The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Psychic Flame win was no fluke


Psychic Flame’s victory in the Calcutta 1000 Guineas, last Saturday, may have confounded those who were not familiar with what the old timers normally called as the Byramji-magic. The senior pro, Rashid, in his hey days, was known to transform even an ordinary galloper into a champion. The mantle now seems to have been passed on to his son, Darius. But injustice will be done to Darius if his hard work with Psychic Flame is translated as a fluke victory in the Guineas against over Own Vision who would also go in the record books as the ‘black type’ — a classic winner.

Psychic Flame had been a maiden till she lifted the Guineas, and hence the confusion. Only time will tell whether it was the switch to blinkers or her late maturity that had inspired the well-bred Razeen-Eminence daughter to produce a champion-like performance. A change of track is also known to have done wonders to some horses. Nevertheless, her debut had been delayed till Bangalore summer when, in a sprint, she gave the potential 2000 Guineas favourite, Aretino, a real fright. The class was, therefore, always there and what she needed was experience and maturity after her unproductive stopover in Pune.

Psychic Flame won like a seasoned campaigner and her jockey C. Alford could not have expected the victory coming so easy as he rode her off the pace in the five-horse Guineas’ line-up. She produced an electrifying run when urged for efforts on the wide out in the stretch run.

Darius’ pressing commitment may have kept him away from the city but he must have rued missing the stylish victory of his filly in the Guineas and also his other ward Hamilton, earlier in the afternoon. In fact, both horses had enjoyed sizeable support in the betting ring — the Flame was third in demand at 7-2 after the 7-10 hot-favourite Own Vision and 5-2 fancy Evangeline. However, it was only a brief while that the favourite enjoyed the lead before the Flame made her scintillating run.

Hamilton, in the 1,600m Darbhanga Cup, enjoyed a much bigger following at 12-10, notwithstanding the presence of Accuser, the monsoon Derby winner. The visiting jockey M. Poirier had the four-year-old settled in third while C. Alford tried the runaway tactics on the 16-10 second favourite Accuser. It, therefore, hardly came as a surprise when the leader came to a grinding halt about 200m from home.

Poirier was again at his best in the 1,400m Mayfowl Cup while partnering a seven-year-old Allodium from Bharath Singh’s yard. In fact, it was about a re-run of the Guineas and the 6-1 lesser fancied but trusted galloper had a comfortable measure of The Archer who had been doing well in his morning workouts.

The Wednesday’s racing was equally exiting. Aretino won the 1,400m Galstaun Cup, his lead up race to the 2,000 Guineas with ridiculous ease giving his trainer Vijay Singh his second winner on the day. In the day’s opener, Vijay’s Reminiscent had asserted his superiority over Daniel David’s baby, Bold Raider, who went on to make amends on Saturday.

Trainer Javed Khan, too, made his presence felt when a well-backed Prime Contender made the So Amazing Handicap field look like a bunch of novices. Equally effortless winner was Javed’s other favourite, Say It Loud, in the 1,600m Eastern Air Command Cup. Bharath’s lesser-fancied Ever Lasting Love, on the other hand, made every post of the 1,200m Commanche Cup a winning one to down a heavily fancied Smart Charmer.

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