Sexy Eyes (Imran Chisty UP), winner of The Akshar Group Trophy
Sexy Eyes (Major Impact - Saraceno) claimed the top honours, winning the Akshar Group Trophy, with a strong gallop right through the homestretch, warding off a late challenge from Svelte Lady. Taking a good start, Sexy Eyes settled behind runaway leader Aliyana who bolted ahead soon on start. Blue Flash, Camacho, Halo of Fame and Tranquillity were slow off the blokes and were never in the hunt. Aliyana built a huge lead with Sexy Eyes in second in turn well ahead of Ashwa Parwez, Star Vision and Carousel, with Svelte Lady hanging around close by. No sooner they turned for home, Aliyana packed up alarmingly and ended far back.
Sexy Eyes took charge quickly, built a handy lead and responded well under the whip of Chisty. Past the distance post, Sexy Eyes looked set for a comfortable victory which is when Svelte Lady started to warm up and devour ground. But Sexy Eyes had enough legs to hold on to her lead and Svelte Lady only managed to narrow the margin but showed enough zest to kindle hopes that she will do one better in her next outing.
Imran Chisty was on fire earlier with a breathtaking victory atop Faisal Abbas-trained Saltoro (Warrshan - Leit Motif). Unperturbed by the quick change of lead up in front, and a lively pace from early on, Saltoro sat at the very end of the tightly packed bunch. Agha led for a while before Prince Lochinva took over and surrendered the lead to Alexus past the half-way mark. Alexus brought the field into view and was facing a stiff challenge from a nicely travelling Amberogio. The pair was engaged in a tussle when Saltoro, who took the turn widest of all, came charging in to throw his might.
Amberogio stretched himself to stay ahead but Saltoro’s final assault was simply too good and Chisty’s hard work all through paid off well. Saltoro stormed ahead before the winning post to snatch a narrow victory close home. In the second race of the day, Imran Chisty had earned another hard-fought victory against The Rebel who provided a lively challenge in the final furlong. Ashwa Prahar (Serious Spender - Sweet Memento) settled early behind Secret Talk and had Medtias Pride and The Rebel close behind. Brave Gun drained a lot more money than sweat as the favourite and never looked in shape for any battle. In the straight, it was Ashwa Prahar and The Rebel who were clear of the rest fighting every inch of the ground. Finally, Ashwa Prahar, with Chisty egging him on relentlessly, got the measure of the old timer The Rebel and scored a tough win.
Berlusconi (Ikhtyar - Highland Ghillie) justified the favouritism and thrilled his followers with a flying finish in the final furlong despite giving weight to his main rivals. Settling fifth in a tightly packed bunch, Prakash had Berlusconi well in hand even as Crystal showed urgency coming into the straight. Green Signal was ahead when Crystal mounted a stiff challenge. Even as the pair was fighting for command, Berlusconi came at them with a sustained gallop. Once on the scene, it was Berlusconi all the way and the Shirke-Dhunjibhoy gelding won impressively. Green Signal fought off Crystal who was finding it difficult to keep up. In the end, Crystal fell further back when Ariane came with a good finishing effort to earn place money.
Running Sun (Alnasr Alwasheek - Radiate) dictated his own terms and gained an easy start-to-finish victory. Taking a quick jump, Running Sun established a handy lead right from early on and once in the straight, accelerated further away from Money Flash who chased the winner all the way. It was the top two fancies that grabbed the major slots while Indian Chief gained on Katrina close home to grab the third place on the judge’s frame.
Drama Queen (Senure - Dramatic Irony) overcame a lethargic start and made rapid progress to get to the helm in no time. Leading the field all the way into the straight, Drama Queen stretched forward even better and made this one a no-contest. Musical Rhythm, who was the joint favourite with Drama Queen, had nothing to offer as a challenge. Tapitsfly, in fact, kept the momentum going and chased the winner all the way home.
Red Tabasco flattered to deceive in a sensational turn of events in the final fifty in Division 2 of The Alexandress Plate. Red Tabasco looked home and dry midway up the straight and Fascination who was closest to him was a good 4-5 length away. Others appeared too far away to catch up with not much to go for the winning post, least of all Banana Boy (Senure - Lovely Fantasy). Banana Boy was not in the picture when Red Tabasco held a commanding lead passing the distance post. However, once Banana Boy wriggled out of traffic, he started to zip forward at a good clip.
Paper King too warmed up late and when Red Tabasco started to struggle to finish all the good work done thus far, Banana Boy saw his chance and went for broke. Paper King too made a strong bid but couldn’t match the charge of Banana Boy. Paper King, however, managed to nose the wire ahead of Red Tabasco who was relegated to a shocking third.
Dream Talk (Senure - Speed of Light) provided a dramatic finale for the day with a heart-thumping win. Being the hot favourite following her last start facile victory, Dream Talk, was expected to repeat her performance, in what was considered a not-so-threatening set of opponents. River Gem marched on ahead, opening a huge lead from the start. Dream Talk was not in the best of positions and shooting out from the innermost draw, she had a bunch of horses all around her.
To put in more scare in her backers, Dashrath was seen pushing vigorously even before the turn. Meanwhile, the action in front was between River Gem who was losing the grip on the lead rapidly and Walking Tall, who was the new leader with a furlong to go. Crowned Princess threw her might and was gaining on Walking Tall when Dream Talk sprang upon them. Dream Talk, true to her dam’s name, moved like lightening to sail past the fighting duo to post a sensational victory much to the delight of her supporters. Crowned Princess took the next best slot and Walking Tall ensured that he earned his place money.