Indian jockey Imran Khan orchestrated one of the most thrilling finishes at a local horse racing in recent times, steering Meheran to a deserving win, ending the winning streak of Alcazaba and claiming the RTC Magic Million Cup with a cash award of Rs. 1 million, at the RTC Magic Million Cup Raceday at the Racecourse in Nuwara Eliya yesterday (16 April).
Jockey Khan had laid the foundation by winning the Blackpool Hotel Cup 1,600 m race for Class 2 Thoroughbred horses on Kingson Town and was starving for a win in the main race, the RTC Magic Million Cup, the 1,800 m Class 1 race. Khan set the pace from the beginning by keeping Meheran in the lead, despite being challenged by Deepthika Jayakody’s Silver Streak ridden by S.D. Mahesh. But Jayakody’s winning horse, Alcazaba, made progress from behind to the centre of the bunch, as it usually does, but it had to negotiate the challenge of Charlemagne and Rowald before coming close to Mehran in the final 400 m stretch.
Jockey Khan and Meheran proved to be combination which was hard to defeat. Jockey Aneel took Alcazaba to the front 300 m from the finish line but Khan held on and saw Meheran register its first win in its second race on Sri Lankan soil.
The Jayaratne Stables had a fine day for the first time in the races organised and conducted by the Royal Turf Club (RTC), winning three races and placing third thrice. Deepthika Jayakody may have felt the whole world falling apart when Alcazaba surrendered a first-place finish for the first time, but later on her riders put her back in an optimistic mood by winning the top two places at the Ministry of International Trade Cup and Sporting Star Cup races and emerging third in the RTC Challenge Trophy race, which was won by the Jayaratne’s Airborne II.
The RTC Magic Million Cup Raceday was the second of three races lined up for the April holiday season by the Royal Turf Club. The RTC conducted the Selvaratnam Challenge Trophy on 2 April and the month’s race schedule will come to an end on 29 April with the RTC Governor’s Cup at the Racecourse in Nuwara Eliya.
Race 1: RTC Pony Welfare Raffle Cup (1,000 m for ½ Bred)
1: Sri Lankan Queen (L. Ravikumar/Nawaneetha)
2: Eye Touch (A. Dilan/R. Balachandran)
3: Misty Queen (M. Mohanraj /Ajantha Soyza)
Race 2: Sporting Times Cup (1,400 m for Class 5 Thoroughbreds)
1: Honorious (S. Pradeep/Fearless Stables and Stud Farm)
2: Musical Treasure (JWDL/Ananda Bandara)
3: Augusta (K. Sanjeevan/Jayaratne Stables)
Race 3: The Blackpool Hotel Cup (1,600 m for Class 2 Thoroughbreds)
1: Kingston Town (Imran Khan/Hasanga Jayaratne and J.R. Irugalbandara)
2: Celestial Fire (A. Vishwanath/Anura Delgoda)
3: Gazaki (Aneel/Mr. and Mrs. Edwards)
Race 4: RTC Magic Million Cup (1,800 m for Class 1 Thoroughbreds)
1: Meheran (Imran Khan/Hasanga Jayaratne)
2: Alcazaba (Aneel/Deepthika Jayakody)
3: Roswald (Y.S. Srinath/Deepthika Jayakody)
Race 5: Ministry of International Trade Trophy (1,600 m for Class 3 Thoroughbreds)
1: Captain Haddock (Y.S. Srinath/Deepthika Jayakody)
2: Glittering (Aneel/Deepthika Jayakody)
3: Icelandic (Imran Khan/Jayaratne Stub Farms)
Race 6: Sporting Star Cup (1,400 m for Class 4 Thoroughbreds)
1: Supreme (Aneel/Deepthika Jayakody)
2: Colorato (L. Dayalan/Deepthika Jayakody and Charini Suriyage)
3: Crimson Quest (S. Suganthan/Jayaratne Stud Farms)
Race 7: RTC Challenge Trophy (1,000 m for ¾ Breds)
1: Airborne II (S. Dasadaran/Jayaratne Stables)
2: Queen of the Hill (M. Ishan/R.M.C.K. Rajapakshe)
3: Cabresse (M. Mohanraj/Deepthika Jayakody)