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Macchupicchu Peaks at the Right Time

By Mahendra Mallya | 11 Sep 2011 | PUNE

Mr Berjis Minoo Desai, Mr Vijay B Shirke, and Mr & Mrs K N Dhunjibhoy leading Macchupicchu (P S Chouhan Up), winner of The Idar Gold Trophy Gr-3

Macchupicchu (Emerald Cat – Anaroma) made ample amends for his last start folly and made a dramatic come back with a solid show of stamina, coupled with speed, clocking 2:28:97, (just 0.19 secs off the course record) to bag the prestigious Idar Gold Cup (Gr3) on Sunday, at Pune.

Clarion Call expectedly spurted into the lead soon on start and led for the first five furlongs before Mr Greedy took over. Macchupicchu ran up in front with the pace and was galloping smoothly all the way working up a nice rhythm. Harlamoff found the company and the distance too hot to handle as he entered the straight fourth or fifth but failed to reproduce his final fury. Jockey PS Chouhan urged Macchupicchu to hasten his final bid a little before the final turn and on entering the straight was a neck ahead of Mr Greedy. Native Knight moved up along the rails with Harlamoff on the outside. Doi Moi made his bid midway up the straight and gathered momentum briskly. He beat all but the winner to end a good second.

It was Macchupicchu all the way, as the Shroff trainee got stronger and faster past the distance post. Chouhan was relentless as he was determined not to let go of the advantage and Macchupicchu showed no signs of weakening whatsoever. He would have gone on and the safety of the early lead in the straight was a perfect ploy that contributed to his victory. Mr Greedy held on well to remain in the frame. It was sad to learn that Mr Greedy then sustained a fall near the 2000 m marker and died. That was a sad end to a gutsy horse.

Macchupicchu after just one outing this season, was quick to return to top form and that augurs well for his future assignments. “Macchupicchu has always been consistent and even in the Indian Classics, he was right there until the end. He loves more ground and that’s his forte. He needed that first run to get into the groove as he had not raced after Mumbai. So I was not unduly disappointed seeing him run down the field. This was much like the Macchupicchu we know. I am now hopeful that he will give a good account of himself in the Indian St Leger later this season and this victory only strengthens by belief in his abilities. I strongly feel he will do well in the Leger,” said owner Mr Berjis Minoo Desai.

Home Alone (Glory of Dancer – Shockwave) pulled off a fine victory in the Div I of the Simply Supreme Trophy. Zakynthos, the firm favourite looked short of practise and ended a decent third. How he will progress from this run will be the key question. Home Alone was up in front just behind Heavenly Prize right from the start. Zakynthos was in the mid-pack as was Storming Heart. The others did not match up to the trio. Inside the homestretch, Home Alone had a clear advantage and he was travelling well too. Storming Heart moved up places to try and challenge Home Alone, but she was taking time in catching up with the leader. At the same juncture Zakynthos too surged forward and stuck by Storming Heart. Jockey Rajendra sensing the threat lurking behind was forceful at the finish and ensured that Home Alone, though not alone, arrived home safely. This was a sweet taste of first success for the Dallas Todywalla ward.

The div II of the above race was a cake walk for Bezan’s Sugar Loaf (Diffident – Rave). He sort of loafed until the final turn and at the serious end, he simply cantered past hot favourite Spirit of Mercy to draw away with contemptuous ease. Jockey DK Ashish was just a passenger astride Sugar Loaf and only had to guide the filly to the winning post. Spirit of Mercy watched helplessly as Sugar Loaf’s frame blurred in front of him. Prize fighter galloped on to end third but he neither lifted himself in the straight nor did he weaken. ‘Settled third and ended third’ - that how his post-race report card would read.

Bezan had earlier scored with Svelte Lady who toppled favourite Sweaty Betty in the day’s first race. The race was reduced to a three-way contest with leader Scintillo, Sweaty Betty and Svelte Lady leaving the rest far behind. Scintillo had Sweaty Beat literally sweat to get past him and when the latter eventually did so approaching the distance post, Svelte Lady gathered momentum to spoil Betty’s party. It was a close finish with Svelte Lady prevailing by 3/4 length and a neck behind ended Scintillo.

Salt was a big letdown yet again and those who persisted with her were in for more heartburn. Jockey Sunil eagerly brushed up to ensure Salt got to the lead soon on jumping out of the gates. Daffodils, Set Afire, Ashwa Paarth and Lakhadema crowded close with the leader. Salt melted soon on turning for home as Set Afire rocketed to the front. The force of Set Afire had enough combustion that even a late spirited bid that came from Talk of the Town and to an extent Lakhadema had no impact on Set Afire. The Jalnawala owned filly stormed to a convincing victory to the delight of her connections and a fair number of supporters. Talk of the Town caught the eye with a fine late effort and looks ready to come into her own sooner than later. Lakhadema too should a fleeting bit of spunk and needs watching. Set Afire is in good form and over the shorter version will always remain a live contender.

Tamarai caused commotion in the paddock behaving in a mulish manner simply not allowing her jockey to mount. She also refused to go out on the track and was forcibly withdrawn. The race saw a level start and Sea Bucaneer stretched out to establish a good lead. Star Venus followed his owner mate until the turn and then quickly shot ahead to take charge. Royal Companion packed up soon on turning for home and went without a whimper. Golden Heart entered the fray with giant strides and it was a matter of time before she sped past Star Venus. Dream Talk too made a brave surge forward and looked good doing so. However, Golden Heart showed that she is in great heart and posted to her second victory this season in as many starts.

Palazzo Grazioli (Royal Kingdom – Fedora) was the only other favourite other than Golden Heart to oblige in the long card of ten. He provided some solace to the followers of favourites on an otherwise ‘day of doom’ for prime favourites. Capitano guided the field and as they neared the turn, Palazzo Grazioli lunged forward to tear away from the pack that tailed him. He streaked ahead and put in a very strong gallop to put up a handy lead in quick time. Good Looking and Imperial Star both of whom were closest behind, just could not match up to Palazzo Grazioli’s march. Star Zone warmed up late and got past all but the winner. Ocean Girl too ran on from behind to snatch the place money from out of Good Looking’s clasp literally on the last stride.

Ashwa Prerna (Alnasr Alwasheek-Thanks a Lot) won the lower division of the D.N.Zodge Plate, beating her rivals convincingly. P.S.Chouhan brought her out from 14 draw quickly to join Star Glory and the two raced together in front till the last 500 metres from where Ashwa Prerna got into a galloping mood and stretched away leaving the field cold. Star Glory held on to the second position from the fast finishing Titleist.

Altaf Hussain’s Azul (China Visit-Roses in the Snow) pulled off a remarkable victory, in the Yogender Singh Cup, despite dawdling at the start. Aadesh Kumar seemed to be in no hurry after losing a little over three lengths and raced in the rear as the other ten runners travelled in front with Sheriff and Ashwa Gaurav leading the pack. Frost Fairy and Glowing Star made a quick move approaching the final turn while Azul had improved well along the rails, to be at a striking distance. Entering the home stretch, Azul shot through the front runners and sped past to romp home, while Glowing Star finished second ahead of Cogito Ergo Sum and Balaclava.

Bonny Light (Placerville-I’m a Nine Plus) tracked Torcello right upto the final furlong and surged ahead to build up a good lead and hold on by three parts of a length from the fast finishing Mischevious Z.