It was the perfect weather conditions for horse racing at the picturesque town of Nuwara Eliya, when Santos walked away with the Wijeya Publications Challenge Trophy for Class 1 and 2 Handicap,the main race for the day, along with Jockey L. Dayalan at the Royal Turf Club (RTC) Easter Sunday Racing Bonanza Raceday held at the RTC Racecourse, Nuwara Eliya yesterday. It was the perfect weather conditions for horse racing at the picturesque town of Nuwara Eliya, when Santos walked away with the Wijeya Publications Challenge Trophy for Class 1 and 2 Handicap,the main race for the day, along with Jockey L. Dayalan at the Royal Turf Club (RTC) Easter Sunday Racing Bonanza Raceday held at the RTC Racecourse, Nuwara Eliya yesterday.
Chandima Weerakkody, Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
Marking the opening of the flamboyant ‘season’ of the little town of Nuwara Eliya, the RTC Easter Sunday Cup for Class 5 Handicap horses kicked off at 11 am as the first race for the day. Zulu Fantasy along with Jockey L. Dayalan managed to win the race quite comfortably, giving Mr. & Mrs. Edwards their first win out of three for the day. The duo took a massive lead after the final bend to walk away with the win, with Krabi getting the better of the tightly packed set of runners to claim second place. Cosmopolitan finished in on third.
The second race of the day was the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training Challenge Trophy for Class 4 Handicaps, which consisted of a length of 1070m. Stormont put on a sensational run on display as the horse, ridden by Jockey Irvan Singh, powered its way amidst tight competition from Another Ace to claim the win. Jockey Singh was making his first appearance after experiencing a nasty accident along with the mighty Charlatan last year. Coming in second was Another Ace and Jockey D. S. Rathore while Vigorous was able to get ahead of the rest to finish on third place. Honouriuos, the only horse entered to the second race by Fearless Stables and Stud Farms, had to be withdrawn prior to the race after dropping Jockey A. Vishwanath while on the way to be put in the stalls.
Glittering, owned by Dr. Priyadarshani Dadigama, was able to win the Edward Collection Challenge Trophy for Class 3 Handicap which was next on schedule, after out powering Gazaki in the final stretch of the race. Charming Grey took pole position mid-way of the race, after Icelandic got off to a flying start. But it was Glittering and Jockey Irvan Singh who got in forward as the race progressed. Arabian Gold along with Jockey L. Dayalan came in third. Santos and Jockey L. Dayalan were on fire as the duo swept aside competition to win the Wijeya Publications Challenge Trophy for Class 1 and 2 Handicap in great style. Roswald broke off to an excellent run as the race kicked off but was overtaken by Silver Streak and Jockey Nikhil Parmar, both owned by Deepthika Jayakody, before the second bend. They managed to enjoy their stay at pole position with tight competition from Charlemagne, who was having a great run at second place.
The couple of riders pulled off well ahead of the rest of the pack but showed signs of slowing down close to the final bend. And then with a perfectly executed run, Santos got ahead of the duo in front much to the surprise of everyone. A good 50m was all that was needed by Santos to clear itself from the rest to claim the victory in an emphatic way. Shell-shocked Charlemagne ended second while Silver Streak managed to finish third.
With the completion of yet another successful set of races, the RTC would be hosting their next event on April 15, a race day you would not want to miss.
By Shannon Nicholas in Nuwara Eliya
Photos ROYAL TURF CLUB