The Shapoorji Pallonji Breeders’ Juvenile Championship (Gr 3) turned out to be hotly contested by two lesser fancied contenders. Hachiko, the prime favourite languished in the rear for too long and by the time he moved to third, Borsalino and Blue Ace (Ace – Blue Horizon) were elusive. Borsalino showed marked improvement after the ‘feel of the surface’ he had in the Poonawalla Breeders’ Multi-Million. He had earlier won handsomely in Bangalore before attempting the juvenile Derby at the end of February. Borsalino was quick at the gates and hit the front getting straight down to business. Blue Ace moved up close and matched the steady pace set my Borsalino. Phoenix Force followed in third and there rest were closely huddled with Hachiko playing the waiting game, racing in the rear alongside Su O Moto.
Borsalino quickened on turning for home and Blue Ace stuck by him and the pair moved forward and away from the rest. Hachiko started to accelerate and got passed the rest to improve to the third and that’s as far as he could get. Borsalino and Blue Ace had stolen a march and were deciding the issue between them. Both were going strong and matching one another stride for stride. While Borsalino seemed forceful Blue Ace looked determined not to experience the agony of ending another ‘good second’ as he had been on all the three previous occasions he had raced. Rajendra just about managed to get that extra bit when it mattered and in the final couple of strides, craned his neck ahead to win in a thrilling finish.
Borsalino fought gallantly and ended a close second. Hachiko could not manage to give weight to his rivals and ended a decent third. Su O Moto had every chance, but could not capitalise on the clear run that he was fortunate to get. Blue Ace and Borsalino made this one a two-horse-race.
“It was a hard fought victory,” said a panting Rajendra still atop the winner. “He is a bit lax if you let him easy, so I had to work on him constantly to produce his best. He is a strong and can stay the distance but needs to be reminded to remain on focus. Well, that’s how he is now but I am sure he will mature. He has immensely quality and his will to fight was evident,” jockey C Rajendra told indiarace.
Owner Mr Munchi Shroff was overwhelmed. “I was confident he would do well over the mile. All his previous runs were over the sprint. I had told Dallas that he needs distance and I am happy he proved me right. It was a good team work in the end, Dallas did just the right things to keep him at his peak and Rajendra rode a power-packed race. It feels good to win major races like this one” he said.
Partner Dr Tarita Shankar was feeling high as well. She said, “Moments such as these are captured for life. I love my horses and I have been fortunate to lead in a number of winners recently. Win or lose, horses give you so much joy. I am passionate about my horses and whether they return victorious or not, I have the same affection for them. I am not a betting person, I am here to feel the thrill of the sport and the well being of my horses are top priority always.”
The Forbes Breeders’ Juvenile Fillies Championship (Gr3) saw Maple Star (Mull of Kintyre – Sonic Symphony) stretch to her third successive victory. There was a doubt after her rather unorthodox manner of coming into a mile race. She won a seven and then a six-furlong race and now she was turning up for a mile. Besides, she was giving weight to her rivals and that made the bookmakers quote her at generous odds in the betting ring. Though she was quoted at single digits, one could bargain and get 10 to I if lucky. There was no firm favourite either, and Samantha, Portia, Angel Child and Sun Salutation garnered most of the support. As they jumped out, Samantha took upon herself to lead the field with Halle and Maple Star in close attendance. Portia was right with the bunch with Angel Child towards the rails and Nigella on the outside. Sun Salutation raced in the rear.
Samantha entered the straight with a slender lead and tried to work her way ahead. Halle was finding the going tough and soon Maple Star poked through between them. Portia also was seen making progress and past the distance post, this quartet looked good to decide amongst themselves. Maple Star easily got past Samantha and Halle but was weary of Portia coming up with a sustained bid. Maple Star had enough in the tank to thwart the late challenger and hold on narrowly.
“She gave me a lot of confidence,” said jockey Sreekanth. “She settled beautifully and when I asked her to switch to top gear, she accelerated fluently and I knew I had her at full flight. She surged forward and I thought at that moment that she will go all the way. Portia came up far too late by then I had a good moment going to last me out,” he added.
Trainer Karthik attributed the success to ‘boss’ (Owner DR MAM). “I had spoken to boss this morning and he directed me to keep her up with the pace. He has always been helpful with his suggestions and he is right more often. Maple Star is in sublime form and even her last two victories were convincing. I knew this was going to be a close race, but I was confident that Maple Star had it in her to deliver,” said Karthik.
Trainer Dallas Todywalla was the star professional of the day sending out four winners including Blue Ace in the big one. His first for the day began with favourite Ocean Wish (Diffident – Marmalade) in the JP Vazifdar Trophy.
With the late withdrawal of Illustrious, the field was reduced to five with four representing the Wadhawan string. Prakash ridden Ocean Wish was the favourite with Oceanic Wisdom and Sea Treasure garnering a little support as well. Star of Venus made a clean jump and worked up a sizable lead coming into the homestretch. Ocean Wish started to wear her down in the straight but took a while as Star of Venus was well ahead. All anxiety was put to rest as Prakash managed to speed up decisively in the final 100 meters to whiz past Star of Venus and post a comfortable victory. Star of Venus ended a good second a better rider may have pulled off an upset.
Carlyle Hills (China Visit – Congratulations) caused a flutter as he put in a much better performance in this higher set than he did last time. He was up with the front bunch and shook off his rivals past the distance post. Yuville the favourite appeared to be well on course in the straight, but when it mattered most, failed to quicken. He fell back alarmingly and could not even figure in the frame. Kazkazi put in a strong performance and in the dying moments and was the only one to challenge Carlyle Hills. Persian manoeuvred his way through horses to end a notable third, just ahead of Staffan who came late on to the scene.
Winter Wind (Noverre – Almost Perfect) was Dallas’ third for the day before he went on to capture the Colts Championship. Winter Wind sat on the tail of leader Menage A Trios with Sariska on the wider outside. Winter Wind collared Menage A Trios soon on straightening up and shot ahead showing good acceleration. Sariska tried hard to catch up with was finding it hard to maintain her position. Tachyon covered ground in the final furlong and got closer to Winter Wind with each stride, but Rajendra had it all covered and couldn’t let it go after stretching out to a decisive lead. He held on well and comfortably to score a maiden win for Winter Wind.
Jockey P Trevor rode home a lucrative double. He has been riding well of late and the near debacle last week with Piano Man proved a lesson well learnt. He played an important part in getting Dream Weaver home to his first victory and then, in the last race, partnered Expelliarmus to a start to finish victory.
Dream Weaver (Crown Jewels – All My Heart) survived a late scare after doing everything right in the early part of the race. Trevor did well to jump out of the outside draw (12) and sail into the early lead. He led the bunch homeward and quickened well too. He stretched ahead to lead by nearly three lengths and was kicking on well. Shivalik Pride came to challenge on his outside, but Dream Weaver kept up the momentum to see the threat blunted. However, Rune Like The Wind put in a sustained run from his inside and with less than 100 to go was looming large along the rails.
Dream Weaver pushed for home and held on by a narrow margin to stall the late challenger in a thriller. But the one to note was Stormy Wind. The Katrak filly, on her first run, was languishing in the rear. She got her act together when the commotion in front was hectic and her final burst got her to just within the vicinity of the winner. She was the fastest moving in the final furlong and ended an eye-catching close third. Stormy Wind is one for the notebook, preferably over a slightly longer distance.
Expelliarmus (Warrshan – Yes No Maybe So) won in much the same fashion as Dream Weaver, but a lot more comfortably. Expelliarmus was quick at start and worked up a lively pace leading my more than three lengths as they turned for home. Reckless Romeo and Jacqueline Smile were following the leader but not making any impact. Reckless Romeo progressed while Jacqueline Smile dropped considerably back. By The Way started to improve but the others failed to make it count. Expelliarmus kicked on impressively to log his first victory without encountering any resistance. Reckless Romeo only managed to cut down the deficit, but not by much. By The Way ended in place money and Blush came from behind to end in the frame ahead of Xenia.
It was touching to have the Dady Adenwalla Trophy in memory of the man who till recently took an active part in the conduct of races and was seen regularly at the Mahalaxmi racecourse. Dady was fondly remembered and his daughter Ms Shireen Adenwalla gave away the trophies for both divisions of his race.
Borderline (Hymn – Romodia) won the upper division in style. Charlie Cool made the front running with Festival Night, Starlight Magic and Winchester in a huddle. Borderline was a length behind this bunch. At the turn, Festival Knight went slightly wide losing precious ground and also lost the nip. That was the end of her challenge. Charlie Cool went steadily with Starlight Magic on his heels. Borderline started to warm up and with a sudden surge, Borderline shot ahead to win with authority. Charlie Cool lost the battle for the runner up berth to Starlight Magic who found the winner too good.
The lower division of the Dady Adenwalla Trophy was picked up by Destined To Glory (Glory of Dancer – Double Wish). Fortuner put up a fiery pace to lead the field and right with him was Destined To Glory. The favourite Moonscape was well in touch with the pair, as they straightened for home. Fortuner showed no signs of weakening as he galloped on at a faster clip. Destined to Glory matched him stride for stride. Moonscape was not finding much and was lagging behind these two. Destined to Glory fought hard to get past Fortuner but managed to do so closer home to prevail by half a length.
Sheriff (Key of Luck – Hygirl) picked up the first race, the PR Mehta Trophy over a distance of 2400 meters. Sheriff has shown his liking for the distance and he marched on from the word go making every post a winning one. Lake Geneva the first favourite returned a disappointing second and could not even offer a run for the money. She just about managed to beat the friendless Aslan narrowly. Sheriff called the shots all the way and won in an appreciable manner.
For the Professionals, Dallas Todywalla hogged all the limelight, while jockeys Rajendra and Trevor scored a double each.