After a delay of six days caused by the truant weather, the Indian Turf Invitation Cup was finally run on the Monsoon track at Malakpet on Saturday and was won by the second choice in the betting, Alaindair.

Toroloco held up the start by his antics in front of the starting stalls as the other 15 runners waited patiently. Finally, he consented to be backed in and they were off. Starry Eyes was the first to show, followed by Isn't She Special, who soon wrested the initiative.

There was an unfortunate mishap as the favourite, Murioi, came a cropper well before the halfway mark.

The two fillies led into the home stretch, attended closely by the hero of the McDowell Indian Derby five weeks ago, Alaindair, who could be seen to be moving easily. After a brief tussle for supremacy, Alaindair powered clear, though drifting out slightly towards the end.

Even as Agostini essayed a furious challenge from well back, the identity of the victor was not in doubt and Alaindair retired a comfortable winner, followed home by Agostini just over a length in arrears, with last year's Invitation Cup winner, Tintinnabulation, a further 2-1/4 lengths behind.

Schooled by Altamash Ahmed, who had a grand double at the meeting — he had sent out Astapi to victory last week — the winner was stylishly ridden by Y.S. Srinath. Bred at the Usha Stud, the hero of the moment is owned by Dr. Nevill R. Devlaliwalla, Miss Ameeta Mehra and Mr. Gaurav Sethi.

Earlier, the Maj. P.K. Mehra Memorial Super Mile went the way of the brilliant 3 to 1 chance, Amelia, who has struck a purple patch. Given a confident ride by young S. Zervan despite a slipping saddle, the Pesi Shroff-trained challenger snuffed out the hopes of the connections of Equine Lover, who had led from the start.

Striking (third), Machiavellianism (fourth) and Charlatan (fifth) finished in a heap just behind the runner-up.

Keywords: Hyderabad races

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