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Snow Blaze Scorches Turf, Destroys Opposition

By Mahendra Mallya | 21 Aug 2011 | PUNE

Mr. Hoshang J Nazir & trainer Dallas Todywalla leading Snow Blaze (Neeraj Rawal Up), winner of The Panchshil Million

Snow Blaze (China Visit – Snow Tiger) ran a cracker of a race, his best performance to date, torching the opposition’s attempts to ashes. He was forceful right from the start and in the homestretch, he was dominant. Most were of the opinion that Snow Blaze was blessed with speed but he hadn’t convinced many that he could sustain the momentum. He blew that myth and asserted himself in a tremendous fashion and ridiculed the pre-race expectations that The Panchshil Million would be fighting affair!

Snow Blaze played his cards well. He shot into the lead and moderated the pace to his preference, not going too fast, leaving the rest unsure of doing something about it. With none to venture to question his terms, Snow Blaze entered the straight with a lot of steam and was feeling fresh legs in the homestretch. He quickened nicely and jockey Neeraj Rawal goaded him further away from the others who started to scramble almost in panic. Snow Blaze had enough in him and he tore away from them in the latter half of the straight to post a huge victory giving ample returns to his few backers.

Trainer Dallas Todywalla, thrilled at this show, remarked, “To be honest, I thought he would be right there at the busy end, but he thrilled me no end by kicking on. I see some stamina in him and would like to experiment giving him a mile race. He ought to improve further, so I see no reason why I shouldn’t give him an opportunity over a slightly longer trip.”

Neeraj Rawal was the star of the day driving home a fantastic treble winning either side of the feature race. Earlier in the day, he steered Pesi’s Roesti (Ikhtyar – Sarmatara) to a comfortable victory in The Big Joy Plate over a mile trip. After a quick start, Neeraj settled Roesti in the third as Ariane and Ashwa Puskar started to cut pace out in front. Zaar and Light My Way kept each other company at the tail end, not too far away from the front.

Ariane buckled under pressure even before the turn and Ashwa Puskar too had spent too much challenging for the early lead. Roesti soon took charge and then accelerated well to break away from the rest. Zaar got a dream run along the rails but failed to capitalize finishing a decent third when he ought to have finished at least one better. Light My Way was produced on the wider outside and he did improve somewhat in the final furlong without in any way questioning Roesti’s Superiority.

Neeraj’s third success for the day came in The Legal Steps Plate when he rode Spirit Of Ecstasy (Black Cash – Passion Dance) to a comfortable victory. Oluchi was quick to grab the lead at the jump and brought the field into view. Follow Me was a fraction slow but was the one to make rapid progress and is bound to learn from this run. Emerging Star was nicely poised close behind Oluchi with Spirit Of Ecstasy and Ashwa Sakira following close behind.

Oluchi stole a march soon on straightening up and although she had a near two-length advantage, never looked overtly threatening. Soon Emerging Star began to get closer but had a lively looking Spirit Of Ecstasy looming large on his outside. The way Spirit Of Ecstasy was moving opposite the stands, it was a matter of time before she shot into to lead and seal the issue. She did it in style and won well.

Spirit of Ecstasy was saddled by Pesi Shroff in place of Spirit Of Ecstasy’s trainer Nosher Cama who lost his mother. Indiarace extends heartfelt condolence to the bereaved trainer and his family.

Incognito (Kheleyf – Indistinto) carried a heavy purse on her back and was the only horse backed with conviction in the betting ring. She did not let her followers down and although she won by a narrow margin, her victory, to me, was never in doubt. Illustrious, making her own initial pace, brought the field of eight (Aristocratic was withdrawn at the gates) into the straight with a handy lead. Silver Screen was next but was not getting anywhere. Incognito sailed smoothly alongside Illustrious and the rate at which she nullified the two-length lead to join and pass Illustrious, she looked like she would leave Illustrious stranded. However, Illustrious was not done yet. She stuck it out even as Incognito thrust her neck ahead. But there was hardly any time for Illustrious to make a re-run. She did manage though, to set more than a few hearts thumping with the kind of stubbornness she displayed. Incognito though had worked enough speed in the straight, to stay firmly ahead and shrugged off the challenge in the end.

Rajasthan Royals (Hymn – Jukebox) produced a fiery blitz at precisely the right juncture to snatch victory on the last stride, literally shocking Angelo a stride away from the winning post. Moon Flower and Angelo formed the head of the field as they turned for home but neither enjoyed any advantage as the rest were following in close order. Ancient Wonder looked a casualty as he failed to get a clear run at any point in the straight. Either the gaps were too narrow or non-existent. He thus raised little hope. Angelo found some old form and was looking better of the two leaders the other being Moon Flower who tried her best to extend her run in front.

With Ancient Wonder almost out of the equation and the winning post approaching fast, Angelo made an assertive drive ahead. River Blitz too was moving with purpose and for a moment looked well in contention inside the final furlong. The action was getting too suspenseful when Rajasthan Royals inflicted a telling blow to grab the race from Angleo’s clasp providing young trainer Adhirajsingh Jodha his first double of the season.

Adhiraj had sent out Towering High (Case Law – Consortium) to a thrilling victory in the day’s opening event. Second-in-demand after firm favourite Auraria in the markets, Towering High, in the hands of apprentice five-kilo claimer Kavraj Singh ran a bold race to keep the ever threatening Dashrath Singh-astride Auraria at bay under constant pressure from not only Auraria but a few others who were hovering around as well. Towering High was made to earn his victory as Auraria got too close for comfort. The ever-looming threat was compounded when Watch Out and Hickory started to add their own finishing touches. Kavraj did well to keep Towering High going without a whip in hand. He pushed with vigour and was focussed and that won him the success. It was a blanket for the placing order with Auraria, Hickory, Watch Out and Wells Fargo rubbing shoulders at the wire. Wells Fargo ended one off the fence but caught the eye as he finished with the heap at a great pace.

Vittoria (China Visit – Prevalence) scored a facile victory with a tremendous stretch-run. Jockey Ladjadj Stephane had him in the mid-bunch as Highland Warrior set about building up a sizable lead. Highland Warrior escorted them home and soon dropped out. Ashwa Prerna took charge soon in the straight and Visionist too began to look prominent. All Ladjadj had to do was alert Vittoria with a couple of backhanders and the Bezan-trained filly bounded forward with a brilliant run to win with authority. Visionist ran on ahead of Ashwa Prerna and both needn’t be disappointed. Vittoria was simply too good on the day. Perpetuation got a sharpening lesson which might hold him in good stead later this season.

River Gem (Ikhtyar – Kilshannig) ran a gem of a race to post a victory with surprising ease and looked good for most part of the race, even before they turned for home. He led from the start and in the straight he got stronger to build an unassailable lead at the distance post. Tag Along Tommy finished on well to end second best yet again. Ran Banka ended a decent third while Macho Uno covered some bit of ground and did well to figure in the frame.

Neeraj Rawal emerged the star pro of the day with a sizzling treble. Adhirajsingh Jodha was the lone trainer to saddle a double.