Mr Vijay B Shirke & trainer M K Jadhav leading Hachiko (B Prakash Up), winner of The Gool S. Poonawalla Million (Grade-III)
The Gool S Poonawalla Million (Gr3) the added attraction to the Zoom Indian Oaks (Gr1) day, saw MK Jadhav’s Hachiko (Noverre – Indira), owned by the Shirke family, bag the race with a measure of comfort. Sharaarat led the field as they turned for home, with the rest spreading out nicely across the turf. Hachiko surface past the 400 to challenge Sharaarat and after a very brief tussle, Hachiko pulled away to stretch out gamely and sew up the race well before the winning post. He encountered no resistance and won on his own terms by a healthy margin. Sharaarat did well to stay second at the wire despite the weight she was giving and ended a gallant runner-up. Wings of Fortune ran on the earn place money. Ice Empire made a little progress and earned a slot in the frame. Set Ablaze ran a soft race and did not raise any hope at all.
The Poonawalla family graced the presentation podium with brothers Dr Cyrus and Mr Zavarey Poonawalla carrying out the presentation honours, handing the glittering trophy to the Mr & Mrs Vijay Shirke.
The Hello! Classic had a smaller field of five, but the race generated extended suspense as the battle carried on from the turf to the stewards’ room. First, the action on the turf!
Storm Tracker galloped into the lead after being last of fifth initially. Maple Star, Nigella Tachyon and Spinawin followed close behind. On entering the straight, Storm Tracker travelled well for a while and midway up the straight, began to drift out alarmingly. Maple Star, who was on his outside, had no choice but to move along Storm Tracker and the pair were inches away from the outer rails. Tachyon switched lanes and made his gallop close to the inner rails, but could not generate enough speed to get past the duo, who were at the other end of the wide stretch. Storm Tracker held on to win, but Maple Star had stayed put alongside even as they hit the wire together, Storm Tracker sparing a neck to Maple Star.
Imran Chisty, the rider of Maple Star (Mull of Kintyre – Sonic Symphony) had enough ground to lodge an objection and try to wrest the race in the stewards’ room, on the technical grounds. He duly signed his objection, accusing Anthony Crastus, of taking his ground which cost him the race. The Stewards deliberated the dispute, interviewed both jockeys and ruled that Maple Star had indeed been hampered and upheld the objection and awarded the race to Maple Star and relegated Storm Tracker to second.
Cine Star Sonam Kapoor looked petite and graceful in a bright orange Sari, while taking the presentation podium to give away the Trophy for the Hello! Classic which was received by Karthik on behalf of Dr MAM Ramaswamy.
Berlusconi (Ikhtyar – Highland Ghillie) returned to old form and dished out a fashionable victory to take home the Rajpipla Trophy with ease. The five-horse field was closely bunched with Dear Henry leading the pack and Berlusconi bring up the rear until the straight. Berlusconi gathered momentum past the 400 and streaked ahead building up a winning lead in no time. He looked strong and his powerful strides swung the race in his favour long way from home with no challenger to the finish. Dear Henry finished a good three lengths behind to take the second slot. Su Chaliyo was next and clearly needed more distance.
Amadeus flopped as he could not defy the handicap and Class Apart (Burden of Proof – Royal Deeds) made the most of his bottom weight. It was Star of Venus who tried to pull a fast one as apprentice jockey Akshay tried the runaway tactics and built a huge lead coming into the straight. That might have unsettled Amadeus who had to make an all out effort in the straight to catch up with with the leaders. Class Apart responded to Anthony Crastus’ call and started to cover ground briskly. Star of Venus could not sustain the momentum and petered out of contention when Class Apart dashed by. Class Apart galloped on strongly to post a comfortable victory. Pure Elation warmed by nicely and finished on fastest to take the second slot with an eye-catching run. Amadeus finished a tame third.
Silk Cut (Diffident – Sensuality) took the shortest way in to romp home a convincing winner to take home the Satinello Trophy. This one was a fast run race as Super Hero took charge from Albuurz soon on start and held the front well into the straight. Silk Cut, not in the best of positions, took every gap that came his way and approaching the final 400 m was sitting pretty just behind the leader Super Hero awaiting her chance to surge ahead. Aliyana came from the outside and was covering ground rapidly as was Matinique. Silk Cut made his move nearing the distance post and produced a flashy run to sail ahead with less than a furlong to go. That singing speed had Silk Cut home and dry and Aliyana’s bid went down in vain. Matinique was far too late but did cover ground with sharply and indicated that he needed this run to fine tune himself for a better performance next time out. Aliyana for reasons best known to her connections, chose to settle behind when she could have easily stayed put to her normal instincts and made a start to finish bid.
Sorrento (Placerville – Difficult Doll) finally came good to draw her first career victory in the last race of the day. Sorrento, who had surrendered meekly to Ishpingo in his last start, displayed his tough fighting qualities and with Stephane Pasquier ably handling her in the final stages, thwarted a serious challenge posed by Star Goddess. The fight began once Sorrento got past This Ones For You and dethroned Charlie Cool from the lead. He surged ahead and was shaping well when Star Goddess made a solid forward surge to get alongside Sorrento. The pair matched stride for stride, with Star Goddess also appearing to have headed Sorrento, but unlike last time, Sorrento fought on bravely and managed to ward off the threat and surge home by a narrow half length. Purple Patchmoved through the middle to make a lively bid and ended a further length away. It would pay to keep an eye on Purple Patch as he seems to be getting ready for better results. Augustus also remained in the focus to claim a slot in the frame.
Hills And Heights (Noverre – Fantasia Girl) scored the most facile victory of the day sewing up the race soon on turning for home. Fortuner made all the initial running and when Hills And Heights moved closer, Fortuner had no resistance to offer. I Pasha rode with utmost confidence as Hills And Heights was doing it all by herself. She produce a scorching gallop gaining with every stride and in the final 300 meters, shot too far ahead crushing whatever hopes her rivals would harbour. She pulled away from them all to score a stylish debut victory. Sterling Silver laboured her way to the second spot, just ahead of the long time leader Fortuner.
Fairy Empress (Hymn – Skipperess) made light of the top weight she was carrying and struck a feiry final assault to overwhelmed Last Tango who was hopeful of pulling it off until the last few strides. Sitting third, behind Tomorrows Dreams and Let it Fly, jockey Sandesh did everything right to have Last Tango in striking position soon after the final turn. Sandesh waited until the last possible moment and then goaded Last Tango to the front. With the front runners fading away, it looked like Last Tango was going to hold on. He had his sights firmly on the winning post when Fairy Empress gathered terrific momentum and put in a sustained gallop. She zipped past last Tango a couple of strides before the winning post and scored a forceful victory. Guernica came when all was over, nevertheless, covered a lot of ground to run a close second just half length away from Last Tango. Daredevil yet again did no better than figure in the frame as he has done right through this season.
Pharoah won the opening race of the day and at asking odds. He hit the front as the gates flung open but settled to one behind the leader Mountain Flora, the others following these two and well spread out behind. Once into the straight, Akshay put in an all out effort and sent Pharoah into the lead. Pharoah quickened well and established a handy lead. Past the distance post, Pharoah had sealed the deal and looked comfortably I command. We passed the winning post well ahead, but the next five or six horses finished on in a blanket a short-head separating the next three.
For the professionals, trainer Pesi Shroff saddled a double with the highlight being his wards finishing the top three in the Zoom Indian Oaks (Gr 1). Jockeys Anthony Crastus and Stephane Pasquier scored a double each.