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Allan's confidence in the winner paid off - By Shailendra Awasthi | TOI

Posted on - 08 Feb 2016

Allan's confidence in the winner paid off
- By Shailendra Awasthi

Mumbai: Jockey David Allan's confidence in his mount Desert God paid rich dividends when he steered S Padmanabhan-trained colt to a thrilling win in the Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby at the Mahalaxmi racecourse on Sunday .
The English jockey , who had won the most sought-after race in Indian racing with Moonlight Romance five years ago, used his judgment and decided to skip trainer S Padmanabhan's instruction with his-job-is-just-to-trainwhile-mine-is-to-ride attitude. He was desperately looking for an opening at the top of the home stretch. However, once he got a chance to slip through the rails nearing 200 metres, he grabbed it with his both hands. “Once I found a clear path for my mount, I knew he will stay the distance with authority . I wasn't even bothered about Myrtlewood, who was coming with a great dash close to the winning post,“ Allan told TOI.
For Bangalore-based ace trainer Padmanabhan, it was his second Indian Derby crown after his great filly In The Spotlight had won in 2012. Desert God's victory brought a rare honour for Padmanabhan who became the first ever man in 74-year-old Indian Derby history to own, train and breed the winner. Desert God was bred by Padmanbhan at Kunigal Stud Farm. Desert God is co-owned by Col. Swapan Bhadra.
“When this colt had won the Deccan Derby in Hyderabad last year, I felt he is a champion in the making,“ said Padmanabhan.Desert God later went on to win Mysore and Kolkata Derby too besides winning the Kolkata 2000 Guineas.
Champion undone by crowd?
The biggest field of 20 horses in 68 years had already given sleepless nights to trainers and jockeys. Af er the race, the big field came in or a lot of criticism from professionals. Reacting on what went wrong for Myrtlewood, ace trainer Pesi Shroff said that the best horse won but when asked to go into de ails, the former champion jockey did not hide his displeasure for the crowded field. “If only good horses were to run, the results could have been different,“ said Shroff.
Padmanabhan, too felt that au horities should try and restrict he number of participants. “We should go for quality rather than quantity ,“ he said. Defending the owners' right to seek Derby glory, Vivek Jain, media and marketing chief of the Royal Western India Turf Club, said: “It would be unfair to horse owners if a restriction is put in place on the number of contenders. It is every owners dream and there have been instances when horses with no chance have won. Take the case of Noble Eagle who won in 2003 when he was no hoper and was there to just set the pace,“ Jain said.
Fantastic day
There was big crowd to witness the great race which impressed liquor baron and sponsor of the event Vijay Mallya too. “It was perhaps one of the best Derby day crowd I have seen,“ Mallya said during the presentation ceremony , appreciating efforts of RWITC officials for putting up a superb show.

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