Red Baron continued the good run currently enjoyed by the gold and brown brigade of Dr M A M Ramaswamy as the Hazara Stud Farm bred four year old gelding won the Gr 1 Kimmane Bangalore Derby on Sunday. The Karthik Ganapathy trainee made a quantum leap while giving the young trainer the first Derby success of his career. Only last week, the trainer had tasted his first Grade I success through Maple Star who had won the Indian Oaks to put the youngster in limelight after a longish wait.
The gold and brown colours which once dominated the classic scene in the country hadn't had much success in the last few years but there has been a sudden surge in fortunes, with four classics coming its way in less than a month. For the Hazara Stud Farm which has been on the ascendant, this was a back to back win in the event having won this race last year through Toroloco. The runner up Super Storm was also bred at the same stud farm.
The winter Derby has always been a poor cousin of the glamorous summer event. The quality of the field was run of the mill and there were question marks about the staying ability of most of the runners in the fray. Red Baron had proved his mettle over this trip but whether he was capable of winning a race of this magnitude was something that had to be proved. The horse answered in the affirmative while staving off the challenge of Super Storm and State Secret to win the race which offered the lowest stake money for a race of its kind at Rs 35,70,000.
Red Baron (Colm O' Donoghue up) winner of the Kimmane Bangalore Derby (Gr.1), being led in by Mr.Nirmal Singh, trainer Karthik Ganapathy & Mr.M A M R Muthaiah
Winning classics is the ultimate desire of any racing professional and it was the good fortune of Karthik that he had his horse at the right place at the right time. The progeny of Ad Valorem who is currently standing as a stallion in South Africa had in the summer season beaten Maximus who had gone on to shock Machiavellianism in the Golconda Guineas. This indicated that he had some class and there was a strong possibility that he would outstay the rest. Snow Bird had won the Oaks beating both State Secret and Jersey girl and since Super Storm had finished an impressive second to Wind Stream in the Mysore Derby, he by universal opinion, was the favourite to win the race though he was going over the 12 furlong trip for the first time.
Athletic Star set a steady pace followed by State Secret, Jersey girl, Maths Baby, Snow Bird, Red Baron, Super Storm and Shivalik Fire. Approaching the final bend, State Secret moved up to take over the running even as Snow Bird improved from behind but found herself out of depth this time. Red Baron made good progress on the wide outside and came into reckoning along with Super Storm who had an interfered passage into the straight being the widest of all.
State Secret fought tenaciously for a while before weakening allowing Red Baron to take charge. Irish jockey Colm O'Donoghue drove out Red Baron to contain the challenge of Super Storm who found himself short by a shade less than two lengths. State Secret occupied the third spot followed by Maths Baby while Snow Bird ran below par to finish a dismal fifth.
You can be more accurate which horse of Irfan Ghatala may not win but quite often you are stumped when trying to find out which one can actually win! Hillfiger had been a subject matter of an enquiry twice and had resulted in punitive action by the Stewards on one occasion during the summer season when stablemate was the winner. The performance this season of Hilfiger has proved that the action of the Stewards was right. The progeny of Burden of Proof recorded a back to back win in stiff company when getting the better of multiple classic winner Southern Bay in the closing stride of the race to win the highly competitive 1600 metres Mysore Race Club Trophy, a terms race for four year olds.
Magnitude Star brought the field into the straight with Southern Bay eager to take charge. Southern Bay went ahead inside the final quarter mile and fought on gamely and shaped like a winner. However, Hillfiger who was looking for room along the inside was cramped for a while before he got a clear run inside the final 100 metres. Hillfiger flew home to neck out Southern Bay in the dying moments of the race. Sprint Star finished on well to take the third spot while Ridgeway who was chopped off at the rails at a crucial stage of the race had to be satisfied with the fourth slot. Favourite Sovetskaya was prominent right through the race but flattened out in the final furlong.
Irfan Ghatala trained Ice Kingdom continued to let down her supporters for the third time in a row in the 1400 metres Nethravathi Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 45. Jockey Mulrennan who otherwise had a rewarding day did not position the favourite advantageously and ran into one problem or the other. This resulted in the favourite having to cover plenty of leeway and her finishing effort only served to highlight about the possibilities with a better quality effort. The well fancied Area of Darkness who raced prominently shot into the lead in the final furlong but was shocked close home by rank outsider Go Green whose reversal of form after 10 poor efforts certainly made many go red!
English jockey Jamie Spencer hasn't had a rewarding visit to India and Sovetskaya was another of the disappointing rides for him. He has since gone back not and surely his stint in India was disappointing. He could not adjust himself to the chaotic races and found a safe path of either going to the front or sitting way of the pace, out of turbulence. Arabian Warrior was slightly interfered at the start and he sat out in the rear. Though the full brother to Arabian Knight improved significantly in the straight, the jockey appeared to be disturbed by the erratic traffic he encountered. Favourite Strengthandwonder went on a start to finish mission and comfortably won from Bronzino who came up with a powerful charge but the horse perhaps did not relish the whip as he threw his leg in air in kicking action which caused his stride to be broken despite which he finished a noteworthy second. Noble Path was third. The horse to watch undoubtedly is Arabian Warrior who appears a good type of a horse.
On money favourite Anfield lost the Bharachukki Cup (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 45 to the well backed Union Jack. Jockey Pradeep Chouhan rode a strange sort of a race on the winner as he was not his vigorous best on the favourite. Abbas Dreams pulled himself to the third slot. Faraz Arshad trained Resurgent had no problem in winning the lower division of the race as well, with a start to finish dash, getting strong in the final furlong, to win by a widening margin of five lengths over Fire Storm.
Mountain Range tracked Courage In Red into the straight in the 1600 metres Indian Republic Trophy, a race for horses rated 60 to 85, and shot ahead inside the final 350 metres. However, Panamera who decided to put his best foot forward after two run of the mill efforts managed to get the nod in the final stride of the stride, being one hundredth of a second faster than the long-time leader. Radical Attraction ran on to finish third.
Neil Darashah's Cinnamon Rush won the Vidhana Soudha Cup (Div I), a seven furlong race for horses rated 40 to 65 but was lucky to do so. Apollo King was lethargic at the start and was tailed off last. Inside the final 200 metres, Apollo King covered acres of ground and came home with such a powerful run that in a matter of few more strides he could have gone past the eventual winner. The lower division of the race too went the way of Neil Darashah who thus rounded off his tally at three for the day. Adonis shot through the nails inside the final 100 metres and thwarted the bid of Six Shooter to go ahead and then held off the late surge of Saratoga Spring.