Sun Kingdom proves his class in splendid fashion

Sun Kingdom proves his class in splendid fashion

Bangalore Derby: Richard Hughes reigns supreme

Sun Kingdom and Richard Hughes showed their class in ample measure while grabbing the VIF Bangalore Derby (Grade I) in emphatic fashion here on Wednesday.

The surprises came via the second and third place finishers, with long shot Unleashed, brilliantly ridden by Chris Alford, coming in second and an even longer shot, TG McLaughlin-steered Sunnys Secret taking third. Third-favourite String Along finished fourth.

The 2400M race began with Spark Of Atan (P Mani up) and Rezoom, steered by Paul Mulrennan, setting a good pace. Sun Kingdom, the odds-on favourite, was placed in the middle of the large field as the horses went past the crowd for the first time.

Padmanabhan-ward Kilimanjaro, the second favourite, was bogged down by traffic and was finding it hard to negotiate some space for a run, leaving the colt in the back end of the field. Irfan Ghatala-trained Sun Kingdom, meanwhile, was also getting stuck in traffic and was being boxed in by the rails.

In the straight, leaders Spark Of Atan and Rezoom made their move. Sun Kingdom, still trying to negotiate the traffic, was in serious trouble of being left behind. This is where Hughes showed his true prowess. He calmly took the colt clear and found some space on the outside.  Sun Kingdom, with some room, put in his trademark final burst and blew away the frontrunners to win by a comfortable length from an impressive, fast- finishing Unleashed.

“I was worried initially about the traffic. That’s always the problem when you have a large field. I knew if I got stuck by the rails, then I would not have enough time or space to put in the final run,” Hughes, winner with Moonlight Romance in the Summer Derby, said.

“Once I negotiated the traffic and found some daylight, I knew the race was over. I knew my horse would take care of the rest,” he added.

“We will have to decide now if we want to send him (Sun Kingdom) to the Indian Derby,” Prem Tharani, joint-owner of the Derby winner, said.

“I’m going to be spoiled for choice if Sun Kingdom is also going to run in the Indian Derby. With Ocean And Beyond and Moonlight Romance already in,  “I will decide which horse to ride on how I feel on that particular day,” a beaming Hughes, who has been retained by Wadhawan Livestock Ltd to ride for them, added.

The grand prize of a Maruti Swift Dezire, for guessing correctly the first four places of the Derby, went to Kalappa with Sreedhar taking home the second prize of a Hyundai i10. The third prize, a Karizma bike, went to Bhaji.

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