Mr. Jaydev M Mody & trainer Ms N B Chinoy leading Portrush (Imran Chisty Up), winner of The Noshir & Dolly Dhunjibhoy Sprint Million
The main attraction after the Nanoli Stud Pune Derby (GR1) was the Noshir & Dolly Dhunjibhoy Sprint Million served as lip-smacking dessert after the Derby main course. The crescendo of the Derby had barely mellowed, when out came a posse of fiery speedsters, the fastest in the business on this side of the Nanoli. The race was expected to be a sizzler and the finish was to be taken to resemble a cavalry charge. Only, Portrush changed the script to hog all the limelight right through the race.
The bookmakers too seemed generous for a change, offering an acceptable 11/4 for the first favourite – Arts. El Tropico was next in demand at 4/1. The rest were at fancy odds, with Portrush at 8/1. Portrush (Razeen – Husun) shot out of the gates to take centre-stage right from the outset and set a scorching pace. The rest were packed tightly together, not much turf between Portrush and Sea Ruler who was at the tail end alongside Violetta.
Portrush entered the straight on a tight rein and jockey Imran Chisty moved his elbows much later than one would imagine. Once unleashed, Portrush responded with blinding speed and bounded forward at an awesome rate. In a trice, he was away and out of reach. None could hope to catch up as Portrush had already piled a massive lead to romp home clocking the fastest time of the season (1:09.27) for the six-furlong sprint. In fact, the tempo of the entire race was so fast that even Sea Ruler, who finished last of the ten, stopped the clock at 1:10.75. Incredible, but true! Violetta was the next most impressive. She came from behind and was the fastest of the rest, and covered a lot of ground to pip Pepe Junior for the runner-up slot.
Violetta was almost at the rear end coming into the straight and skirted around horses to get a clear run. Pepe Junior slipped through the inside and managed to smother the challenge from Spirituall ending a neck ahead. Portrush was a cut above the rest on the day and the seven year-old gelding from young Ms Nazak Chenoy’s yard, humbled his much younger rivals to carve a niche for himself. Owner Jaydev Mody was beaming with delight and attributed the fantastic show of Portrush to Nazak. “Nazak has worked hard in implementing the work chalked out for Portrush. She kept him in good nick and his top condition is the result of her planning and keeping a close watch on his daily progress sheet.
She got him to this level and to have achieved this at his age is commendable indeed.” Red Passion (Royal Gladiator – Shadow Dancing) was on song from the word go and she maintained a healthy distance from her rivals all the way home. The in-form apprentice jockey A Sandesh got the best out her and notched up a fashionable win much against the odds. Cape Ferret was not in the best of positions early on but finished on well promising his followers of a better performance next time out. He was too far back before the final turn and to add to his woes, Red Passion stole a march in the straight and that proved to be too much for the Vinayak gelding. Red Passion sped away in the straight and galloped on at a good clip to snuff out any possible threat and won handsomely. Ocean Odyssey found the cracking pace too hot to handle and ended a tame third. Red Passion has hit a purple patch and her trainer HJ Antia has done well to get her to optimum fitness.
She looked good in her victory and can score again even in the higher class. Sandesh scored yet again to compile a fine double on the second successive day, this time with Persian Lily in the concluding race of the day. Persian Lily (Duja – Persian Conquest) made ample amends to her last start loss and this time sustained her grip on the race all through the race. Leading the pack from the start, Persian Lily galloped at a good clip and entered the straight with a handy lead. Glorious Miss, who was tracking the leader, fell back without offering any resistance.
Ocean Legacy improved to second but that was as much he could handle as Persian Lily accelerated nicely to draw away from Ocean Legacy and the rest without extending herself. Nou Camp, who was not among the first four until the turn, did well to come through the rails and take the third spot ahead of Aberdovey. The later clearly needs more ground and would do well over seven furlongs. Ancient Warrior was the biggest disappointment of the day failing miserably to even make his presence felt. He even looked poor in the paddock and it was surprising to see him installed the favourite. His performance was even worse. Showstopper darted to the front and made the running and following her were Star Trainer, Telstar and Ancient Wonder. Amouresque (Mr. Mellon – Complimentary) settled on the rails in the mid-bunch. Caustic Finale was tardy at the gates and lost considerable ground at the start. As the heads turned for home, Showstopper showed no signs of stopping and carried on well. Ancient Warrior was plodding and getting nowhere.
Star Trainer was there but not improving enough when Amouresque came on the scene. Amouresque had been accelerating well but was under pressure. She drifted out a bit, almost erratic, but jockey Kamlesh steadied her in time to finish strongly sparing a narrow half length to Showstopper. Star Trainer stayed ahead to end third. Jockey B Prakash scored a popular back-to-back double winning the Prudential Champ and Jimmy Umrigar Trophies, astride Granados and Elizabeth respectively. Both were well backed. In fact, Elizabeth was the shortest priced favourite this Pune season quoted at 10 to 3 on, at race time.
Elizabeth (Glory of Dancer – Queenscliff) justified the faith reposed in her and scored her maiden victory without any alarm. Flashing Sword made the initial running and led to Ashwa Prerna and Ashwa Parwez close behind. Sweaty Betty was just around with Rob N Rob and Money Flash improving constantly. Elizabeth chose to play a waiting game and was second last ahead of Evangilist, as Indian Chief loafed all over the course to take no effective part in the race. Flashing Sword brought the field into the straight and Elizabeth soon pounced on the front runners with a lively gallop, accelerating away from her rivals a brisk pace. She took charge approaching the distance post and sailed past Flashing Sword and Ashwa Parwez without encountering any resistance.
Flashing Sword galloped on, but was pegged back for the second by Ashwa Parwez close home. Sweaty Betty disappointed in the straight as she faded away without making any impression. Ashwa Prerna did well to end in the frame. Granados (Ikhtyar – Glensanda) added to his first start victory with another over the extended trip and is earning a reputation of a solid stayer. He won over a mile on his debut and underscored his staying prowess with this well-fought victory over a mile and half.
Frost Fairy was quick to take over the running and kept it at a comfortable pace. She may have been slightly hampered when Sol dropped the rider in the back stretch and came across right in front of Frost Fairy. Fortunately that didn’t come in the way of her progress and the race panned out without any untoward incident. Frost Fairy was followed by Granados all the way and by the time they turned for home, the pair had clearly outlasted their rivals. Frost Fairy had a lot left when the race came to a boil and Granados had to dig deep to get past her. The duo battled it out until the last 100 metres but eventually, Granados was persistent and at the finish proved much stronger than the filly. He came up powerfully in the final fifty and surged past a still fighting Frost Fairy to score his second successive victory in as many starts. Arbudh ran on to finish third ahead of Lightning Cavalry.
Mighty Crusader (Placerville – La Bonne Vie) pulled off a fluent victory in the Indictment Trophy warding off the challenge from Weizhou and the late finishing Misschevious Trot. Taking over the running from long-time leader Moon Flower at the turn, Mighty Crusader put in a powerful finishing gallop in the home stretch to stay ahead all the way. Weizhou threw a challenge coming on the outside, but just could not quicken enough to make an impact.
Near the distance post, Mighty Crusader had Harmonica, Mystic Quest, Weizhou and Misschevious Trot trying to chase him down. Mighty Crusader looked home and dry only in last 100 metres and Misschevious Trot only managed to rake in place money with a good late effort. Superior Quest (Diffident – Days Of Glory) stamped his superiority to clinch The FA & KA Irani Trophy in a fighting finish. River Star led them homeward and soon Superior Quest improved going past Amberogio at the turn.
River Star was well ahead and Superior Quest set about to chase him down. At the distance post, it was clearly a two-way fight as the others were too far behind and not gaining in momentum. River Star had the upper hand until the last few strides when Superior Quest came on strongly to make a decisive dash for the winning post. Superior Quest just managed to put his head in front on the wire to win a narrow verdict. Walk Of Life (Ikhtyar – Cape Vaticano) made up for her last start loss with a splendid effort this time to score convincingly. Travelling well in the mid-bunch, Walk Of Life improved to run close behind the quartet of Reinstate, The Leader, Razmaden, Saddlers Rule and Itsdawnofracing.
Into the straight, Saddlers Rule went ahead but Walk Of Life was coming at him at a fast gallop. Walk Of Life stormed past to take charge and then went sailing clear to win comfortably. Daughterofdestiny ran on to finish third ahead of Razmaden.