Mrs Deepa Dhunjibhoy receiving The Nanoli Stud Juvenile Million Gr-2 from Mr K N Dhunjibhoy
Pesi Shroff trained three year old filly Portia (Bertolini-Pescara) began her summer campaign with an emphatic victory in The Nanoli Stud Juvenile Million (Grade II) at Bangalore on Sunday. Receiving perfect assistance from Zervan in the saddle, the filly strode away majestically towards the winning post. Being the winner of a single race thus far in her career, Portia enjoyed the luxury of carrying the bottom weight in this event. She had shown improvement in her physical condition and abilities by running a couple of "second's" in her subsequent starts at Mumbai, and given a feeling to her trainer that she had Classic potential. After her arrival in Bangalore, Portia was seen regularly on the training track. Those who had been watching her movements felt that she was the one to beat in the day's feature. However, there were a lot of good horses running in this race. Southern Opinion and Super Storm were saddled with penalties for multiple victories and the pair was conceding weight to their eight rivals. Hyderabad import Machiavellianism carried the confidence of his connections. But the one that cornered maximum support at race time was Karthik Ganapathy's Gold Glamour. This filly had shocked a talented field in a "million" at Mahalakshmi. Coming from way off the pace, she had flown in the last furlong to stun her opponents. Since that was the only start of her career, it was difficult to assess any further progress. However, the optimism of her camp was reflected on the betting boards. She displaced Portia at the top and started as the first choice of the punters.
State Secret and Cirque Du Soleil tore away to the front and set a decent pace ahead of Portia and Machiavellianism. Southern Opinion and Super Storm headed the chasing brigade at this stage. Favourite Gold Glamour was seen travelling towards the rear end of the field. The order remained more or less the same as they skirted the rails and turned for home. With the leading pair running out of steam and getting tired near the bend, Zervan did well to keep Portia out of trouble. He chose a path "three wide" into the straight. The filly was seen travelling comfortably and it was only a matter of time before she would hit the front. It happened near the two furlong marker. Portia swept past the leaders and moved towards the inside rails. With Zervan continuing to urge her, she kicked clear of the pack and won untroubled from a hard ridden Machiavellianism. Super Storm and Southern Opinion made their moves at almost the same juncture and fought a close finish for the minor placings. With Super Storm bursting a blood vessel, Southern Opinion managed to get the better of him near the winning post. Gold Glamour stopped in her tracks to finish a dismal last. Since this was a lead-up race for most of these three year olds, it will be interesting to see how they move up the ladder. Portia will definitely be a strong contender for the Fillie's Crown.
The afternoon was once again dominated by PS Chouhan. After picking up the Champion Jockey title in winter, the young man has begun his summer campaign with a flourish. He capped his double yesterday with an excellent treble on Sunday. While Winning Tactics and Mi Amor won by widening margins, Sabala had to be literally coaxed to win near the finishing line. Mi Amor opened as a firm favourite in morning trade. However, a flood of money in the direction of Top Secret close to race time, witnessed this Neil Darashah trainee starting as an odds-on choice in this mile handicap for older horses in class III. Mi Amor travelled at the back as Royal Surprise, Starista and Top Secret raced prominently towards the home turn. It was at this stage that Mi Amor began to quicken. She came strongly through the pack and emerged clear of the others. Responding comfortably to Chouhan's whalebone, the four year old skipped clear of a flat-footed Top Secret.
The well-bred Winning Tactics was a firm favourite in The Charles Todhunter Memorial Cup. The Hyderabad based filly had shown her liking for a seven furlong trip at her home centre. Travelling over the same trip today, she chased top weighted Grand Success till the bend. All Chouhan had to do thereafter was to release his grip on her. Winning Tactics bounded forward to canter away from Grand Success, Elegant Approach and Aladdin. None of the beaten horses showed any signs of an early success this summer. Deshmukh has a good filly in Winning Tactics, and she should do well for his stable.
Bottom-weighted Sabala had been prepared in the swimming pool by Puttanna. She was the lowest rated horse racing this afternoon. Making a serious bid from an outside draw, Sabala was quick to take the third spot behind Rusty. However there was an intense struggle for supremacy in the final furlong. Four or five runners travelled alongside at this stage. Continuing to push her furiously. Chouhan managed to extract some response from Sabala. With a sustained effort, Sabala touched the wire, marginally ahead of a late finishing Sayyonee, a tired Rusty and Savvy Concept. The winner was lucky to clash swords with an extremely poor set of runners today.
The two divisions of a sprint for maiden three year olds ended in contrasting styles. While Chase The Sun kicked clear of her rivals and justified her cramped odds, owner mate Courage in Red made heavy weather of his debut and finished off the frame. Chase The Sun was highly regarded by her connections. Trainer Padmanabhan had shown confidence in her abilities and taken her to Hyderabad to have a tilt at a prestigious maiden event at that centre. She was said to be "unlucky" to have lost that race. After a couple of steady preparatory gallops in recent weeks, Chase The Sun was opposed today by Defining Moment. According to most track reporters, Defining Moment had also been shining on the track. However, the expected duel failed to materialize. While Chase The Sun and P Trevor got a flyer at the gates, Defining Moment took time to find his rhythm. By the time they entered the final furlong, there was a huge gap between the two of them. Since this was the first run of Defining Moment on the local track, he can be forgiven. He will be too-good-to-miss in a similar event later in the season.
Courage In Red was the shortest priced runner this afternoon. Based on his good pedigree and brilliant track work, the chestnut colt was backed to the exclusion of the others. The absence of a worthy opponent resulted in such a scenario. Those who had chosen to back him at such prohibitive odds were dismayed by his performance. Courage In Red raced sluggishly throughout the six furlong trip and finished in the ruck. Balance Of Nature ran a forward race to lead into the straight. A late burst of speed shown by Nityanand's Formula One allowed him to beat Ensatus Elegans and Green Bay at the finish. The winner paid a whopping 150/1 at the totalizators. N Rawal rode a neat race astride him. The one to catch the eye was Balance Of Nature. Despite looking gross in the parade ring, she ran well to send signals of an early victory.
Satish Narredu's Abdsolute Majority made a brilliant start to his career by beating a group of talented and more experienced runners in The Ministerial Trophy. The seven furlong race for maiden three year olds had attracted some good horses. Pesi Shroff's Macedonian was a firm favourite in this race. The fact that the horse was running without shoes did not bother his backers. His Mumbai form was extremely good, and it was felt that Macedonian would prove to be too strong for his opposition. However, the Dhariwal stable had a strong contender in Sam's Pride. He had run a couple of good races in winter and had been subsequently gelded. His impressive track work showed that he had recovered completely from his ailments. His stablemate Alcazaar was another one that cornered stray support in the betting rings. The runners raced in single file for most of their journey. Macedonian led from the start and showed the way to Sam’s Pride, Absolute Majority and Alcazaar. With Macedonian sending distress signals near the distance post, and Sams Pride taking his time to quicken, it was left to Absolute Majority to display his talent. The first-timer quickened smoothly in the hands of DK Ashish and sailed away for an easy victory. Sam's Pride got up on the last stride to beat Macedonian into third place.
The only other race in the day's card witnessed an impressive performance from Pradeep Annaiah's Yourewindsofchange. This last outing winner showed remarkable improvement to carry his stiff penalty to a much easier victory. The stable had gambled successfully with rookie Bernard in the month of March. The said jockey was a mere passenger on that day. Since he had been slapped with a fifteen point penalty for that effort, there were many who felt that he would find it tough to put it across some younger rivals in today's race. But the connections apparently had a lot of confidence in their ward, and the same was vindicated by Yourewindsofchange on the race track. Sitting a handy second behind Final Countdown, Yourewindsofchange was shown daylight at the bend. Travelling smoothly on tight reins, he swept past the field and won unextended from Right On Time and Mr Glorious. The winner is a good type, and it will pay to support him in his future engagements.