Could Alcazaba win the magic millions
Alcazaba, owned by Deepthika Jayakody, will be the main attraction of the RTC Magic Million Cup race-day event which will take place at the Racecourse in Nuwara Eliya today. Alcazaba has had an impressive run over the recent times and is marked by other runners as the horse to beat in the local horse racing circuit.
Despite stiff challenges and bad starts, Alcazaba has had a continuous winning streak. The last success it tasted was at the RTC Selvaratnam Challenge Trophy, which took place on April 2, as the curtain raiser event of Royal Turf Club’s (RTC) April Season.
Today’s main race, the RTC Magic Million Cup, a 1800metre run which promises a thumping cash award of Rs. 1.5Million for the winner, has a lineup of six runners. Challenging Alcazaba, Charlemagne, owned by James Mathew and Meheran, owned by Gamini and Chamari Jayaratne, will make their intentions clear from the beginning.
On April 2 in the main race, Charlemagne and Meheran — the two mysterious runners then — took the lead from the onset and ran in the front of the bunch until Alcazaba took over the lead in the final 300 metres from the finish line. The race began under a slight drizzle but the downpour was heavy when it reached the midway. It eventually proved that not even rain, the ultimate spoiler of outdoor events, could prevent Alcazaba from winning.
How the race would treat the winning horse today, would be a question that thousands of horse racing enthusiasts have. Other runners lined up are Roswald and Silver Streak, both owned by Deepthika Jayakody and Brilliant Cut, a newcomer that could turn out to be the spoiler of Alcazaba’s winning streak. Two key runners, Chul Bul Pandy, owned by Anura Delgoda and at Atlantus, owned by Hasanga Jayaratne, will not run in today’s main race.
Today’s event has a lineup of seven races in total namely, the Class 2 race for the Ministry of International Trade Trophy, the Class 3 race for Blackpool Hotel Cup, the Class 4 race for Sporting Star Cup, Class 5 race for Sporting Times Cup, 1/2 Bred race for the RTC Pony Welfare Raffle Cup and the 3/4 Bred race.
The Class 2 1600metre race is competed by five runners, with Kingston Town taking the favourite’s tag. Two weeks ago Kingston Town won the Class 2 Media Ministry Trophy beating Celestial Fire and Spearhead, who will not be featured this Sunday. Celestial Fire will dish out a challenge to the favourite alongside Gazaki, Spirited Touch and What’s up.
Last time the Class 3 race was abandoned due to heavy rain and it will continue this week with four runners aiming for the Blackpool Hotel Cup. Icelandic, Arrabian Gold, Captain Haddock and Glittering are the runners of the 1600metre race.
The Class 4 1400metre race for the Sporting Star Cup will have eight runners with last time winner Crimson Quest coming in as the fovourite. Crimson Quest won the Daily Mirror Cup a fortnight ago ahead of Torpedo and Vigorous, who finished second and third last time. The remaining five are Stormont, Legal Legacy, Colorato, Supremacy and Supreme.
The most number of runners will be featured in the Class 5 1400metre race for the Sporting Times Cup. Last time it was not run and the runners lined up are Zulu Fantacy, Snow Queen, Honourious, Musical Treasure, Stormy Petrel, Cosmopolitan, Waiting for Glory, Tender Mist, Agusta, Krabi, The Cardinal and Slasa Dancer.
The 1/2 Bred 1000metre race for the RTC Pony Welfare Raffle Cup features seven runners. This is another race that was abandoned two weeks ago, with Misty Queen, Power Girls, Pray for Sri Lanka, Red Eagle, Eye Touch, Jungle Boy and Shining Girl are set to battle out. The three top finishers — Queen of the Hill, Airborne II and Cabresse will have only one challenger in Spirite, that will form the final list of four horses for the 100metre 3/4 Bred race.
Making his assessments on how the weather would treat today’s race event, RTC President Panduka Keerthinanda stated that the organisers are keen to see and eventful day. He added that the start of the April Holiday Season races of RTC was excellent despite the heavy downpour forcing to abandon three of the seven races lined up for April 2.
“On April 2nd, only four races out of the total of seven was conducted but overall it was a good show. We received positive feedback in general from the VIP fraternity involved with the game. To say that the RTC has been able to impress horse racing fans to a great extend is a fair comment, if you saw the crowds that came for races on that day. For the Magic Million Cup races too, we are expecting a large crowd and all arrangements have been made to make their short stay a memorable one. We expect the weather gods will be kind upon us today, otherwise all other plans are set perfectly for a fine day of horse racing,” Keerthinanda stated.
The RTC’s April Holiday Season lineup of events had three race-days beginning from April 2 with the Selvaratnam Challenge Trophy and today’s Magic Million Cup. The final race for the season will be the RTC Governor’s Cup, which has been planned for April 29.