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Lunar Quest Scores An Emphatic Victory

By Mahendra Mallya | 04 Sep 2010 | PUNE

Mr. Shapoor P Mistry & trainer C D Katrak leading Lunar Quest (Dashrath Singh UP), winner of The Jaspal Enterprises September Handicap

Lunar Quest (Major Impact-Lunar Music), trained by Cooji Katrak and ridden by Dashrath Singh, won the Jaspal Enterprises September Handicap in a most emphatic manner. Dictating the terms of the race right from the outset, Lunar Quest ambled towards the winning post untroubled. Dashrath hit the front soon on start at an easy pace, with Frost Fairy, Star Builder coming next. Dante Rossetti ran along the rails with Daughterofdestiny alongside. On turning for home, Lunar Quest kept going without Dashrath having to ’step on it’.

Lunar Quest, however, did shift out slightly and the jockey used the whip only as a corrective measure. Lunar Quest outclassed her rivals and looked the winner as early as the home turn. Cine Star Amisha Patel looking every bit the glamour princess as she does on screen was the centre of attraction in the paddock. She was invited to give away the trophy for the September Handicap which was received by the Manjri representative, Mr Sarosh Mody.

“Pune city has fond memories for me. My grandmother lived here and I used to visit her as a child. This is a lovely city and the warmth of the people here makes one feel absolutely at home. And you have a wonderful racecourse. The experience is wonderful and I am glad I came here and would love to visit the racecourse again,” stated Ms Patel. Native Knight was the biggest disappointment of the day. Having matched strides with the best among his contemporaries, Native Knight was expected to earn his first winning bracket against a small field but failed miserably. He failed to beat even one and ended a pathetic last.

Clarion Call (Alnasr Alwasheek-Star Fortune) set a leisurely pace and dictated the terms all the way home. While the field of four galloped listlessly all through the back stretch, Clarion Call ensured that the early pace wouldn’t take much out of him. Into the straight, Clarion Call moved with vigour and kicked on with renewed zest and stretched further away from the trio behind. Native Knight raised minor hope for his staunchest of supporters at the turn but even that fizzled out early in the straight. Clarion Call drew away and lifted the Fair Haven Trophy with commendable ease. Cabriolet ran a tame second as he beat White Knight in the latter half of the straight. It was the rookies’ day out on the race track. Two thirds of the race card (6 out of 9 races) saw jockeys claiming allowance net rich returns at the Pune racecourse on Saturday.

Apprentice jockey P. Trevor was at his best, driving home a fine treble, while another young lad, A Sandesh, scored twice. He missed out on his two other engagements narrowly. NS Parmar picked up one, partnering a rookie gelding to his debut victory in the day’s opener. NS Parmar started the trend of the domination of the younger lads on a successful note astride first favourite Granados (Ikhtyar-Glensanda). Sitting well up with the pace in the mile race, Granados got past Fish Pilot at the turn but had Tell Me More his main rival ranging alongside as they turned for home.

Granados was still in check as Dashrath Singh began to niggle and push Tell Me More. Granados, however, kicked on regardless, and in the end had a length and a half to spare at the wire. P Trevor, who of late has been doing everything right, was at his best when he came from behind to snatch the ’nose’ verdict atop Wells Fargo (Batzushka-Allelujah) at the expense of Sandesh-ridden Hickory who all but won the six-furlong sprint.

Hitting the front as they jumped out, Hickory shot ahead with Asclepieion and Wells Fargo following close behind. Final Attack missed the jump and was out of the reckoning. Sabanero was slow at the start and lost about three lengths. Hickory led them homeward and was accelerating well. Midway down the straight, came a dual challenge from both the sides. Wells Fargo was inching closer while Benedictus too was getting too close for comfort. Hickory fought bravely as Wells Fargo came alongside within sight of the winning post. Both the lads were then engaged in an absorbing battle and at the wire Wells Fargo got the bob right.

A fantastic finish indeed, with Benedictus finishing on the haunches of the fighting pair. Trevor struck again astride trainer Hormuz Antia’s Red Passion who attracted some serious wagering at race time. If there ever was a neat coup, this was it. Red Passion hit the front and once in the straight, reduced the race to a no-contest affair. Trevor eased Red Passion (Royal Gladiator-Shadow Dancing) to the front and the filly kept going with ridiculous ease. In the straight, Red Passion bolted ahead and won on her own providing the proverbial ‘armchair ride’ to victory.

Red Passion showed complete disregard to her hapless rivals and won on a tight rein. Favourite Golden Heart and third in demand Prince of Troy fought out the runner-up berth with the latter just managing to beat the favourite close home. A Sandesh, who is enjoying a successful run in form and result, did well again to notch up a good double for the day. The Rebel (Mischevious Music-Strike It Right) showed a lot of grit and zest despite his age (8 years).

Hitting the front soon on start, The Rebel shot ahead to extend his lead to about six lengths at the turn. This came in handy as he held on grimly at the finish and thwarted the late bid of Divine Majesty closer home to prevail by half a length. Harmonica (Gaswar-Titanium) galloped away merrily to post a facile victory, her second successful triumph in two outings this season. Leading from the word go, Harmonica made every post a winning one and easily managed to hold favourite Pillatus at bay comfortably. Coming into the straight, Harmonica travelled smoothly and with jockey Sandesh setting up a fluent ’hands and heels’ motion, picked up momentum, to race away to notch up a facile win.

Pillatus, who was lying last until the turn, gained slightly but could get nowhere close to the Sanjay Kolse trained Harmonica. Young jockey Ashhad Asbar had arrived from Hyderabad just to ride Cloud Cover. He executed his assignment skilfully to fight his way to triumph. The front-runners were closely grouped with Prince Lochinva, Amberogio and Suraj in the lead. Cloud Cover, Highland Glory and Belligerent were not too far behind. As they straightened for home, Prince Lochinva soon surrendered and Amberogio took charge.

Cloud Cover made rapid progress to offer his challenge and Belligerent moved up to be in the fray, coming up on the outside. However, the fight ahead was too stiff for Belligerent and he ended earning place money. Up ahead, Amberogio was not letting go his lead without a fight, and jockey Asbar had to dig deep in the reserves to get that extra bit out of Cloud Cover. The S Shaikh-trainee was right up to the challenge. He put in a strong gallop and surged forward in the dying moments of the race to seal a well-deserved victory.

Trainer S Shaikh has done remarkably well in keeping Cloud Cover in good nick this season. Suavemente, the favourite, was never prominent and finished in the rut. National Glory (Glory Of Dancer-Painted Faces) had shown exceptional speed in his last run while building a huge lead early in his last outing. This time, however, with Prakash in the saddle, National Glory showed more restrain and let Marigold to take the early lead.

But once in the straight, Prakash let the Naren gelding loose and National Glory shot ahead like an arrow and didn’t offer even a semblance of chance to the close favourite Native lady. National Glory drew away and won handsomely. Native Lady could only take the next best slot. Sterling Silver covered good ground to earn the place stakes. Apprentice jockeys P Trevor and A Sandesh were the star performers of the day, scoring a treble and a double respectively.