CHARLATAN - NUWARA ELIYA's FIRST EQUINE MILLIONAIRE
BY CYRUS. J. MADAN
There's been a magic in the air all week here in Nuwara Eliya. The pretty Hill Station town that looks straight of the Swiss Alps has never seen so
many people. And on Saturday 16th April, part of that horde descended on to the Royal Turf Club race course which was all set to perform some magic
of its own - THE KUNIGAL STUD MAGIC MILLION.
The Royal Turf Club, Nuwara Eliya, was all geared up to host the first ever running of a Million Race. Stepping in to do the honours as a sponsor was one of India's leading Stud Farms - The Kunigal Stud, located on the outskirts of Bangalore, in the State of Karnataka.
Run over a distance of 1800 Metres, the KUNIGAL STUD MAGIC MILLION boasted of an Advertised Stake of 1.75 Million Sri Lankan Rupees with the winner taking home a cool million. It had never happened before so this was history in the making for the Royal Turf Club.
A field of six Rated Over 80 had accepted and been declared to start and the carnival crowd that packed the stands roared as the gates clanged open to dispatch the half dozen on their 1800 metre romp to a million.
Charlatan ( Burden Of Proof ex Corsican Gal) a bay 6 year old gelding, known to be a bit of difficult customer was on his best behaviour this time.
Trained by S.P. Raju and ridden by the Bangalore professional Irvan Singh, Charlatan cruised to a five length victory. He sported the colours of
the effervescent and elegant Ms. Deepthika Jayakody who had her cup of joy filled in triplicate as the first three across the line all carried
her silks. The gutsy Alcazaba( Burden Of Proof ex Alhambrah) was second and she in turn was 4 lengths the good of Roswald ( Placerville ex Avec
Plasir) who was third.
The only tantrum Charlatan threw was when he refused to come back to be led in. But Ms. Deepthika Jayakody knew him better and coaxed him back to pose for the photographers who just couldn't get enough of them.
Kunigal Stud's Mr. Zeyn Mirza was ecstatic about the Farm having been a part of Royal Turf Club history and the fact that Kunigal breds had finished
first and second was the icing on the cake.
The seven race programmed kicked off at 10.30 on Saturday morning, with the Ministry of Tourism Cup. Icelandic (Oratorio ex Concept) who had won the Dashmesh Stud Cup last week produced another gutsy performance under jockey A. Imran Khan to win by a length from Indian Epic ( Epicentre ex Cosmic Swirl) who was a close second. The winner is trained by S.V. Madialagan.
The RTC Queens Cup run over 2000 metres for horses rated 61 to 80 saw Ice Mint ( Placerville ex Shalya) relish the trip to give Irvan Singh an armchair ride to a 7 length victory. Trainer S.D. Lalith produced the 10 year old in superb condition and the outcome was never in doubt from the time they started negotiating the turn.
Don Hasa from the stable of Sridhar Selvaratnam piloted by Bangalore based A. Vishwanath won the third race of the day - The Blackpool Hotel Cup well enough to make amends for finishing second in his last start to Indian Epic. Three lengths separated him from Perfect who was second.
It was a Cosmopolitan crowd at the racecourse and that along with the revised Handicap Ratings should have been enough to announce Cosmopolitan
as the winner. The 4 year old bay mare by Strength to Suceed ex Salanga ridden by the Srilankan based professional Dhinesh pegged back Christmas
Cake who beat her last time. The winner was schooled by Jayantha Wijesinghe.
The last two races of the day for half and three quarter breds saw Dhinesh once again in the limelight as he guided the the A.V.K D'Silva Rebath to an easy 4 length victory while in the last race the Araliya Green Hills Hotel Cup Queen Of The Hill won convincingly.
The professional honours were evenly shared. Amongst the jockeys Irvan Singh and Dhinesh rode a double each while among the trainers Jayanta Wijesinghe
was the only one with a brace.
All in all it was once again a day of high fashion, super music and a carnival atmosphere which saw Charlatan put his name into the record books as the winner of the first ever Million run on the Nuwara Eliya Turf.