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Racing Fans Treated to a Smashing Debut

By Mahendra Mallya | 20 Aug 2011 | PUNE

Traine P Shroff leading Smashing (S Zervan Up), winner of The DNA Trophy Div-I

Trainer Pesi Shroff has shown remarkable ability in tuning his younger brigade to what would universally be accepted as a Smashing debut. Not just a mere play with words here, Pesi’s Smashing (Holy Roman Emperor – Exquisite), an impressive looking bay filly, lived up to her name to the hilt. Smashing, ridden by S Zervan, was the proverbial poetry-in-motion in her first ever stretch-run to claim the honours in The DNA Trophy Div I.

Zervan played his part well in nursing the filly behind a bunch of keen leaders comprising Royal Honour, Flying Kiss, Sugar loaf and Ashwa Prajot until just before the turn. From thereon, Smashing began to liven up and when the heads turned for home, Smashing was prominently poised, shifting only as much as required for a clear run.

Royal Honour, the long-time leader, was first challenged by Sugar Loaf soon on coming into the straight and as these two were matching strides, Smashing appeared, looming large, striding impressively, gathering momentum and generating tremendous speed. She left ‘em fighting one another, but only for the minor placing. Smashing streaked ahead to build an unassailable lead within strides and romped home to make an awesome debut. Sugar Loaf, the other popular runner in the fray, was completely overwhelmed as were the others. Royal Honour stayed put to end a gritty runner-up and Mishri recovered to earn the place money. At the start of the race, Royal Honour jumped out and immediately swerved impulsively to the left hampering Mishri who passed on the shove to Sugar Loaf. The stewards held an enquiry into the incident but resolved to leave the order of the judge unchanged.

Lake Geneva (China Visit – Surrender) had to work hard to register her maiden victory. She had to be on her toes right up to the wire, what with Home Alone and Spirit Of Mercy snapping at her tail all through the straight.

It was Heavenly Prize who led the field homeward and at the turn, Lake Geneva, partnered by Suraj Narredu, inched closer and soon on turning for home, surged ahead from a line of four horses galloping abreast. Suraj got aggressive and pushed Lake Geneva to the front and had Home Alone pose a spirited challenge. Spirit Of Mercy shifted outward under pressure yet was making ground noticeably. Lake Geneva kept the momentum going and lasted out to spare a little over a length at the winning post. Spirit Of Mercy did well to gain the runner-up slot at the expense of Home Alone by a whisker.

Emerald Valley (Emersld Cat – Classy Devil) implied that the ‘no-run’ syndrome could be myth by dishing out a winning performance to halt the charge of Phosphor making his hat-trick bid. If Emerald Valley needed any limbering-up, the run up to the turn seemed enough for him. He never let leaders Glorious Miss and Aliyana get too far away from him and once into the straight, he bounded forward packing the leaders out of contention. Phosphor, carrying the top weight, understandably changed tactics and chose to come from behind. She did well to get to the thick of things and was the only one to make Emerald Valley earn his victory. Angles Pursuit warmed up far too late but was seen finishing on well.

Narendra Lagad kept up his consistency with a double which has become a routine to the Pune Champion trainer. Tell Me More (Tirol – Ask Me All) obliged his huge following but not without some anxiety. Lord Of Killarney built up a huge lead in the first half of the seven-furlong race and had viewers gasping in apprehension. He, however, burst a vessel and dropped out. Tell Me More was gradual in his progress and leisurely sailed past Marudhara Ratan. Major Wager and Emerald Star covered rapid ground in their attempt to chase down Tell Me More. Srikanth Kamble, who is gaining in confidence, ensured that Tell Me More did not let up until the winning post and held on by a narrow margin.

Apache Indian (Burden Of Proof – Star Of Nature) had showed signs of returning to form in his previous run but it would come this soon was a pleasant surprise for his connections. Over the mile-and-half trip, Apache Indian settled to fourth behind Urban Warrior, Prince Brijendra and Etiquette. He forced his way to the front soon on straightening for home and then on Rajendra’s forceful egging kept him in safe distance of his challengers Money for Nothin and Tryst With Destiny. Ocean Warrior was in prominence in the straight, but was spent when it required a zestful finishing effort to make a race of it.

Jen’s Glory found one better yet again and this time rank outsider Honey Bee was her nemesis. She looked set to carve out a much-awaited victory, but Honey Bee had decided to put her best running shoes on. Midway in the straight, Jen’s Glory was in the front, fighting hard to stay ahead. Although Jen’s Glory was travelling nice and fast, Honey Bee quickened well in the final furlong her way and forged ahead in front of the Grand Stands to create a flutter, upsetting the calculations of the followers of form. Honey Bee (Hymn – Able Princess) paid out a highly profitable Rs 175/- return on a tenner on the totes. Atlantic Star never looked threatening, but closed-in in the final 100 to finish a length behind runner-up Jen’s Glory. Last start winner Blau Himmel filled the frame.

Arabian fighter (Medecis – Lecce) got the better of a stiffly resistant Mriggnainee and the pair confined the race to a two-way battle between them. Always in the front from the start, Mriggnainee shook off Houdini who was alongside until the turn. Arabian Fighter who was following the leading duo warmed up soon and tackled Mriggnainee past the 400. Mriggnainee was hard ridden by the newly elected president of the Jockeys’ Association, PS Chouhan, and it took all the efforts of a lesser experienced but very competent jockey Aadesh Kumar atop Arabian Fighter to peg back Mriggnainee closer to the winning post.

Full Throttle was way too slow after jumping out level and lagged behind the field by almost three lengths. That was too far behind for a well-spread field but he made steady headway in the straight to end in the money but over three lengths away from the fighting pair.

For the professionals, trainer Narendra Lagad and apprentice jockey Srikanth Kamble combined to dish out a nourishing well-backed double.