The Invader conquers Winter Derby

BRILLIANT: Jockey P Trevor guides The Invader to victory in the Catalyst Properties Bangalore Derby at the Bangalore Turf Club in Bengaluru on Saturday. DH PHOTO/BH SHIVAKUMAR

Top jockey P Trevor knew exactly when to pull the trigger as he piloted The Invader to a superb come-from-behind triumph in the Bangalore Winter Derby here on Saturday.

Staying behind the bunch and preserving the rig's energy nicely for the final thrust in the 2400-metre long Catalyst Properties Bangalore Derby, Trevor let The Invader loose in the final 300 metres and the four-year-old responded in devastating manner to hit the jackpot at the Bangalore Turf Club.

The stunning triumph, achieved the old fashioned way of not trying anything extravagant on the big day but just replicating training ground practices, was veteran mid-card trainer G Nityanand's maiden derby win and second classic success.

In one of the most open derby races in recent memory where bookmakers struggled to give odds, most of the contenders in the 13-horse field chose to play the waiting game. Play Safe, ridden by A Imran K, opted to set the pace while Eagleinthesky (Akshay Kumar up) and Mea Culpa (Neeraj Rawal) tagged just a length behind.

Although the trio maintained that position until the start of the final bend, the race was run at a sedate pace with no one willing to make the first move. As the horses emerged around the bend, David Allan, riding pre-race favourite Isn't She Lovely, decided to make the first move.

He whipped the S Padmanabhan-trained filly furiously to hit the front at the start of the final bend and as she charged ahead leaving the bunch in her wake, it seemed like Isn't She Lovely would gallop home to a scorching win.

Waiting patiently behind the pack all the while, Trevor then had no choice but to push The Invader right away. If he had delayed, Isn't She Lovely would have ended up opening an unbeatable lead. Trevor, one of the most sought after jockeys in the country, decided to hit the accelerator. 

With a clear field ahead, The Invader responded to Trevor's call and waged a stirring battle with Isn't She Lovely with 300 metres left. The Invader, showing enormous staying power, then powered into the lead with 200 metres left.

Prodded on by Trevor, The Invader just kept increasing gears. Isn't She Lovely, also pushed hard by Allan, tried hard to surge past The Invader. But The Invader was simply too strong, powering home in 2:33.86, two and three quarter lengths ahead of Isn't She Lovely and drawing plenty of cheers from the strong derby crowd.

New Moon, piloted by Arshad Alam, came third while Eagleinthesky was fourth.

"He jumped out slow and settled down beautifully like a staying horse. In between, it became a very crawling pace due to which I got a couple of checks. But nothing affected him. Came to the straights, pulled him out -- pulled him a little earlier than I wanted because I saw David Allen skipping from inside. Came the widest into the straight and he showed his class and won the race," said a delighted Trevor, who would be riding Arrowfield in the Golconda Derby Stakes at Hyderabad on Sunday.

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