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POSTED AT 06:54 AM 01-04-2019

Santos claims top win after thrilling photo-finish

RTC Spring and Summer Raceday Cup

Indian jockey Nikhil Parmar rides Santos to victory in a photo finish in the 1400-metre race for Class I Thoroughbred horses event.

A fitting finale to a much anticipated horse racing season brought back the glamour at the Racecourse in Nuwara Eliya yesterday as Santos and Baashagar gave the crowd in waiting a perfect end to the RTC Spring and Summer Raceday Cup.

The 1400-metre race for Class I Thoroughbred horses, which had seven top runners, as the judges had to thoroughly examine the thrilling photo finish before officially declaring Santos as the winner, by a wafer thin margin.

Santos, owned by Purni Edwards, trained S.D. Mahesh and ridden by Indian jockey Nikhil Parmar, made a great canter from the middle of the bunch to record an unexpected victory.

Baashagar, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Gamini Jayaratne and ridden by K. Sanjeewan, fell short by a whisker to finish off at second. Parushram, owned by David Anthony and ridden by Ajeet Kumar, was deemed as one of the favourites, but had to settle in at third, in a race where all seven runners were in a bunch from start to finish.

However, making a perfect start to the day, the Jayaratne’s, under the trainer S. Sridher, had recorded two wins, before missing out a rare hat-trick in the final Class I race. Earlier on trainer Sridher made his efforts put into work by preparing a strong combination, which could be ideal for the forthcoming two racedays in April.

Mr. and Mrs. Gamini Jayaratne opened the day after Star Scholar, ridden by K. Sanjeewan took the Hill Club Challenge Trophy, a Class V race of 1070 metres. Zulu Fantasy, owned by Purni Edwards and ridden by Nikhin Parmar, came in at second while Crimson Quest, one of the three horses owned by the Jayaratnes, and ridden by L. Dayalan, finished at third.

The Jayaratnes tasted their second win by claiming the Sunday Times Trophy, a Class III 1070 metre race, where six runners competed. Hasanga Jayaratne’s Icelandic, ridden by R.P. Shinde took an easy win while Olive, owned by the Fearless Stables and Stud Farms and ridden by jockey Aneel, finished at second. Charming Grey, owned by Deepthika Jayakody, and ridden by K.N. Darshan finished third.

Earlier on jockey S.D. Mahesh led Vigorous, owned by Ajantha de Soysa, all the way through 1070 metres to claim the Alpine Hotel Cup, the Class IV handicap race. A close fight was on for the second position, which Honorious, owned by the Fearless Stables and Stud Farm, and ridden by Aneel, snatched the slot from Starmont, owned by Purni Edwards and ridden by Parmar.

Just before the thrilling finale, Fearless Stables and Stud Farms claimed a double finish, as jockey Aneel steered Spirited Touch to win the Ranjit Dahanayake Memorial Cup, the 1400-metre race for Class II horses. Following closely behind at second was jockey K.N. Darshan, who rode Celestial Fire and gave his stable a one and two finish. Silver Streak owned by Deepthika Jayakody and ridden by Parmar, came in at third.

The Royal Turf Club (RTC) will gear up to host the two important race days in Arpil, which are promised with thrills and spills after Sunday’s show at the Racecourse in Nuwara Eliya. On 15 April, the RTC Governor’s Cup is scheduled to take place, followed by the RTC Magic Million Cup on 21st of April.