Mr. Zeyn Mirza & trainer S S Attaollahi leading Cielo Rey (C Ruzaan Up), winner of The Oxford Properties RWITC Ltd Gold Cup (Grade 2)
The Oxford Properties RWITC Ltd Gold Cup (Grade 2) had a line up of seven. The more illustrious of the lot were home stalwarts Macchupicchu and Ocean And Beyond. Dr Vijay Mallya’s contingent was represented by three, out of which two had travelled only for this event. Cielo Rey (Burden of Proof – Ciel Fleuri) has always been consistent in his approach and performance and his style of going for it from the word go has never been a secret. So his start at Pune was business as usual and his opponents seemed content to allow his the initial privilege.
Cielo Rey set about running at a pace best suited and maintained a steady gallop keeping abreast with the stopwatch at a tidy nip. Macchupicchu took precautions and moved to one behind, keeping a pulse on the leader. Spearhead, Ocean And Beyond, Native Knight were all within touching distance, while Onassis kept Star Alliance company in the rear, hoping that at the business-end they would have plenty in reserve.
Not much changed in that order as Ruzaan guided Cielo Rey to shape around the final turn. Macchupicchu started to go for it soon on straightening for home. Prakash working him to quicken and although Macchupicchu did surge forward, Cielo Rey still seemed leave the same distance to clear. Ocean And Beyond then began to make headway. He got past Macchupicchu but Ruzaan had taken Cielo Rey well beyond reach by then. The effortless victory of Cielo Rey came as a surprise and a pleasant one for the Mallya camp. Cielo Rey had clocked just 2:03:30 for the mile and quarter trip which was impressive considering he made his own pace in the small field, with none in particular hurry in the first half.
Mr Zeyn Mirza, Managing Director URBB received the attractive trophy from the Seolekars, the sponsors of the prestigious race. Besides the Seolekar family, Mr Vivek Jain and Mr Champaklal Zaveri graced the presentation podium.
FBullet (Major Impact – Euro Star) made a killing in the Delhi Race Club Trophy and shot ahead, trouncing the top class opposition with awesome ease. Schnell led a tightly packed bunch from the start which saw Bullet a touch slow out of the gates. They were all huddled together and Bullet wove his way to the bid bunch all along to be in striking position, Dashrath Singh ensureing he had enough in reserve for the final flourish.
Cape Ferrat took to the lead coming into the straight but soon Bullet bounded forward and it was all over in a blink. Bullet galloped resolutely and tamed the rest down. Kilifi was the one to catch the eye with a flying effort that saw him claim the runner-up slot from Ocean Wish. Mighty Crusader too ran on but narrowly failed to pip Ocean Wish for the third.
Follow The Dream (Tirol – Masawara) was installed the piping hot favourite and the Faisal Abbas filly won without any anxious moments. Follow The Dream hit the front soon on start but Aflame moved up from the inner rails and just headed Follow the Dream until they straightened for home. The rest made little impact in the race. Once they straightened up, Follow the Dream accelerated well and in quick time sailed ahead leaving Aflame behind. Blessed changed tactics and tried to come from behind this time and although she did improve towards the finish, Blessed still has to show marked improvement if she hope to strike early in Mumbai.
Etesian (Gaswar – Axelle) put in a powerful finishing effort to clinch a three way battle at the post. Star Blessings went into the lead and was followed closely by Expelliarmus and Etesian and the trio disputed the finish between them without letting any opponent to get any closer. In the straight, Star Blessings was ahead and travelling, Expelliarmus was trying to wear her down. Etesian was making efforts to get to a rhythm, the rest were far behind. It all happened inside the last 100 m when Expelliarmus got the measure of Star Blessing. Etesian’s last ditch effort was splendid and as if in sudden rush of blood, the filly flew with singeing force and blazed past the duo to score in awesome style.
Botswana (Invincible Spirit – Kerataka) should super guts and even better fighting qualities to overpower a determined Dancing Glances in a two-way battle for supremacy in the lower division of the Kejriwal Trophy. Red Passion played the guide until the turn before falling back. Dancing Glances took charge early in the straight and was going well with Ladjadj Stephane keeping a straight course. Botswana then pounced on Dancing Glances and shot ahead about 100m from the winning post and won well. Dancing Glances finished a good second and will live to fight another day. Botswana is sure to improve further and add to her two wins in as many outings during her opening campaign.
The upper division of the above race saw Dovers Hill score a fashionable victory in a lot easier manner than expected. She took on a good bunch of hopefuls with Dictator installed the popular favourite. Albuurz hit the front and had Titleist and Dovers Hill for company, Dictator was in the mid group and so was Star Vision.
Dovers Hill was quick to step up pace and soon shot into the lead early into the straight. Her acceleration was clean and speedy and by the time she zipped past the distance post, she was clear of the rest. Star Vision improved well to take the second spot. Dictator huffed and puffed but was not getting anywhere. Forward Charge was the pick of the beaten lot. He flew towards the end to force his way into the money.
Lake Leader (Mr Mellon – Aliventi) had ruin only once before this season and made up for that ordinary outing by scoring a determined victory this time. Chasing leader Winchester until the home-turn, Lake Leader switched gears and shot into the lead soon on straightening up. He quickened well and there was no challenge emerging from the rear, to win in an emphatic manner. Winchester kicked on but it was Arabian Fighter who came from behind to pass a bunch of horses and pip Winchester for the runner-up berth.
Steely Dan (Ontario – Arctic Gale) finally came good and scored a much awaited victory assisted by some strong riding by Rajendra. The start was a cluster as a bunch of horses showed keenness to hit the front. After the tussle and jostle, Solar Angel settled to lead the field with Steely Dan, Blue Knight and Visionaire in tow. The rest followed in close knit.
Solar Angel stepped up pace in the straight and lunged forward. Steely Dan started to move ahead of those close behind. At the distance post, Solar Angel showed little signs of weakening but Steely Dan showed nerves of steel and in a final surge produced enough to get past Solar Angel slose home. Eye of the Storm was the fastest finishing horse in the final furlong and flew to edge out Macho Uno for the third spot.
Musical Rhapsody (Mischevious Music – Hungarian Rhapsody) gave a repeat performance following up her last start victory with another one. But this one was a much tougher call. The leads changed from Lake Como to Cougar and finally Sacred Relic took charge half way through. All along. Musical Rhapsody was well in touch with the changing leaders and as they turned for home, Musical Rhapsody moved to make her bid. Sacred Relic was resisting stubbornly and kept going. Musical Rhapsody came under pressure and started to drift and was even a touch erratic. Kavraj Singh had to do everything possible to keep his nerves and that of Musical Rhapsody as well. The lad did well in the end and managed to survive a close call. Cougar was a good second while Sacred Relic ended third just foiling the late bid of Last Tango to creep into place money.
Super Hero (Alnasr Alwasheek – Thanks A Lot) won the concluding race of the Season 2011 raising his game a notch or two to sign off on a winning note. Towering High and Glorious Miss were at the helm as the field turned for home. Glorious Miss shot ahead and increased the momentum, speeding away from Towering High. Super Hero then came charging up and worked up a blistering pace to get to Glorious Miss. At his speed, even Glorious Miss and all of Ladjdaj’s effort paled and Super hero romped home in style. The one who impressed most with a late flourish was Ocean Tern. The Vinayak ward although in the mid bunch and not too far from the thick of action at any stage, finished on with a terrific burst that was hard to go unnoticed. Ocean Tern is surely one for the notebooks.
For the professionals, jockey C Rajendra ended the day with a treble while trainer Dallas Todywalla saddled a double.