Trainer Dallas Todywalla leading Ciel Indienne (C Rajendra Up), winner of The Saarrthi Million
Ciel Indienne (Burden of Proof – Ciel Fleurri), owned by Dr Vijay Mallya and trained by Dallas Todywalla, shunted out doubts whether he would get a mile. In a dazzling display of class and courage, Ciel Indienne covered a sizable deficit in the homestretch to abort Star Trainer’s march to the winning post.
Star Trainer tried the same start-to-finish tactics as he had employed last time, when he had created a flutter in the Nirmal Ruia Gold Cup. However, this time, Ciel Indienne was up to the task and avenged his defeat with a well-planned final assault.
Star Trainer bolted ahead soon on start and left a yawning gap for the others to cover, with a sizzling initial burst. Ciel Indienne, wiser of these tactics, moved up to be second, albeit several lengths behind. Rajendra was patient and was evidently calm. He ensured he conserved enough energy in Ciel Indienne and kept a tight leash on the colt right through, giving him only as much liberty so as to not let Star Trainer go beyond reach. Amouresque travelled well along the rails while Native Knight was seen being urged before the bend.
At the turn, Ciel Indienne had cut down the distance considerably and was not too far behind Star Trainer who was also measuring up well for the finish. Rajendra then alerted Ciel Indienne and the colt devoured ground purposefully inching closer and then getting past Star Trainer near the distance post. Star Trainer, to his credit, fought on bravely, and stretched Ciel Indienne all the way. Ciel Indienne, however, proved his superiority and finished on strongly to clinch the Saarrthi Million in a convincing manner. Native Knight ran on to end third, the weight (61 kg) certainly taking its toll. Amouresque did well to fill the frame and should come out with some positives from this race.
Ciel Indienne galloped to his third victory this season from five outings and will probably be packed off for a well-earned rest before a fresh start for a new campaign in Mumbai.
Scorch (Oath – X Factor) did justice to her name and flew to her second career victory with a sizzling gallop that truly scorched the turf over the sprint in a remarkable timing of 1:10.56 under wet conditions. Though at race time there weren’t any showers pouring down, the steady drizzle earlier in the day had rendered the underfoot conditions quite wet. Scorch seemed to relish the going and shot ahead soon on settling down and never looked in danger. She had a handy lead on turning for home and Emerging Star seemed the only threat as the others were in no position to challenge Scorch. Spirit of Ecstasy took the turn too wide and lost all her chances, while Visionist was too far back to make an impact. Scorch however, galloped with zest all through and won it with a good measure of comfort. In this form, Scorch can score yet again this season and since a fiery ‘burst of speed’ is her forte, she would love the Pune track a lot better than the longer Mumbai straight.
Jockey B Prakash moved into the double figures in his win tally this season, scoring twice in the day. He started off with an armchair ride to victory atop Shroff’s Ambrosia (Razeen – Adored) in the opening race of the day. The three rivals were no match to Ambrosia’s finesse, as the filly toyed with the opposition and cantered to a ridiculously easy victory. The hapless trio only went about their motions as Ambrosia blurred away from their vision, Prakash never loosening his reins at any juncture. Ambrosia’s timing for the mile trip (despite not firing on all cylinders) was split-seconds shy of that of an all-out Ciel Indienne! That was impressive.
Prakash later scored again atop Star Vision (Warrshan – Anodyne) fighting off a determined bid from Guns N Roses, a fight that spilled over into the stewards room as well. The point of contention argued by trainer Rehanullah Khan on behalf of his jockey Sandesh occurred around 600 m when Guns N Roses clipped on Star Vision and buckled, only to be steadied by the jockey. In the process, Rehan claimed, his horse lost momentum and the fact that he regained and caught up with the winner, losing out by just ¾ lengths, suggested that had that incident not happened, Guns N Roses would have won.
Prakash countered by saying he had always left enough room for Guns N Roses and had nothing to do with any interference and the onus was on Sandesh to steer clear. The Stewards on their part, viewed the replays and concluded that the objection be overruled and deemed the incident accidental.
Star Vision sneaked into the lead soon on settling down, with Guns N Roses on his inside. Aristocratic and Emerald Valley were lurking on the outer side and they came in a bunch, taking the turn, with little separating them.
Star Vision stepped up the momentum and shot ahead. Guns N Roses then switched out to pose his challenge. Prakash had a slender lead coming into the final furlong and ensured that he held the upper hand right through. Guns N Roses covered ground briskly and ended on the winner’s haunches. Dictator did well to make good ground to end third ahead of Great White. Daughter Nazak Chenoy (trainer of Dictator) just managed to beat her father Bezan Chenoy (Great White) in the final few strides. Ms Chenoy was visibly excited over that development.
Trevor was the other pro to compile a lucrative double which reaped rich returns. He rode Glowing Star and Midnight Club in successive races and in both races played decisive part in bringing home the winners.
Glowing Star (Glory of Dancer – Glowing Sands) stalked the front bunch as major Wager took over from Star Builder who led briefly before bowing out. Distant Promise too faded away after being in prime position in the early stages. Sledgehammer, running for the first time after being gelded, was not too impressive, as he could not quicken and capitalise on his prominent second position on turning for home.
Glowing Star and Flying Jewel were not too far from one another and on turning for home they set about chasing down the front runners. Major Wager was not going to go down without offering to fight and looked good as Sledgehammer – the one closest to him, was not making any impression on Major Wager. Midway up the straight, Trevor brought Glowing Star into the fray and he started to cut down the lead showing good acceleration. Flying Jewel made her bid coming from the gap between Major Wager and Sledgehammer and she too started to cover ground briskly. However, Glowing Star built on the advantage as he passed Major Wager and held on grimly to score a narrow ¾ L victory over Flying Jewel. Major Wager ended a good third ahead of Sledgehammer.
Midnight Club lit up right from the start and showed a lot of resolve in warding off a stiff challenge from Arctic Minstrel in the final furlong. Taking a flier at the gates, Midnight Club shot into the lead and held a clear advantage over the rest with a sizzling initial gallop. The six-year-old mare produced her best run yet and sped away after turning for home. Foxtrot simply could not keep up with the scorching pace and was easily seen losing out. Arctic Minstrel, a last start winner, gathered speed and worked his way closer to Midnight Club coming up with a fiery gallop of her own. The pair fought out the last 100 with jockey Trevor and apprentice Srikanth Kamble going hell-for-leather for the wire. Trevor rode his heart out and brought a lot to cheer about for trainer Ms Nina Lalvani who may have been a touch disappointed earlier in the day, when her ward Titian had just fought a losing battle to Bling in the third race. Keringdingan disappointed and ended a far away third.
Titian all but carried on once he took charge in the straight. The race itself was reduced between Titian and Bling as the rest were left too far behind. Favourite Ocean Princess threw in the towel even before crossing the 800 m mark and fell back rapidly to take no serious part in the race thereafter.
Bling, who was tailing the field until the bend, had only Titian to contend with and that seemed a task as Titian was galloping well at that juncture. Bling warmed up nicely in the final furlong and jockey Sandesh rode him out confidently to pass Titian close home and register his second victory on the trot to peg back Titian by half a length. Cloud Cover finished a good 8 lengths behind.
C’est La Vie yet again failed miserably and her followers bore the brunt as she was backed down heavily at race time. She raised no hope whatsoever at any stage and went down tamely. Marudhara Ratan, who was neglected in the betting despite consistently hitting the board this season, produced a flowing gallop in the homestretch to knock the fight out of his rivals. He improved from a close third position and soon apprentice Ishwar Pardeshi eased him into the lead and then galloped on gamely to win comfortably. Rebecca improved from her previous run and ended a fair second, while C’est La Vie stuttered to end a disappointing third.
Sacred Relic (Ikhtyar – Painted Faces) delivered when least expected and won on his own terms. He took an alert jump this time and shot into the lead wasting no time. Prince Brijendra, who set about chasing Sacred Relic, ended doing just that, only, Sacred Relic added more turf between them notching up a runaway victory. These two never allowed anyone one else to get past. Secret Magic, improved towards the closing stages and only managed to get to half a length of Prince Brijendra.