The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Noble Eagle takes all by surprise

Mumbai: Noble Eagle, a rank-outsider, walked away with the most prized event of the Indian turf, the 2,400m McDowell Indian Derby, at the Mahalaxmi Sunday. Jockey P. Belose partnered the Vinayak-trainee to a start-to-finish victory.

The brilliance of his English sire Alnasr Alwasheek and the staying potential of Irish dam Zografi pumped in all the required ingredients for Noble Eagle to give a galloping lesson to his 13 rivals. Considered to be good upto a mile race, it must, however, be admitted that Belose displayed very matured jockeyship when he decided to give a breather to the Eagle passing the 800m marker. The winner relished it all. As a result of this, Noble Eagleís lead was cut down from four lengths to less than three, thus raising hopes for fancied runners like Zurbaran and Classical Act to make their determined effort.

It was, however, not to be. Belose soon realised the potential of a Derby win and made the Eagle collect his energy and put paid to the oppositionís aspirations.

Zurbaran almost chased the winner from the start leaving his jockey, Aslam Kader, to try every trick that could help him catch up with the winner.

Classical Act, of course, raised hope among his backers nearing the 800m marker when Pesi Shroff started to weave his way up on the wide out of the field. However, the closest that the 7-4 favourite could come to Zurbaran was three lengths, leave alone the Eagle who continued to go great guns. The Jaggy Dhariwal-trainee, however, folded up like a pack of cards inside the last furlong, allowing Rapiers and Oaks-winning filly Twin Star to come with in with late runs and occupy the other slots.

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