Classy Agostini a cut above the rest
The unpredictable nature of the Bangalore Winter Derby was evident at the starting gate but hundred metres from the finish line there was going to be only one winner. And that winner was the energetic Agostini.
Ridden to perfection by 22-year-old Barbadian Louis-Phillipe Beuzelin, the four-year-old colt, who has had a very good season so far, crossed the finish line in a time of two minutes and 33.37 seconds to bag the Rs 1.75 lakh worth trophy and the winners’ prize of Rs 63.12 lakh.
Czar Of Romance (A Sandesh up) punched well above his weight and finished a length and a half behind the winner in the 2400M race while Ambitious Reward (Suraj Narredu up) produced an inspiring run towards the end to take the third place finish on a Sunday that bore no semblance to a usually grandiose affair that is the Derby.
The spectators -- 22,000 at the time of the Derby -- flocked the Bangalore Turf Club despite the low-key build up and the lack of an established runner for the seventh event of the nine-card race. However, the ones that skipped the event assuming that the race would be one to forget, were proved wrong from the time the twelve Derby contenders trotted out of the gates.
It took a while for the horses to settle in and by then, the horses had eaten up over 700 metres. The R Marshall-piloted Amazonas had hit the front followed by a calm looking Agostini and the trigger-happy Arrogant Approach (I Chisty up).
Aware of the relatively steep climb towards the finish line and his horse’s ability to pull out to the front in quick time, Beuzelin ensured that he remained just behind the frontrunners. Arrogant Approach and Amazonas both broke away from the pack on a couple of occasions but Agostini never let them out of sight.
Beuzelin, who had guided Agostini to a win in the 2000-metre Chief Minister’s Trophy a few weeks ago at the same venue, moved ahead when he thought the pace was too slow and stepped back when one of the others took to setting pace.
The cat-and-mouse game prevailed until Agostini caught sight of the final stretch coming out of the bend. Slowly Beuzelin steered the colt from the stables of Dr & Mrs Mallya’s United Racing and Bloodstock Breeders clear of the traffic.
Beuzelin, however, continued to wait for the right moment before fully letting go. Arrogant Approach and Amazonas, meanwhile, remained on his hind but it was Czar Of Romance that Agostini needed to be concerned about.
The Dominic-trained four-year-old was on the outside stretch while Arrogant Approach and Amazonas slowly slipped behind. Capitalising on the two former frontrunners losing the battle of stamina, Ambitious Reward, Ace Badraan and Argiano broke from the mid-pack and came ahead, but they were not going to threaten Agostini who had by then opened up a lead of over three lengths.
Czar Of Romance was the only one with enough energy left to challenge Agostini. Pushing with no more than hundred metres left, Czar Of Romance closed in on Agostini but by the time he got a clear shot, Beuzelin cut the tape with his tongue sticking out as if it to say ‘that was close’.
“I was waiting for someone to set pace but no one bothered so I went ahead and when one horse came ahead I stepped off the accelerator,” said Beuzelin, who had earned praise from Italian racing legend Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori at an early age.
“It’s like a car race. One needs to know when to push because unlike cars, horses get bored when they have nothing challenging them. Their minds tend to wander and by the time you know it, the race is lost.
“I knew that the final stretch is an incline so I waited long enough. After that he took off and he didn’t look back. He still had so much energy left in him. Phenomenal!” remarked the jockey.
Winter Derby Results
1. Bharachukki Cup (Div II) 1200M: Prazsky (Marthand Singh Mahindra & Ashraf Salam’s) PS Chouhan 1; Clueless (Indrajeet Singh) 2; Vigrous (S John) 3; Tradition (Mudassar) 4; WB: 4, 1-1/4, 1/2L; T: 1:13.91; Tote: Rs 50w, Rs 17, Rs 48, Rs 13p; TB: Dhariwal; Fav: Vigorous; Fc: Rs 1,107; Q: Rs 409; SHP: Rs 167; Tri: Rs 2,052 and Rs 670; Exp: Rs 2,0125 and Rs 8,625.
2. NRCE Cup 1400M: Connemara (Marthand Singh Mahindra, Mrs Rina Mahindra & Hyperion Bloodstock Pvt Ltd’s) PS Chouhan 1; Fairwood Park (I Chisty) 2; Supreme Dominator (Suraj Narredu) 3; Sharp Witted (B Sreekanth) 4; WB: 1-3/4, 3/4, 9-1/4L; T: 1:26.99; Tote: Rs 54w, Rs 14, Rs 12, Rs 12p; TB: Dhariwal; Fav: Supreme Dominator; Fc: Rs 99; Q: Rs 40; SHP: Rs 31; Tri: Rs 97 and Rs 45; Exp: Rs 392 and Rs 295.
3. Mysore Race Club Trophy 1600M: Ridgeway (Dilip Thomas rep Rajagiri Rubber & Produce Co Lt & Vinayaka Breeders Pvt Ltd’s) Srinath 1; Inquisition (I Chisty) 2; Equine Lover (David Allan) 3; Super Storm (Suraj Narredu) 4; WB: 3, 1/2, 2L; T: 1:38.17; Tote: Rs 39w, Rs 18, Rs 48p; TB: A Mangalorkar; Fav: Immense; Fc: Rs 523; Q: Rs 120; SHP: Rs 79; Tri: Rs 1,230 and Rs 289; Exp: Rs 3,426 and Rs 1,020.
4. Bharachukki Cup (Div I) 1200M: Jackie Oh (S Pathy’s) S John 1; Arta (R Marshall) 2; Cadogan (Shobhan Babu) 3; Jet Set Go (Gnaneshwar) 4; WB: 1-1/2, 4-3/4, 2L; T: 1:14.41; Tote: Rs 42w, Rs 18, Rs 26, Rs 14p; TB: I Ghatala; Fav: Cadogan; Fc: Rs 121; Q: Rs 37; SHP: Rs 80; Tri: Rs 362 and Rs 115; Exp: Rs 2,093 and Rs 1,462.
5. Vidhana Soudha Cup (Div I) 1400M: Ice Cutter (Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan, Waryam Singh and Ashok Kumar Gupta rep Wadhawan Livestock Pvt Ltd’s) Suraj Narredu 1; Summer Sun (Dashrath S) 2; Magnitude Star (Prabhakaran) 3; Wrekin (S John) 4; WB: 3/4, 2-1/2, Snk; T: 1:26.38; Tote: Rs 31w, Rs 16, Rs 15, Rs 28p; TB: I Ghatala; Fav: Ice Cutter; Fc: 85; Q: Rs 31; SHP: Rs 46; Tri: Rs 220 and Rs 131; Exp: Rs 2,046 and Rs 1,558.
6. Indian Republic Trophy 1600M: Ice Storm (Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan, Waryam Singh & Ashok Kumar Gupta rep Wadhawan Livestock Pvt Ltd’s) Dashrath S 1; Ratham (S John) 2; Potomac (PS Chouhan) 3; Talisker (Prabhakaran) 4; WB: 1/2, 1/2, 2L; T: 1:38.30; Tote: Rs 25w, Rs 13, Rs 19, Rs 20p; TB: I Ghatala; Fav: Ice Storm; Fc: Rs 74; Q: Rs 54; SHP: Rs 48; Tri: Rs 256 and Rs 152; Exp: Rs 5,391 and Rs 4,201.
7. Bangalore Derby (Grade I) 2400M: Agostini (Dr & Mrs Vijay Mallya rep Utd Rac & B’stock Breeders Ltd & Ashok Rampise’s) L Beuzelin 1; Czar Of Romance (A Sandesh) 2; Ambitious Reward (Suraj Narredu) 3; Ace Badraan (Dashrath S) 4; WB: 1-1/2, 4-1/2, 2L; T: 2:33.27; Tote: Rs 39w, Rs 17, Rs 24, Rs 30p; TB: Dhariwal; Fav: Agostini; Fc: Rs 252; Q: Rs 58; SHP: Rs 63; Tri: Rs 722 and Rs 390; Exp: Rs 9,835 and Rs 3,967.
8. Nethravathi Trophy 1400M: Frankness (Rajan Aggarwal & Gautam Agarwal’s) I Chisty 1; Regal Soldier (PS Chouhan) 2; As Good As It Gets (Ashok Kumar) 3; Tanganyika (Appu) 4; WB: 3, 1, 1/2L; T: 1:26.67; TB: D Byramji; Fav: Frankness; Fc: Rs 69; Q: Rs 34; SHP: Rs 49; Tri: Rs 1,271 and Rs 756; Exp: Rs 13,900 and Rs 3,177.
9. Vidhana Soudha Cup (Div II) 1400M: Click (HK Lakshman Gowda, Ashok Raghavan & BK Medappa’s) P Kiran Rai 1; Ballantoy (Irvan Singh) 2; Magnomical (Prabhakaran) 3; Simpleton (S John) 4; WB: Lnk, 2, 1-1/4L; T: 1:27.15; Tote: Rs 27w, Rs 15, Rs 21, Rs 43p; TB: Narayana Gowda; Fav: Click; Fc: Rs 179; Q: Rs 70; SHP: Rs 59; Tri: Rs 946 and Rs 704; Exp: Rs 2,740 and Rs 990.
Jackpot: Rs 1,496 (1267). Runner-up: Rs 195 (4165). I Mini-jackpot: Rs 763 (50).
II Mini-jackpot: Rs 1,087 (65).
I Treble: Rs 91 (284).
II Treble: Rs 268 (172).