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Elizabeth Posts an Impressive Victory

By Mahendra Mallya | 28 Jul 2011 | PUNE

Mr. K N Dhunjibhoy leading Elizabeth (B Prakash Up), winner of The P Hadow Trophy

Elizabeth (Glory of Dancer – Queenscliff) put in a terrific stretch-run to demolish the hopes of closest rival Star Warrior to clinch The P Hadow Trophy, the feature event of the day in taking style. There was a minor hiccup at the start of this race. While the loading operations were in progress, with only a couple of horses yet to move in, the gates sprung open and those loaded jumped out. Fortunately, the ‘false start’ alarm was raised immediately and the horses, barring Superior Quest, were checked in time well before the front barrier, about a furlong ahead of the gates. Superior Quest though, dodged the barrier and went past. However, jockey Rajendra held the horse admirably, easing Superior Quest to a trot before long. They returned soon to face the starter matter-of-factly.

The latch on the gates seemed to have slipped causing the gates to open and on impulse, those loaded jumped out. However, this did not affect the horses and the race was run without much delay and it was business as usual in a matter of minutes.

Superior Quest shot into the lead and was closely followed by Star Warrior, Midsummer Knight, Scholar and Elizabeth. Scholar was a wee bit slow off the blocks and Harmonica took a couple of strides to settle down. Both, however, were quick to join the bunch and get into the thick of things.

Superior Quest led the field homeward but was soon accounted for by Star Warrior. Elizabeth swooped down on Star Warrior and sped away, marching untroubled towards the winning post. Elizabeth put in a blazing gallop to score gallantly and stamp her superiority. Star Warrior battled on only to shake off a lively challenge from Scholar to keep the runner-up berth. Harmonica improved towards the finish and ended alongside Scholar. While Elizabeth was the pick of the lot, the three who followed her shall surely have their moments in the Sun before long.

The day was dominated by the Shirke camp as they landed a fine treble in a small card of seven races. Lyrical Symphony, who was on a hat-trick having won her last two starts in Mumbai, showed that she had carried that form and won the mile-long The Cupid Plate in style, duly keeping a date with the three-in-a-row feat! A race later, favourite Tora Bora thwarted a spirited effort from next-in-demand Forward Charge to thrill his large number of supporters with a strong finish.

Lyrical Symphony (Placerville – Lyrical Fantasy) raced at the tail end of the field while Living The Dream made all the initial running. It was a compact bunch that turned for home, jockey Prakash switching course to guide Lyrical Symphony outwards for a clearer run. Ocean Princess was the first to challenge leader Living The Dream, the latter showing some resolve before accepting the inevitable. Soon Lyrical Symphony surged ahead and after what seemed a meek protest from Ocean Princess, Lyrical Symphony forced her way past and got to the wire sparing ¾ of a length to Ocean Princess.

Tora Bora (Verglas – Fair Folly) had to encounter a much stiffer resistance from Forward Charge in a fight to the finish. Tora Bora this time behaved at the gates and went in without a fuss. He took a rather casual jump though and was trailing the field for most of the early part of the race. He limbered his way to the busy end taking the turn slightly wide. Classic Ruler was at the helm and was flanked by Marudhara Ratan and Forward Charge as they straightened up for home. Forward Charge had barely taken over from Classic Ruler when Malcolm Kharadi produced Tora Bora alongside. Tora Bora loomed large but jockey Ladjadj Stephane worked hard on Forward Charge refusing to give in. He stuck around the ultimate winner all the way up the final furlong. However, Tora Bora always enjoyed the upper hand and it was evident that Forward Charge was fighting a losing battle. Tora Bora eventually won by half a length, but without exactly firing on all cylinders. An encore is right up his alley.

The Mistry colours too had a successful day with two of their horses, both firm favourites, thrilling their large following. Royal Highness (Royal Kingdom – Romantic Heights) in fact was the most impressive winner of the day beating even Elizabeth to that honour.

Scenic Silver shot into the lead soon on jumping out and cut a nippy pace right through. Ocean Wish and Lakhadema matched strides close behind and Royal Highness was a handy fourth keeping a close vigil on the leaders. As they turned for home, Scenic Silver proved a tough customer for both Lakhadema and Ocean Wish who tried hard to dislodge him but in vain. Approaching the distance post, champion jockey Dashrath Singh ignited Royal Highness and the response he got out the filly was awesome. Royal Highness galloped resolutely and flew past the grappling duo to a most convincing victory. In the kind of form she is, Royal Highness is bound to add to her tally and could relish a slightly longer trip as well.

The always consistent Maddox (Holy Roman Emperor – Nojoom) finally enjoyed his moment of triumph in the last race of the day. Though the odds-on Maddox doubled, from less than half money ante post, to tantalizingly close to even money closer to the race time, Maddox seemed to have foxed the bookies and won without causing any anxiety.

Settling into the third position behind Machala and Suryaveer, in-form jockey YS Srinath improved notches on turning for home. Voyager, who was stalking the favourite all through the race, moved up closer and Prakash urged him on, but Maddox grew stronger in the final 100 to easily keep Voyager at bay. Star Of Gibraltar had a good lung opener and was forceful in the straight after having to take the turn about six horses wide. He finished on very close to the runner-up.

The day started on an ominous note for the followers of favourites when Zaracha let down a large following with a rather disappointing performance. With Ocean Fairy out of the way being withdrawn long before the race, most thought that Zaracha would have it easy, Nou Camp’s impressive last run notwithstanding. Though Nou Camp had her share of supporters, Zaracha was the rage in the betting ring.

Titleist spurted to grab the early initiative and Zaracha was right up next to him. Nou Camp was in third keeping tabs on the proceedings in the front. The others filled in the numbers, save Cheponski who came from behind and was seen improving towards the finish. Titleist, Zaracha began a tussle soon on straightening for home. Titleist shifted out slightly under pressure which provided reason enough for Srinath to lodge an objection for the second place, which was over-ruled by the Stewards. As the pair fought on, Dashrath Singh switched Nou Camp (Sussex – Chicane) to the outside and produced a strong finishing gallop. Nou Camp was the best moving horse in the final furlong and sped away to score in a thrilling finish.

Blau Himmel (Royal Kingdom – Calais) was the biggest upset of the day. While horses like Scintillating Star, Adventurer and Tag Along Tommy were shaping the market trends, Blau HImmel chose the moment to call his own shots.

Uproar led the bunch into the straight with a clustered pack napping at his heels. Adventurer looked likely to make the most of it. Scintillating Star was warming up too while Blau Himmel stuck to the rails and his perseverance paid off when he charged through the narrow opening he got. Once Blau Himmel created his own passage, he sailed through and accelerated well to ward off a late but stiff challenge from Scintillating Star. Uproar stubbornly held on to win place money, a good effort indeed. Adventurer, who looked a bit dry in the paddock, completed the frame.

For the professionals, trainer Pesi Shroff saddled a brace while jockeys B Prakash and Dashrath Singh scored a double each.