Connorton) in 1-14s; (400m) 29s. fit.

800m: Lady Shirley (Engineer) in 1-1s; (400m) 32s. Silver Victress (Bird) and Aklovic (Rb) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Level. Altegraph (C. Alford) and Actable (Surender) in 55s; (400m) 28s. Former 3 ls better.

600m: Allaying (C. Alford) and Alcalde (Rabani) in 39s; (400m) 26s. Former was 2 ls better. Alamito (C. Alford) in 40s; (400m) 26s. Good.

Sand track

1,200m: Solo Act (Brij S.) in 1-27s; (400m) 27s.

1,000m: Spanish Drums (B. Gurang) in 1-14s; (400m) 32s.

800m: Bold Chieftan (Upadhya) in 59s; (400m) 26s. Regency Times (Yasin) and Smart Ruler (Connorton) in 53s; (400m) 26s. Level. Social Girl (Upadhya) and Moon Quest (Connorton) in 56s; (400m) Lavel.

On Mondey, outer sand track

1,400m: Colonial (Rb) in 1-45s; (400m) 29s. Moved well. Asprey (Som S.) in 1-47s; (400m) 29s. Good.

1,200m: The Archer (Rutherford) in 1-35s; (400m) 29s. Easy.

800m: Annatto (Surender) in 57s; (400m) 30s. Easy.


Calcutta, Dec. 19: 
Although he missed out nearly 10 weeks of racing between the two seasons �monsoon and winter � owing to suspensions for various reasons, apprentice Rutherford Alford continues to make steady progress and has been making an earnest effort to maintain his strike rate.

Although the 18 year old is no match for his seasoned cousin, Cristopher, the Alford-blood that flows in his veins is bound to prosper in the times to come. On December 14, the apprentice booted home two winners against a Cup-treble scored by Cristopher for trainer Vijay Singh. But riding for champion stables and virtual freelancing are two different things. Switch the engagements and the apprentice may produce a similar result, though Cristopher�s experience does give him an edge in tight finishes.

Anatolia, for example, won the Breeders� Cup that looked like it would slip out of Cristopher�s grip in a desperately close encounter involving Romantic Notes who, in the hands of jockey Shanker, walked on to the scene late to force a camera-verdict.

The winner, by Classic Tale out of Gold Prospect, looked to be comfortable upfront in the stretch-run over the 1,100m scurry until the final 100m when the Mischievous Music-Pheasant Heights filly gained ground on her.

There is, however, little to write home about Cristopher�s other wins � on Ancheta in the Mauritius Belle Cup and Abashed in the INS Hooghly Cup. Ancheta displayed no discomfort as she returned to a six-furlong sprint from the Guineas� mile. She went about her task winning the race from the start and by a wide margin.

Abashed, too, made short-work of his eight rivals despite his topweight that told upon him in the closing stages of the race thus narrowing his effort down to a shade over a length.

There is no intention to draw comparisons between the cousins and their riding styles as Cristopher is an accomplished horseman while the apprentice still has his drawbacks. It is because his riding experience spans barely a year. But somehow, the apprentice displayed a mature head as he guided Fly By Alibi and On The Bit to victory in their respective events � the Winged Tiger Handicap and the upper division of the T. N. Banerjea Cup.

The former, a Mumbai migrant and known to be a rogue galloper, was despatch to the city after his numerous letdowns in the west. The speedy four-year-old by Fly Till Dawn out of What A Present was ridden in a check to profit. The race, however, had lost the competitive edge following the withdrawal of Vijay�s odds-on favourite Albright, the Cristopher-ride.

On The Bit, was made to run by Rutherford in close proximity of yet another of Vijay�s hot-favourites, Alegria, on whom apprentice S. Domingo aspired to make a winning debut. The speedy favourite was, however, never allowed the luxury of galloping close to the rails as Lawyer�s Love hindered the chartered course on her inside until the home turn. The Serious Spender-Arctic Theme filly did manage to shoot into the lead but that was all about her challenge. She looked to be tiring nearing the last furlong thus allowing Rutherford to sneak though the rails in a quick forward move for a facile win.

While the Alfords fought for the minors, it was Nic Connorton who walked away with the major event on the cards � the Bangalore Turf Club Cup, the Class I event that the Daniel David-trainee Beneficent won unchallenged from the start.


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