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Maple Star triumphs; Ramu completes Oaks treble

Dr MAM Ramaswamy, the most famous horse owner in Indian racing history whose name is already in the Guiness book of records for winning a record number of Classics, added one more to his tally when Maple Star, sporting his silks of 'GOLD, Brown belt' won the grade 1, Indian Oaks, the feature event of Mahalaxmi races on Sunday. The winner was trained by Karthik Ganapathy and ridden by B Sreekanth. 'Ramu', as Dr Ramaswamy is affectionately called in racing circles, thus completed an Oaks treble this month, having already won the Bangalore Oaks with Snow Bird & Golconda Oaks with Simply Stylish.

When the starter flagged off the dozen fillies, Jamie Spencer astride Songlark set a moderate pace with Maple Star stalking her, followed by favourite Vijay's Pride in mid-bunch and second favourite Showin'off in the rear along with Simply Stylish who everyone mistook to be Ramu's main contender because foreigner Colm O'Donoghue was imported to ride her. Maple Star took charge heading for the final turn, and though Vijay's Pride made up some ground and rank outsider Song Dynasty came up well from way back, Maple Star was never in danger of being caught though she veered out a bit
under the pressure.

"Not many people know, but Maple Star is not exactly a sound horse, she has a problem in one of the joints," trainer Karthik reaveled after leading in the winner, "that's the reason she flopped in the 1000 Guineas when she must have felt her legs--thank God, today was different."

Karthik also gave complete credit to "Boss" (Ramu) who planned a perfect strategy. "We decided to split our two runners, Maple Star in front and Simply Stylish at the back, so that most rivals would think Maple Star is doing the pacemaker's role."

"That's precisely what happened," winning jockey B Sreekanth for whom this was the first success in an Indian Classic, confirmed, "I went with the pace, and asked her to keep going, and she responded well. Everything just fell in place."

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