Serjeant At Arms powers to victory

Serjeant At Arms powers to victory

Sandesh guides three-year-old colt to brilliant win, making it a hat-trick of Derby wins for Attaollahi

Serjeant At Arms powers to victory
In a race that remained true to the script, overwhelming favourite Serjeant At Arms maintained his brilliant form to clinch the Kingfisher Ultra Derby Bangalore (Grade I) with a scintillating display here at Bangalore Turf Club on Sunday.

Competing in his maiden 2000-metre race, the three-year-old colt, piloted by A Sandesh, paced his run to perfection and crossed the line in 2:05.80 to fetch a prize money of Rs 1,48,50,000 for his owners.

In a gripping battle for the second spot, Aster Rose (S John astride) pulled off a superb last-gasp effort to finish ahead of Ice Glacier (Neeraj Rawal up), who came third.

The victory marked a hat-trick of Derbys for veteran trainer SS Attaollahi, who had earlier tasted a double with Angel Dust, which won the Kingfisher Derby last summer and the Garuda Bangalore Derby this January.

“I didn’t even realise that it was a hat-trick until somebody told me. It is a feeling I cannot express and the win is something that I cannot express in words,” said an elated Attaollahi.

“At the end of the day, it is the quality of the horse that decides the result. We didn’t have any specific strategy for the race.  Our jockey (Sandesh) was aware of his job and we just reminded him not to be over-confident. Overall, I feel the pace was important in the race and we kept up a good pace to go all the way,” added Attaollahi.  

On a breezy evening, with no rain to disrupt the Derby-day action, the all-important race began with Whomakestherules (Suraj Narredu up) surging ahead to gain a considerable lead, followed by Ice Glacier (Neeraj Rawal up) and Serjeant At Arms.  

Whomakestherules remained in front even after the third bend and the promising filly Aster Rose upped his speed to make the battle interesting. Serjeant At Arms did well to avoid traffic and kept a consistent pace to remain in fray. After the last bend, with 300 metres ahead of the finishing mark, Serjeant At Arms started steaming ahead to get past Ice Glacier and then put Aster Rose behind with ease.

Jockey Sandesh exerted more pressure on his colt, who responded in fine fashion to storm past Whomakestherules to gain the lead. Producing tremendous speed, Serjeant At Arms continued to widen the gap and finished off the contest in style.

Final push
Aster Rose gave it her all in the final 50 metres to secure second spot, three-quarters of a length behind Serjeant At Arms. Whomakestherules, appearing to have run out of steam, failed to produce the final push and fell back behind Ice Glacier to finish fourth.

“My team believed in me and they put the onus on me to decide the strategy,”  said Sandesh. “Since my horse began moving well in the final stage of the race, I didn’t feel much pressure from my opponents.

“I rank this as my best win mainly because I was the favourite and I managed to pull it off. My horse responded to my instructions brilliantly throughout and I am so happy to have ridden Serjeant At Arms,” added Sandesh, who had won two Derbys in Bengaluru in the 2012-13 season.

Sandesh capped off a brilliant performance on the day, emerging winner in four other races apart from the Derby. The 24-year-old from Matheran, Maharashtra, topped in the Mysore Division Cup (Div II, 1400M), Kolkata Cup (1800M), Hyderabad Cup (1400M) and Mysore Cup (Div I, 1400M).

On a day when 23,000 fans thronged the BTC, seven favourites obliged in a card of nine races. As a gesture to the champion, BTC painted the jockey’s statue at its entrance with colours donned by Sandesh.  
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