Romantic Notes kept her date with the Fillies classic, the Calcutta 1,000 Guineas, last Sunday. It was, however, a close affair for the Vijay Singh-trained filly who was expected to romp home following her cantering win over Assertive Dancer on the opening day of the season.
Bear in mind, Assertive Dancer was rated as a classic material last winter, though all was not well with her during the monsoon season.
Ridden by Cristopher Alford, Romantic Notes was given a fright by Another Time who seemingly made rapid improvement in the hands of Aslam Kader. Exactly 10 days ago the Razeen-Roccobarocco filly from MAM Ramaswamy’s string of horses was found to be underdone, thus badly letting down as a firm favourite. The time gap between her two starts was so tight that one hardly expected her to do anything great, especially beating the 8-10 hot-favourite daughter of Mischevious Music -Pheasant Heights.
Purists may still argue that the three parts of a length victory posted by Vijay’s trainee was an emphatic effort. But add another twenty metres to the race Another Time chews up the winner as she was in full motion after sticking to the rear until the final turn.
Yes, going by her style of run Another Time gives the impression that she is definitely an Oaks filly, though ‘Guineas’ could have been hers if the first classic was deferred by a week or so.
The afternoon was a virtual contest between Cristopher Alford and Aslam Kader. Giving little importance to win, loss or a draw, it was a good sight to see a quality horsemanship. Earlier on Wednesday, Cristopher had contested the card all the way with Amyn Merchant to drive home the advantage from a tally of five scored between the two riders.
However, the star performer of the afternoon was Nationalistic, who in the 1,200m Galstaun Cup, scored a narrow but brilliant victory in the hands of Merchant. Known to be comfortable over middle distances, the Razeen-Vision of India gelding was totally out-paced in a sprint and was content to trail a field of eight until the final turn. Once in the home-stretch, the Daniel David-trainee, initially, inched his way up but a reminder alerted the three-year-old gelding to necessity and he flew in the last 100m to put his long neck ahead of Alsheim who was at the helm from the start.
Incidentally, Alsheim was there to cut pace and upset the rhythm of the favourite that may have helped his better-fancied stable-mate Sea Royale do something worthwhile. Sea Royale, however, finished fourth after rousing some interest nearing the distance post.
In the Eastern Air Command Cup, it was Callisto who justified her short odds as the Brave Hunter-Aunti Katie daughter went about her task of winning trophy without causing any mental stress.