Mr Jaydev M Mody & trainer M Narredu leading Enlightenment (Daniel M Grant Up), winner of The Captain G. Hall Trophy
Malesh Narredu trained Enlightenment (Razeen – Forest Treasure) emerged against all odds to produce a sizzling stretch run and to pip Batista on the post and land the spoils to clinch the Captain G Hall Trophy in a thrilling finish.
Enlightenment never seemed to be in contention as he was tailing the field all through until they straightened for home. Batista led them in and was travelling comfortably with Fast forward in prominent second. Scholar, Oceanic Wisdom and Solor were right behind but not looking too convincing. Royal Highness was gaining on them when Enlightenment appeared on the wider outside. Batista seemed clear of the rest, but Enlightenment started to eat up ground at a brisk rate.Enlightenment challenged Batista inside the final 100 meters and after a grim battle, Daniel Grant, with some forceful riding managed to lift Enlightenment a touch to pip Batista on the post for a gallant victory.
“He is a genuine horse and always ready for a fight. He was not at his best in his last start and was racing after a gap. That run did him good and today he was in full flow. I told Grant when I gave him the leg up, that Enlightenment was at his near optimum and he had more than a fair chance. He looked a lot more tuned today and I am honestly not surprised by this win. He has really given me great joy and he has sealed a place in my heart,” said Malesh soon after the race.
The two divisions of the MD Mehta trophy were won on contrasting styles. Edwina won the lower division in a canter, running away from the opposition to win by a widening margin, while Home Factor won close home, just managing to peg back Eskimo at the finish.
MK Jadhav trained Edwina (Byron – Lenwade) darted to the front soon on start and never looked back. She dismissed Pezzonovante from her outside as she stretched out and away from the rest. Edwina looked the winner long way from home and dished out an authoritative victory piling up a huge lead in the final furlong. Polar Zone improved to end a faraway second ahead of Pezzonovante. Mzima too moved up places to get the slot in the frame.
Home Factor (Home Affairs – Factorsforvalue) raced in the mid-bunch as Eskimo and Kimberly emerald hit the front. Favourite Glorious Song was following the front runners with Mylastwish lurking alongside.
Eskimo shot ahead once they turned for home and soon Home Factor moved to second. Glorious Song was searching for room and could not find any for a while. Eskimo was going all out when Richard Hughes brought Home Factor to challenge. The pair fought out a couple of strides, but Home Factor seemed in command in the final finish. He finished on well to spare ¾ lengths at the winning post to Eskimo. Glorious Song will live to fight another day, this time ending a decent third. Piano Man made progress to finish in the frame.
Richard Hughes had in the earlier race, piloted popular fancy Mountain Queen (Razeen – Forest Treasure) to an impressive victory over a mile. Mountain Queen seemed to have a mountain to climb as they entered the straight. She was way behind the front runners as This Ones For You was being tackled by Reinstate who was gaining considerably, Mountain Warrior too seemed ready to fight out the issue but faltered when push came to shove. Mountain Queen started to cover ground with alacrity and bridged the gap at a good pace to soon get alongside Reinstate who had just taken charge. It didn’t take too much effort for Hughes to get past Reinstate and draw away to post a convincing victory. Purple Patch came in far too late to end third ahead of Fast And Furious the latter too making up ground in the final 100 meters.
Trainer HJ Antia was on song making a bright start for the day, winning the first two races and adding one more in the first half of the day. Fortuner (Senure – Kisses Due) justified the heavy backing he had to muster his first career victory in his fifth attempt.
Fortuner chased the leader Aleutian Zone until the straight and then stormed ahead decisively leaving the rest to pick up the minor placing. Fortuner took charge past the 400 from Aleutian Zone and accelerated tremendously to get away from competition to win handsomely.
Fortuner’s victory though was immensely satisfying and he romped home without causing any anxiety whatsoever. The confidence and conviction that trainer Antia shows in his wards is remarkable. Despite the fact that Fortuner had placed just once in four previous outings, albeit in the higher class, (he was more than 11 lengths behind the winner in his last outing), Fortuner was backed down to the exclusion of the others in the fray. Antia’s gumption in assessing his charges is spot on, on most occasions. This has been his trait to see his wards winning convincingly no matter what the previous performance of the horse concerned. Very few trainers would match that consistency.
Cougar (Flitch – Precious Pearl) in the very next race provided Antia with a back-to-back double. Cougar though, was not fancied going by the betting ring quotes. Lola was the one who attracted maximum attention in the ring. Guernica, who started as the ante-post favourite, went up to almost 5/1.
Hymn Path strode out merrily in front to work up a substantial lead in the early stages. Lola ran up in the second spot with Cougar close behind. Guernica and Tzigane were next up, the rest failed to make an impact. Hymn Path entered the straight with a handy lead and was keeping up the momentum. None seemed to make much headway even as they hit the distance post. Cougar then started to warm up and in a flash, quickened with a strong finish. He got past Hymn Path in front of the stands and tore away leaving the rest hapless. Cougar registered a thumping victory and who would believe that this was his maiden victory at age 5 and after 19 previous attempts!
Antia then saddled yet another victory, his third in the day, with Albuurz (Diffident – Knowle Park). This had more of the Antia “take jump hit front” trademark and Albuurz obliged with a singeing gallop. He took the early call and marched ahead working up a lively pace and was always comfortably ahead in the race. He came in with a sizable lead and none from behind could match his brilliance. Diani ran a tame second and Red Passion, also from the winner’s yard, was not in contention either. Albuurz returned with flying colours to register his first victory in twelve months, taking his tally of wins to four from 20 starts.
Trainer Magan Singh Jodha also notched up a double and both his horses won in a photo-finish by the proverbial whisker. Fairy Queen (Quest Star – Oberon’s Mistral) was quick to settle behind Winchester who led the field, while the others followed close behind. Free Agent lost a distance at the start and took no serious part in the race.
Winchester kicked on in the straight and Fairy Queen was being goaded to keep up by jockey Kavraj Singh. She took a while to get into top gear but when she did, she devoured ground to get past Winchester. Herzeliyah started to show her power in the final 100 and came on strongly to challenge Fairy Queen. They battled hard but Fairy Queen always had her nose ahead even at the wire. Herzeliyah was a tad unlucky as she covered ground at a fiery pace in the end. However, Fairy Queen was fast and furious in her attempt and deserved to win.
Magan’s double came through in the last race when Royal Honour (Hymn – Casanova Green) came alive in the final fifty to snatch victory away from Festival Night.
Festival Knight flew out of the gates and sped ahead to work up a good lead and kept galloping at a fiery pace from the outset. Veneziano settled in second after he could not match the brilliant start of Festival Knight with Royal Honour just behind him. Festival Knight came into the straight with a handy lead and at the distance post, she looked like she would hold her own all the way. Veneziano was not up to it and Royal Honour was taking his time to get into top gear.
Inside the final furlong, Festival Knight was still well ahead but one could see Royal Honour was starting to inch closer. While Festival Knight kept her momentum going, Royal Honour upped the ante and finished on with a flourish. He did just enough to pip Festive Knight who led all the way until the last stride. Jockey CS Jodha set alight Royal Honour in the nick of time and the timing of his finish couldn’t have got better.
Atlantic Star (Diffident – Arctic – Dancer) bided her time in the mid-bunch and waited for the right opportunity to make her run in the final furlong. Savage Garden led them into the straight and showed no signs of signing off. Richard Hughes decision to take the rails and move from the inside of Savage Garden proved fatal. Favourite Carlyle Hills who was making a forward move just behind Savage Garden had to be checked as Savage Garden moved inwards, narrowing the very gap. By the time she recovered, Atlantic Star had zipped past at a good clip. Carlyle Hills could barely recover from that break in rhythm yet ended a close third. An objection by Hughes was overruled.
For the professionals, trainers HJ Antia saddled an awesome treble, while trainer M P Jodha along with jockeys R Hughes and MA Roushan scored a double each.