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Eloise Sails Through Ocean And Beyond

By Mahendra Mallya | 12 Sep 2010 | PUNE

Mr & Mrs Vijay B Shirke & K N Dhunjibhoy leading Eloise (B Prakash Up), winner of The S A Poonawalla Multi-Million Grade-II

Eloise (Glory of Dancer - Confiding), owned by Vijay Shirke, KN Dhunjibhoy and Bergis Minoo Desai, earned a well-fought victory to claim the top honours in the prestigious SA Poonawalla Multi-Mullion (GR2) and bring home an exquisite trophy along with a rich purse of a little over Rs 1.3 million in winning stakes. Ocean And Beyond, the overwhelming favourite was right there until the very end, ending up a good second. Eloise and Ocean And Beyond were tracking each other in the third-fourth positions behind pacemaker Ocean Princess and Ciel Indienne.

Travelling comfortably throughout, both made their forward charge almost at the same juncture, turning for home. Eloise was the first to step on the throttle and went past Ocean Princess, who shut shop soon in the straight and the never-say-die Ciel Indienne. Soon Ocean And Beyond came along and matched strides with Eloise. Jockey Prakash was strong in his pushing and put the whip to good use. He never let the ever-towering Ocean And Beyond to get past Eloise’s hind quarters and maintained his stranglehold until the very end. Eloise galloped on bravely to showcase her mettle under pressure and eventually spared a length to Ocean And Beyond at the wire.

Ciel Indienne also made his presence felt with a stubborn gallop to finish a commendable third, close on the haunches of the favourite. Star Empire too did well to end up in the frame a nose ahead of Icon who was the pick of the beaten lot. “It was a great effort from Eloise, Prakash and, of course, Pesi. Our filly ran a great race and thrilled us no end. This is an important career win and she is bound to improve. We have no immediate plans on mind about her future assignments and that will now be worked out between us. I knew she was fit and in fine fettle but the joy of seeing one’s ward hit the wire first is everlasting, whether it was expected or not,” Mr Shirke said before hurrying off to pose for the ’lead-in’ pictures.

Mr. Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan, the high-profile owner of the runner-up, was not overtly disappointed and took the defeat in the right earnest, showing little disappointment. ”For one who was running after a layoff, my horse did well. Of course, he was tracking well in the morning workouts and had a good mock race under his belt, enhancing our hopes that he would win. However, I still feel he ran a good race. He has large scope for improvement and I am sure he will achieve a lot more in the near future.

Make no mistake, he is a good type and will shine in Mumbai,” Mr Wadhawan told Indiarace. It was good to see an unknown face from the crowd, a certain Mr J Anthony pick up the bumper prize of a Maruti Alto. There were 12 correct entries in the now famous 'Contest of Skill' and Mr Zavaray Poonawalla picked the lucky draw for the winner. Mr Anthony, a typical ’Aam Adami’ (common man), was overwhelmed at receiving this huge award from Mr Poonawalla.

The Villoo C Poonawalla Gold Trophy was the added attraction for the day. Dancing Glances, Ocean Odyssey and Cape Ferret garnered all the betting attraction. Ocean Odyssey was quick at the jump but was soon passed by Cape Ferrat who led the field homewards. Dancing Glances was not too far behind but that didn’t help his cause as he took the turn wide while the pair in front slipped further ahead from close to the rails. In the straight, Cape Ferrat provided a tough fight while Ocean Odyssey inched forward.

The pair battled it out for the major part of the homestretch but the Sunderji-trained gelding always had a firmer grip on the proceedings. In the final few strides, Rajendra drove the Wadhawan property to a decisive victory and completed a fine treble for himself for the day which also was Wadhawan’s second of the three victories that the Wadhawan-Tharani combine registered on the big day. Dancing Glances may have failed to make much impression but surely is not to be written off. She looks a good type and it would pay to give her more time and she will come about stronger.

Jockey A Sandesh, who was in the form of his life and in live contention for the Apprentice jockeys’ Championship sustained a fall soon after the start of the seventh race. At the time of writing this, I learn that he is out of danger and is being kept under observation for 48 hours. Indiarace wishes him a speedy recovery and like all racing fans would like to see him back in action soon.