Temerity enters hall of fame

Neeraj Rawal pilots Pesi Shroff ward to stunning win as the favourite ends up in ninth spot

Temerity enters hall of fame

 Temerity outfoxed overwhelming favourite Hall Of Famer with a calculated late assault to exact sweet revenge and claim the grandest of spoils in Indian racing in thumping fashion here on Sunday.

In a race that looked like a near re-run of the Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby, Temerity, ridden brilliantly by Neeraj Rawal, showed extreme determination in producing a grandstand finish and clinch the Indian Turf Invitation Cup 2400 metres at a jam-packed Bangalore Turf Club.

David Allan, whose strategy to control the pace of a fast-paced race from the start itself backfired, had to settle for a shocking ninth place astride Hall Of Famer while Supreme General (P S Chouhan up), Azzurro (P Trevor) and Tororosso (Suraj Narredu) ended second, third and fourth respectively.

Held just after the Maj P K Mehra Memorial Super Mile Cup -- the other major event of the day -- where favourite Serjeant At Arms coasted to a crushing victory, all eyes were on Hall Of Famer, the Indian Derby champion.

Choosing to stick with the same strategy that paid rich dividends at Mumbai, Allan, piloting Hall Of Famer from gate 10, cut in sharply after the opening 100 metres to jump into early lead. Although that move surprised many of the 22,500 strong crowd considering the race was more about endurance than early burst of speed, Allan seemed confident of replicating the trick.

He crossed the start-finish line ahead of the pack and maintained the lead over the first two turns with Tororosso and Winter Renaissance (C S Jodha) behind and a little ahead of the remaining pack. Hall Of Famer kept bursting through the straight as all had their eyes transfixed on the big screen.

Unlike Mumbai where the track is flat, the final curve at BTC is slightly uphill that tests the stamina of the horses. Having travelled nearly 9500 kilometres since October last year, fatigue started to show on Hall Of Famer at the most important time.

She began to tire and following a massive jostle, Temerity emerged in front heading into the home straight. Supreme General and Tororosso too fought hard for the lead but Temerity packed that extra punch to nudge ahead.

Aware a big win was there for the taking, Rawal then started to push Temerity harder and over the next 150 metres opened up a massive lead. With about 100 metres, Temerity was in complete control and she then crossed the line in a BTC record-breaking time of 2:28.85.
The previous record for that distance here was set by Classic Style in 1992.

The victory capped a momentous weekend for trainer Pesi Shroff. His seven-year old geld Adam won the Mysore Race Club Sprinters’ Cup on Saturday and his day ended on fantastic note when he was adjudged Champion Trainer at the Indian Racing awards night.
Rawal then ensured Shroff had another major trophy to take home.

“It’s all God’s blessings,” said Shroff, a top jockey in his younger days and now a leading trainer. “After Indian Derby, I felt Temerity had some scope for improvement and that showed today. As her name suggests, she’s fearless and daring. She responded so brilliantly to Neeraj, who was fantastic today. He knew how to get the best out of her and he just did that.”

In the Super Mile Cup, one of two Grade I races of the day, Serjeant At Arms (A Sandesh astride) made up for the Indian Derby disappointment where he finished second. A crack super miler, he was tipped to not only to win but win it handsomely. He crossed the line five and a half lengths ahead of Common Wealth (S John). Shivalik Showers was third while La Dona (P Trevor) followed in at fourth.

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