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Picasso Brushes Aside Rivals with a Gutsy Display

By Mahendra Mallya | 14 Aug 2011 | PUNE

Mr K N Dhunjibhoy & trainer P Shroff leading Picasso (Adesh Kumar Up), winner of The FD Wadia Trophy Gr-2

Carrying a saddle full of lead and giving chunks of weight to his rivals, the impressive colt Picasso (Black Cash – Allies Serenade) redeemed himself by winning the FD Wadia Trophy (Gr2), one of the two top feature races of the day. It was not all smooth sailing though for the Shroff colt, owned by the Dhunjibhoys of Five Stars Shipping and Ms Bernadette Trayling. Here is the story...

Picasso’s original jockey B Prakash, after guiding hot favourite Harlamoff to a stylish victory earlier in the day, sustained a nasty fall in his next assignment, the Royal Princess Plate where he partnered debutante Hurricane Henri. This was Prakash’s second fall in the current season and although he yet again escaped unscathed, he was advised to remain under observation. His subsequent engagements for the day, Cabriolet and Picasso, were entrusted to Dashrath Singh and Aadesh Kumar respectively, both of whom grabbed the opportunity and did justice to their selection.

Coming back to Picasso, the champion colt showed great temperament and class on the track, displaying an admirable sense of maturity. The race was off to a cracking start. The scramble for the lead began as soon as they shot out of the gates. More than half the field was keen to get to the front and the leader changed with passing strides and turf. Secret Service, who held the vantage position at the helm along the rails, was relegated to the fifth in split seconds! Greatness finally was allowed to escort the field homewards and he paid the price for his early exertions by finishing last in the race.

Picasso raced in the 5th or 6th unconcerned of the hyper-activity at the front and waited confidently until they neared the turn. From here on, he made gradual but steady progress and was a close fourth, well in control to unleash his final burst galloping four off the fence to ensure clear passage ahead.

Our Chieftain momentarily shot into the lead. However, his dreams of making it at last were shattered in the next stride as Picasso bludgeoned his way past him. Our Chieftain fought hard to keep track on Picasso but was clearly losing ground. Just when it looked like Picasso would have it easy and his new jockey Aadesh would not have to exert too much, Secret Service flexed his muscles and showed he was not done yet. The latter came with a powerful finish, forcing Aadesh to alert Picasso to the emerging threat that was getting too close for comfort.

Picasso was battle ready and though he kept Secret Service interested, he had little difficulty in maintaining his steel-like grip on the race, eventually holding on by half a length. Aadesh celebrated the victory by raising his fist in the air while passing the winning post. The lad too was up to the task and if he was under pressure at his last minute assignment, he never showed it.

Lake Paradise with Suraj Narredu astride caught the eye although he was never prominent for the most part of the race. He covered a lot of ground and never seemed to be able to go at full throttle. He was out of the picture coming into the straight yet managed to beat Oriental Charm and Amaretto convincingly to finish in the frame. Picasso’s was a class act - that’s the bottom line!