Trainer Sanjay Kolse leading Capital Attraction (A Sandesh Up), winner of The Moonlight Romance Trophy
Capital Attraction (Home Affairs – Luminary), ably ridden by Sandesh, won on a close call with the fast finishing Jewelled failing by a whisker. Al Attaturk added to the blinding finish with a determined effort just failing to sustain a strong bid. Winston missed out as he was found wanting right from the start as he failed to live up to high pre-race expectations.
They were huddled closely together as Lord Aragorn lording over the rest at the turn. Al Attaturk quickly changed gears once in the straight and marched ahead of the leader. Incentio moved up third, Sophisticated who was third all the time, failed to deliver and dropped back as Capital Attraction started to progress attractively. Jewelled started to warm up as she moved one behind Capital Attraction. The final 300 meters exhibited a solid battle for supremacy as Al Attaturk resisted the strong bid from Capital Attraction. The latter forced his way to the front inside the final furlong but Al Attaturk wouldn’t let him get away. Jewelled meanwhile, started to cover ground briskly and the shouting soared as the trio made a desperate dash to the winning post. Capital Attraction won by the skin of her teeth with jewelled rueing a split second loss. Al Attaturk emerged a gallant third.
Star Of Gibraltar (Alnasr Alwasheek – Dancing Image) lifted his performance a notch to prevail over a pack of horses snapping at his tail. Forward Charge, for a change, lived up to his name and took charge of the running soon at start. Star of Gibraltar settled into second with Sorrento close behind, Enlightenment came next with Icon on his haunches. Scarface lost a distance at the start as he is known to do, but could not reproduce that sensational turnabout that he has dished out more than once.
Forward Charge led them into the straight but had Star of Gibraltar challenge him strongly. He surrendered the lead to the challenger approaching the distance post. Sorrento looked to cut the margin that Star of Gibraltar had gained. He was ridden out by NS Parmar but not really gaining on Star of Gibraltar going all out with Rajendra’s strong pushing. Enlightenment was too far back coming into the final furlong and looked a lot less prominent at that stage. Srinath left him too much to do far too late in the day. However, he flew in the final fifty but by then Star of Gibraltar was home and dry. Srinath’s strike rate has come considerably down this Mumbai season, particularly of late. For a top calibre jockey, he seems awfully out of form, however with his class, he should bounce back soon.
Star of Gibraltar’s brave show earned him a well deserved victory. Enlightenment’s late effort got him past Sorrento falling short of another victory by just half a length. Sorrento ran well to end third.
Salt (Diffident – Conqueress) took off at the right time and kept the momentum going to win despite pressure mounting in the last stages. In prominent second position on straightening for home, Salt stormed ahead of Mystic Temple with ease and then made them all run. Prakash played his cards well and kept Salt going until the task was accomplished. The bunch immediately behind Salt was jostling and Visionist was worst affected. He got stuck behind horses and tried to poke through a few times before switching to the outside. That cost him precious time and ground which was fatal. Once he got the clear passage he surged ahead only to find Salt nosing past the winning post. Star Empire disappointed again but finished on well to rekindle the hope that he would make amends next time. He has done this a few times this season which is frustrating. This time it appeared that an additional furlong could have suited him better as he was really galloping in the final few meters and the winning post arrived a bit too soon for him. Nevertheless, for me, Salt did everything right, Visionist was genuinely troubled for passage and Star Empire put his best when all was over.
Shyam Habbu had saddled two debutantes – Grand Design and Winston. While Grand Design ‘soared’ up the stable spirits, Winston’s failure caused it to ‘sore’ a little and punters ‘swore’ in their minds. The odds went up on Grand Design (from 7/4 ante post to 5/1 race time), Winston was the tote favourite.
Grand Design (Intikhab – Octagleam) making a debut at 4, made a strong final dash to wrest the issue from a fiercely fighting Jacques. Jacques took charge soon on turning for home and was ridden hard to accelerate. Helen forced his way through the rails but after being in the thick of things, failed to sustain in the final 100 meters. Grand Design made her move late from the wider outside. She faced stiff resistance from Jacques but she over powered Jacques in the last few strides to win with conviction.
Marine Zone (Warrshan – Halos And Horns) with Dashrath Singh produced a scorching finish to pip Endless Horizon on the post for a breathtakingly close victory. Arabian Champ led the field home and packed up. Flying Star on the rails and Keringdingan was alongside when Endless Horizon appeared on the scene. Marine Zone was just behind and Shabdeez was moving on the wide outside. Endless Horizon picked up speed and shot ahead. She darted towards the wire and looked heading for a certain victory, until Marine Zone started to flex her not-so-young muscles. Marine Zone quickened remarkably and started to close in rapidly. She tackled Endless horizon in the vicinity of the winning post and just about stretched her neck to place her nose ahead on the post. Endless Horizon finished painfully close while Shabdeez did well to earn place money.
Diamond Zip from Dr Anil Kumar’s stables produced a scintillating finishing effort to flash past a free striding Captain Smart in the closing stages of the race to carve out a good victory. Captain Smart took charge and led the field working up a lively pace right from the outset. He led comfortably as they turned for home and surged further ahead on entering the straight. Neither Tomorrows Dreams not Mediator were making any impact on the leader. Diamond Zip was further back and he started to progress approaching the 300 m mark.
Captain Smart was galloping on gamely and was still sitting on a three-length lead when Diamond Zip picked up speed. He came with a gale force and was on to Captain Smart in a flash. His final turn of foot was too hot to handle for Captain Smart and Diamond Zip scored an impressive victory. Tomorrows Dreams ended third.
Roger Bcool (Placerville – Million Girl) put his last outing debacle behind him and reproduced his winning form of the earlier run. This time he adopted start to finish method as he quickly got into the momentum on jumping out of the gates. Kite Runner was left standing in the gates and took no serious part in the race.
Roger Bcool was galloping well coming into the straight with Fallen Angel closet behind him. Starlight Magic improved and got past Fallen Angel and even came within touching distance behind Roger Bcool. Roger Bcool then shifted out under pressure but that didn’t slow him down. He veered out and Prakash switched on to the inside with Starlight Magic, a strategic move perhaps with an objection in mind if he finished second. He did and duly lodged an objection on technical grounds. The Stewards did not waste too much time and overruled the objection.
Money For Nothing once again disappointed and didn’t even rise any hope this time. He went down tamely and the heavy money waged on him was for nothing in return.
Adventurer (Royal Kingdom – Gumbaru Etsu) finally scored a victory under trying circumstances. He was out on a start to finish mission over the distance. He set about a steady pace and on entering the straight, was still going well. Glowing Mist tried to match strides but fell back. Cavalryman planned an attack on Adventurer and came alongside him in the final furlong. Both fought a gripping battle that went to the wire. Adventurer held on by a short-head.
Bongani (Ikhtyar – Carmina Burana) returned battle-scarred but triumphant. His start to finish essay was challenged many times and he withstood every challenge that came his way. At the start it was Tell Me More and Prince Arius who were constantly questioning his lead and Bongani steered clear of them. Early in the straight, Mountain Warrior and Signor Sassi tried to dislodge him but he firmly thwarted their attempt. The more serious assault came from Augustus. He charged at Bongani with less than a furlong to go and the pair matched stride for stride. Bongani showed strong fighting qualities and stayed put to nose the wire a hundredth of a second quicker than Augustus. This one was a real cracker of a finish!
The last race of the day was also well battled over. A heap of horses finished on closely knitted together at the winning post. Mypethoney led from the start and entered the straight with Miracle of Mercy pushing himself to gain the upper hand. Double Diamond on the rails, was not getting anywhere. Flashforward was all out in chase, Oluchi and Ocean of Faith were away but were seen gaining on the front bunch.
The final 100 meters produced a grim battle as Mypethoney, Fastforward and Miracle of Mercy were in a line, with Ocean of Faith making a last ditch effort to topple them. The winning post arrested the fight and Flashforward with a do-or-die surge just breaking the wire ahead of Mypethoney and the fastest finishing Ocean of Faith. Miracle of Mercy was a close fourth.