| C.Alford on Psychic Flame
Avirtual stranger till about a fortnight ago, Psychic Flame now has a Guineas’ double in her kitty. An easy winner of the 1000 Guineas on November 22, the Darius Byramji-trainee achieved the rare distinction of winning the 2000 Guineas as well last Saturday.
The male domination in the ‘2000’ brand of classic has been such that fillies normally shied away from it and concentrated more on the Oaks, the fillies’ Derby. But the way the Razeen-Eminence daughter had whipped her rivals in the Ladies variety of the Guineas, she had served notice to her male counterparts.
Psychic Flame did keep her date with the ‘2000’ but it was no cakewalk for her. The even-money favourite, who won the first classic of the season in her career’s third start, was pressed to beat Aretino by half-a-length. But her jockey, C. Alford, had a yard or two in hand while C. Rajendra, on Aretino, was seen trying every trick he knew to foil the Flame’s efforts. Therefore, the official verdict is bound to flatter the beaten horse from Vijay Singh’s yard.
Unlike the ‘1000’, when she was ridden off the pace until the home-turn, Psychic Flame, on this occasion, was kept in third behind Actuary, who cut a sizzling pace, and Aretino. She jumped into the fray no sooner Actuary shot her bolt at the top of the stretch and Aretino had just gone past the leader. The brief duel that followed, in the final 250m, may have raised hopes for the followers of Aretino but Psychic Flame always appeared to be travelling better of the two. She is bound to go into the Derby as the favourite.
Darius’ juggernaut rolled on from the Guineas onwards. The crafty trainer went on to strike a hattrick of wins as his Hamilton and Small Fry claimed their respective events. Hamilton’s victory, particularly, was a bloodless one as the four-year-old, for a major part of the 1,400m trip, lay a virtual last in a big field of 12 runners. He devoured ground nearing the distance-post to retire a three-length winner. He may soon find himself top of the highest class.
The rest of the four events were divided among trainers Vijay Singh, Daniel David and Javed Khan. The last-named, in fact, picked up two races, and his ward Compassionate, despite her topweight in the Amrit Bhushan Gujral Cup, did a Hamilton, albeit in Class IV.
Vijay, on the other hand, saw two of his runners, Reminiscent and Calorific, fighting a desperate battle for supremacy in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy that the former won by the skin of the teeth.
The week had, in fact, been, a very profitable one for both, Vijay and Javed. Earlier on Wednesday, Vijay had landed a treble — through Aperitivo, Adderly and Inside Story — against Javed’s two winners Toe Poke and Mayan Hiss. All of them were rather impressive in their efforts.