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Adirajsingh Jodha Makes a Memorable Debut

By Mahendra Mallya | 22 Jul 2010 | PUNE

Trainer Adhiraj Singh Jodha leading Feona (C S Jodha Up), winner of The Zahra Plate

For one young man, this Thursday’s races will stay itched in his memory for life! Adhirajsingh Jodha, son of veteran trainer Magan Singh Jodha, started off his career as a trainer on a winning note. It’s so important to set off in an auspicious manner and for Adhiraj, his filly Feona (Hymn – Fabulous Fiorella) provided her young master with a dream debut by cantering home to an impressive victory.

Feona was the market rage and she proved them all right by romping home to a decisive victory looking a winner long way from home. If there were any anxious moments at all, they could possibly be just at the turn, when Feona was surrounded by all her main rivals. Little Warrior in the lead, River Gem just ahead, then she had Crème De La Crème and Titan almost alongside.

However, once they turned for home, Feona accelerated extremely well and shot ahead far too quickly and made it a no-contest even with more than a furlong to go. “Seeing Feona pass the winning post was the most exhilarating moment of my life,” exclaimed a visibly jubilant trainer Adhirajsingh Jodha. “It is easily the best moment for any professional and I am no different. I was overwhelmed by the congratulatory response for the crowd and that was truly touching.

Hands were stuck out to me from all sides with people I didn’t know scoring over the familiar ones. Victory, indeed, is sweet,” he added. When Indiarace asked him his feelings before the race, Adhiraj was candid in admitting that he was a bit nervous. “Yes, there were butterflies going berserk in my stomach. Besides being my first runner, Feona was also the piping hot favourite so that added to the pressure. However, I was confident that Feona would do well and she did in the most satisfying manner.”

About taking tips from his established father Magan Singh, Adiraj said, “My dad has been a great inspiration and a huge source of education for me. I did ask him questions about the last minute instructions and stuff and his words had a very calming influence. He was as overjoyed as I was when Feona returned victorious.” Magan Singh Jodha was a truly happy man.

“Pennywise won me my first race and that was my debut as well in 1989. I am highly pleased that Adhiraj has emulated that feat. It was a big day for him. Although I had a strongly fancied runner in the last race (Peregrine Falcon) I was more nervous during Feona’s race,” he remarked jokingly. “He has been around me for quite some time now and he knows his horses. Feona had put on about 25 kilos and was now in good shape after a set back during Mumbai.

The entire family was happy and rushed to lead-in Feona and it was a pity I couldn’t go to the track though I would have loved to,” said a proud father. Violetta (China Visit – Perpetual) stretched her winning streak to an incredible five-in-a-row since Mumbai.

Tailing the leader Forever Young until midway up the straight, Violetta warmed up nicely towards the finish and with able assistance coming from jockey NS Parmar, Violetta went past the lesser fancied Forever Young who returned a noteworthy second. Pillatus caught the eye while finishing on well to end in the money, just ahead of Dear Liza who toiled hard to figure in the frame. River Star and Our Fortune were a big disappointment.

Oh Calcutta (Juniper – Fabulous Fortune) justified the huge support she enjoyed and registered a facile victory in the Monica Plate. Sea Queen led them homeward before fading out. Angelo, who was up with the pace led the field into the straight and tried to offer some resistance when Oh Calcutta burst on the scene. Deep Purple was a spent force early in the straight and lost out on even the place money to Starfall, who did well running after a lay off.

Oh Calcutta easily passed Angelo at the distance post and sped away powerfully to score an impressive victory. Moon Farer (Warrshan – Precieux Act) caused a flutter when he drove home the early advantage to fox the favourite Constantina in the Albertini Plate. Taking over the running soon on start, Moon Farer who was never in the betting set a scorching pace right through and if Constantina hoped to bide her time and make a final assault later, Moon Farer made a mockery of that idea.

The Katrak gelding got stronger in the straight and smothered all attempts of Constantina to sail away for an easy victory. Constantina had to be content with the runner-up berth, while Zillionaire took the place money. Ocean Storm, also owned by the winner’s owner – Mr Rakesh Wadhawan and Mr Prem Tharani, finished a disappointing fourth despite being fancied.

The day’s most exciting race in terms of finish was between two rank outsiders – Prince Lochinva and Arabian Pride in the Victoria Falls Plate. The fancied horses, Highland Glory, Highland Vision, Catalyst all took a back seat and were never prominent. In the straight, Prince Lochinva came in with a handy lead. Arabian Pride was the only challenger in sight.

Past the distance post, Arabian Pride began to inch closer and at the wire got the nod right. It was a really tight finish a shorthead separating the two. Highland Vision will live to fight another day finishing an easy third. Imtiaz Sait’s Premier Connection (Alnasr Alwasheek – Premier Collection) was tipped to run in the money and the place odds dwindled in no time. The win odds, however, remained lucrative throughout.

Suzy Wong and Premier Connection both were a trifle slow out of the gates. Paris Hilton led them most of the way and once into the straight, Uproar took charge. Premier Connection improved gradually to be in the vicinity of the front runners. Suzy Wong was a spent force trying to cover lost ground and made little impact in the race. Mia Stella raced closer to the rear than the front and was niggled to keep pace.

However, she improved in the straight and finished on alongside Monk Ferrari to end fourth. Premier Connection went at top speed towards the latter half of the straight and pegged back Uproar a couple of strides from the post. Peregrine Falcon (Hymn – Mariana) was the most fancied runner in the Grey Area Plate. Alohamora, the next choice, did not raise any hope at any stage and finished in the rut.

Peregrine Falcon was right up soon on start and took charge early in the straight. Grey Phantom stuck alongside for a stride or two but found the favourite too hot to handle. Peregrine Falcon simply drew away in the final furlong to post an emphatic victory. Fascination covered a lot of ground to pip Grey Phantom for the runner up berth and looks ready to go one better soon. The Rebel came from a long way back to end on in the judge’s frame. Jockey CS Jodha was the lone professional to score a double.