While horses, even pampered thoroughbreds, aren’t know to sleep in beds, if Sir Cecil had slept in one, he would have gotten up from the wrong side on the morning of the Colts.
The 75/100 offered on him, by the otherwise miserly Turf Accountants, was a fair clue on what to expect on entering The Bangalore Turf Club.
"My timekeeper says Sir Cecil can’t win"
"Cecil ran a fever after his last start"
And then there was Sir Cecil’s "gelding operation" that was but then wasn’t.
Sir Cecil’s prime challenger, Star Superior had caught his forty winks with no stress or strain. One look at him and you knew he had neighed, stretched and leapt out from the correct side of his bed/bedding to greet the morning sun.
Star Superior’s brilliant work and smashing victory in his last start had not gone unnoticed either and the Poonawalla’s, who have been adding to their collection of Excellent Art, made a winning bid for a share in Star Superior to add their collection.
All this was before the race.
During the race the drama only heightened. James Bond fans who have seen Octopussy, would remember the scene where Vijay Amritraj takes Bond on a hair-raising tuk tuk ride.
While the BTC stewards won't be conducting an enquiry to confirm if Barnabas’s jockey B.R. Kumar is an Amritraj or Bond fan, his ride showed that he is more inclined to the world of racing tuk tuk’s rather than race horses.
B.R. tore to the front as the gates opened and bumped into anyone he could. His victims were Spitfire & Sir Cecil. The bump got Sir Cecil keen, and he pulled, in a show of top horsemanship Neeraj Rawal settled his mount in a matter of a few strides. Considering the tight final verdict this may have been the defining moment where Sir Cecil won the race. Things were straightforward thereafter, with Barnabas playing pace maker - Sir Cecil sitting on Star Superior’s outside.
At the 400 the jockeys were flat out, getting their mounts to quicken,Sir Cecil two lengths in front. With 200 to go Star Superior seemed to have the measure of Sir Cecil but a strong finish from Neeraj saw Sir Cecil hold on to win.
This was a display not just of talent, grit and class but of a horse who had defied adversity. The hallmark of a true champion. The owners of the winner,The Borthers Brar from Sarinaga, were
in full attendance looking very sharp in their matching balck suits and shades.
The winning of the Colts is not the end of this story. It is only the beginning.
These two champions might meet again in three weeks in the Bangalore Derby. And the rumour mills will churn out their goods once again.