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Beautiful Stranger Displays Class and Speed

By Mahendra Mallya | 22 Jul 2011 | PUNE

Trainer S S Shah leading Beautiful Stranger (P S Chouhan Up), winner of The Rose Royale Trophy

Beautiful Stranger (Glory of Dancer – Double Wish) proved yet again that class certainly is permanent. Taking on a bunch of fiery sprinters over a five-furlong scurry, Beautiful Stranger, sitting prettily at the bottom of the scales, launched into top gear in the homestretch to blast away from the rest in a sensational show of speed. National Glory set a hot pace and when Highland Music joined him soon, he cut pace with the joint leader. This proved fatal for the prime fancy as at the business end, he had nothing left.

Beautiful Stranger sprang from nowhere on straightening for home and unleashed a terrific turn of foot and sailed away even as Ares was preparing for a final assault. Ares got the runner-up berth for his good effort. El Tropico, carrying the top weight (62 kgs), finished on well and ended a decent third. Native Knight was the one though to catch the eye, as he rose from a hopeless last to end up in the frame. And it was not because the rest were tiring. Native Knight covered ground impressively and over the distance trip, is most likely to oblige. This one was a good educating warm-up run.

Ceil Indienne (Burden of Proof – Ceil Fleuri) was another who displayed sheer class. Well fancied in what looked an open race that would go down to the wire, Ceil Indienne won with surprising ease. Rajasthan Royals was sent out on a start-to-finish mission. Ceil Indienne, a front-runner himself, did not mind chasing Rajasthan Royals, but kept a close vigil on Rajasthan Royals’ progress. Angelo was right there along with Tequila. Su Chaliyo, Oceanic Wisdom, Oh Calcutta and River Blitz were packed together within sniffing distance.

Rajasthan Royals led them into the straight, and kept the momentum going but with Ceil Indienne shifting gears, that was not going to be enough. Ceil Indienne, with C Alford astride, easily collared Rajasthan Royals and shot ahead smoothly. River Blitz put in a worthy burst in the latter half of the straight, but it never was going to trouble Ceil Indienne. On the day, the Dallas Todywalla ward was simply too good for the rest. Go Guzzi Go improved well towards the end to show up in the frame.

The Dallas-Alford combination landed a popular double with Class Apart (Burden Of Proof – Royal Deeds) in the Div I of the Victoria Falls Plate. Settling well in the fourth position behind Daffodils, Star of Killarney and Glorious Miss, Class Apart lived up to his name and out-classed the opposition in no uncertain terms. He was quick to forge ahead soon on turning for home and once in the lead, he looked the winner. Batista never looked like catching up despite a steady final-furlong gallop. Royal Companion did well to win the place stakes.

Jockey turned trainer Malesh Narredu making his debut on his home turf, Pune enjoyed a delightful first. Enlightenment (Razeen - Forest Treasure) ran on his own terms settling comfortably at the tail of the front bunch which was closely knitted. Dancing Money led the field home and soon Grant Park surged past to take control. River Tern, Ocean Touch and Freany struggled to make an impression but Royalty was just beginning to warm up well when Enlightenment was produced on the outside to make his final run. Srinath, who is in extremely good touch, got Enlightenment going and although Grant Park had what looked like a handy lead, he had no trouble in racing past and sparing a length at the wire. Enlightenment finished on full of steam and was a comfortable winner. Royalty may have needed this run and is a candidate to follow.

Just as on day one, the maiden three-year-olds’ race created a flutter as both divisions of the Velvet Rope Plate saw runners with longer odds prevailing. The bigger upset was in the Div I where hot favourite Scarlet Pimpernel was shocked by lesser fancied Pride Of The Hills (Warrshan – Precieux Act) and was beaten to third by 50/1 Ashwa Babhri. Scarlet Pimpernel never raised any hope at any stage as he raced in the mid-bunch all the time. Brave Vision led the field homeward and soon Pride Of The Hills, who was prominently poised, surged ahead, quickening well on turning for home. Ashwa Babhri was switched to the outside and ended a good second. Scarlet Pimpernel was pushed long before the turn and managed to latch on to the third place.

In the second Div, Irresistible Hunk (Alnasr Alwasheek – Classical Elegance) powered his way to draw first blood and thrill his connections scoring an emphatic victory end to end. Taking a quick jump, Irresistible Hunk build on the lead, and once in the straight, he sped further ahead and snuffed the fight out of his rivals. Kathelynn finished on well covering a lot of ground briskly, but only after Irresistible Hunk was home and dry.

Phosphor (Trans Island – Inventive) was off to a blazing start and showed a lot more zest than her younger rivals. She did extremely well to bolt to the lead from draw number 14 and never looked back once in front. She built on her first half gallop with a sustained stretch-run and won justifying the heavy purse she was carrying. She was backed with conviction and the odds drifted alarmingly on all her close rivals. And she won in a befitting manner. Jen’s Glory and Distinguished finished on well with the former barely managing to hold on by a whisker for the second spot.

Golden Heart (Choisir – Golden Carmen), who ran just once last Mumbai season, returned to tremendous form certainly at a wrong time for the connections of Snow Blaze. The Karthik-trained filly simply cruised past hot favourite Snow Blaze just as the latter was revelling his lead. Golden Heart pounced on him and in a trice was speeding away to land the spoils with a sizzling run. Nou Camp too got quicker in the final furlong and ended on the haunches of the favourite. Golden Heart looked in great heart and another triumph is not beyond him in this form. Nou Camp too needs watching, while weight may have been a cause for Snow Blaze’s fall.

Star Zone (Ontario – Dead End) won the first race of the day in a no contest. Jockey Kamlesh kept the Katrak gelding in check close behind the leader Money Flash. The two front-runners pulled away from the rest in the straight and Star Zone encountered no resistance from Money Flash as he sailed away to score a ridiculously easy victory. Laurus Pride too did not have to work hard for place money as Ashwa Prayag was never up to it as he could not produce anything extra in the final run.

Silver Screen (Diffident – Silver Academy) humbled piping hot favourite Lake Superior in a fighting finish. Lake Superior made constant progress and was favourably poised as they turned for home. Silver Screen too made steady progress and started to chase once Lake Superior took the lead. The duo pulled away from the rest and after a keen battle, Silver Screen with the in-form apprentice Srikanth Kamble put in a stronger finish to return victorious.

For the professionals, Dallas Todywalla was the lone trainer to notch a double, while jockeys YS Srinath, PS Chouhan and C Alford scored a brace each.