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Portrush Shows Grit to Win Akkasaheb Maharaj

By Mahendra Mallya | 21 Aug 2010 | PUNE

Trainer Ms N B Chenoy leading Portrush (P Kamlesh Up), winner of The Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy

Portrush (Razeen-Husun), owned by Mr Jaydev Modi and Mr Dilip Thomas, showed a lot of courage and beat his much younger and reputed opponents to win the Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy in a thrilling finish. Beyond Belief shot to the lead with Portrush and Forest Flair in close attendance. Spiritual came next and Arts led the other half. Portrush shifted to top gear and galloped ahead marching on at full steam. Spiritual was improving while Forest Flair failed to produce his best form yet again. Arts started to make considerable headway but the weight told on Arts. Yet he covered ground well to collar Spirituall, failing only to get past the winner by a narrow half length.

Violetta came in with a burst far too late and just managed to figure in the frame. Portrush won this very race during the last Pune Season under the charge of trainer Bezan Chinoy. This, perhaps, is the only occasion that a father and daughter have won the same race back-to-back with the same horse! Young Ms Chinoy was ecstatic while leading in the seven-year-old Portrush who was one among the fancied lot. Jockey C Rajendra was once again the star of the day winning all his three engagements, returning with a 100% result. Rajendra, however, had to earn his victories in each of the races. Ocean Wish (Diffident-Marmalade) was the raging hot favourite with ridiculous odds.

Aqualina seemed to be the only worthy rival and that assumption lived up to its billing. Aqualina led the field homeward and when Ocean Wish came alongside, Aqualina put up stiff resistance. Rajendra had to dig deep to overpower the second-in-demand and Ocean Wish got past Aqualina after a grim battle close home. Claim To Fame ended a tame third. Oceanic Wisdom (Mr. Mellon- Star Profile) won the DNA Trophy, the supporting event of the day warding off a challenge from Maria Teresa. Both the winner and the runner-up were up in front right from the start.

Oceanic Wisdom entered the straight with a handy lead and soon Maria Teresa moved up to test the joint favourite. Oceanic Wisdom was well up to the challenge and galloped strongly in the final furlong to keep Maria Teresa safely at bay. Here again, Rajendra had to be alert all the way and did well to keep Oceanic Wisdom going. Maria Teresa was impressive as well and will score on her day which doesn’t seem far. The rest have some distance to travel. Rajendra completed a well-deserved treble in the last race of the day astride Star Of Killarney (Ontario-Lakes Of Killarney). Rajendra this time won in a more clinical fashion without causing much anxiety. Settling into the fourth slot, albeit some distance behind Glorious Miss the leader, Star Of Killarney made steady progress and was in striking position at the top of the straight.

Glorious Miss was soon accosted by the favourite who had moved up rapidly. Crème De La Crème, who took a clean jump this time, also moved nicely to be in the vicinity but found the winner too good. Star Of Killarney stretched ahead and won easing up allowing Crème De La Crème to narrow the margin of victory. Legionnaire covered some ground in the dying moments suggesting that he is running into form. Glorious Miss ran a good third.

Mia Stella (Verglas-Constantia) won the first race easily providing jockey Suraj Narredu and trainer Katrak their only success on the day. Running third behind Reinstate and Winning Treat initially, Mia Stella improved one slot to stalk the leader from the half-way stage. Reinstate entered the straight with a handy lead but could not raise the bar. Mia Stella took a couple of strides to get going and once she started to accelerate, the grey filly galloped away to post an easy victory. Reinstate finished a good second.

Sine Qua Non (Royal Kiingdom-Bonjour tristesse) produced an impressive turn of foot in the latter half of the stretch to humble a good attempt made by Blumarine. Settling into the fifth slot in a tightly packed front bunch, Sine Qua Non wriggled free from the rails to launch an all-out assault upon Blumarine who looked good when he galloped into the lead at about 300m. Dear Henry who attempted it start to finish faded away soon on turning for home. Sine Qua Non was by far the best moving filly and landed the spoils convincingly.

Born Special, who was in the rear, gained places and did well to end third. Tequila (Alnasr Alwashek-Bay of Angels) turned in another electrifying run to romp home in style. Jockey Ladjadj Stephne celebrated standing upright and looking back at his challengers as Tequila raced past the post. Tequila went into the lead as they turned for home and soon built a good lead. Amore Mio did not quicken fast enough to pose a serious threat. San Rafael looked to stretch the leader but failed to sustain his momentum and at best gave his few supporters something to shout about. Tequila was too good on the day and Stephane seemed too keen to make up for the last start disqualification.

Laserre (Storm Trooper-Cut of the Cloth) flew in the final furlong to shock favourite Tell Me More on the last stride. Tell Me More seemed to be in control for the most part of the homestretch once he took charge on entering the straight. Green Signal was trying hard to stay in contention and was rewarded with the third place. Tell Me More galloped strongly and was heading to his second consecutive victory. Jockey NS Parmar brought Laserre on the wide outside and Laserre was finishing on with a tremendous burst. The duo flew past the winning post almost together and Laserre in the end won by half length. This was a truly impressive gallop and Laserre with such blinding speed can look to score again.

Festive Light (Major Impact-Andes) dropped a bombshell and won when least expected. Jumping out well from the gates this time, Festive Light made it a no-contest from the moment they entered the straight. Festive Light sailed through with surprising ease and outclassed her hapless opposition. Sparkler ended a tame third ahead of The Rebel. For the professionals, C Rajendra scored a fine treble and trainer SK Sunderji increased his tally by two.