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Beyond Belief Pips Juventus in Scintillating Finish

By Mahendra Mallya | 26 Sep 2009 | PUNE

Beyond Belief (Y S Srinath Up), winner of The Nirmal Ruia Gold Trophy

Beyond Belief (Warrshan – Leit Motif) showed what a brave heart he is. He fought the entire homestretch to pip hot favourite Juventus on the post to wrest the Nirmal Ruia Gold Trophy in a scintillating finish. Beyond Belief hit the front soon on start but found Red Romeo cutting a super fast pace. Srinath was quick to read the ground situation and let Red Romeo lead the pack. Agha and Juventus were almost abreast Beyond Belief and the rest were not too far behind.

Red Romeo led them in with a handy lead as Juventus set about in chase of the leader. Nearing the distance post, Red Romeo started to feel the pressure as Juventus pushed for the lead. Beyond Belief was another two away and Srinath started to work overtime on the Imtiaz Sait gelding. Beyond Belief started to respond well and inched closer to Juventus. Juventus fought gallantly and the duo went hell for leather in the final 100. It was the bob-of-the-head, which held sway in favour of Beyond Belief and Srinath celebrated with his fist punching the air just as they hit the wire. Diego Rivera found the trip sharp while finishing a noteworthy third.

“This was his twelfth victory and he has been most consistent throughout his career,” said trainer Imtiaz Sait of Beyond Belief. “He usually likes to lead the way, but today as Red Romeo seemed in a hurry, Srinath was spot on and read the situation well. He got Beyond Belief to settle in third and that served him well. He saved his best for the final furlong. Beating a younger colt like Juventus, who is in top form, is a great achievement. Juventus never gave in and it was a well-fought race. The result could have gone either way and I am happy I won it,” concluded Imtiaz.

Mr Padmanabh Ruia of the Ruia Stud Farm and grandson of Mr Nirmal Ruia, said, “It was a thriller and I am happy to see the narrow verdict go in favour of Beyond Belief who incidentally, is the progeny of our most successful Stallion Warrshan.”

The Rising (Forest Fair – Miss Padmini) determined to prove that his last outing victory was no fluke, smashed the opposition again to clinch the Prince of Ramgarh trophy in a blanket finish concerning the first five horses. Ares led the field and Ekhabinskya did not look comfortable chasing the leader. The pair entered the straight and soon Ekhabinskya got past Ares. The Rising warmed up nicely nearing the distance post and the SN Joshi trainee ridden by 5-kilo claimer Ishwar Pardeshi came up with a fast gallop. IL Divo moved on the outside to fly towards the finish collaring all but failing to nail The Rising. Star Attraction too fought hard and finished in a heap with the front four. However, the most eye-catching run of them all came from Irish Queen.

Irish Queen, Mr Haresh Mehta’s import, was slowly off losing quite some ground considering it was a five-furlong scurry. She then trailed the field by over five lengths throughout and took the turn extremely wide as well. She was last by a fair margin and certainly the widest at the turn. Nevertheless, Irish Queen came up with a sustained gallop, caught up with the front-runners and was just a stride or two shy of getting past when the winning post arrived. She was the fastest in the final furlong and ended alongside the winner and runner up. This run was most suggestive and Irish Queen is the one for your notebook. IL Divo too needs watching.

Moon Flower (Alnasr Alwasheek – Raptures) completed an impressive hat trick with yet another successful start to finish essay. Easing into the lead Moon Flower settled beautifully and got into a fine rhythm right from the start. Absolute Reality chased the leader and favourite Classic Ruler closer to the rear end in a close knitted bunch. Moon Flower led them homewards and Classic Ruler had moved into second by that time. Moon Flower with Rathore atop seemed well in control of the race and did not let Classic Ruler get any closer. Jockey Rajendra rode out powerfully but just could make no impact on the Nina Lalvani charge. Nina earns herself high accolades for keeping the filly in fine trim and getting the best out of her with each run ever so consistently.

Trainer Magan Singh Jodha came good in the day’s first race as he has done so often recently, this time with Strike It Rich (Hymn – Pussy Cat). Arabian Empire received heavy support and was installed the firm favourite. Arabian Empire faltered at the start itself jumping out awkwardly, thereby losing a little ground. Jockey TS Jodha, however, nursed the gelding to improve gradually and be at the helm at the turn. Arabian Empire shook off Calypso Queen without much trouble and shot into the lead. At the distance post, Arabian Empire looked as if he will kick on but somewhere at the same juncture, Strike It Rich also warmed up and under some sustained riding from CS Jodha, flew towards the finish from the wide outside. Strike it Rich was fastest in the final 100 metres and got the favourite on the post quite comfortably.

Highland Music (Greensmith – Starstruck Actress) gave Hormuz Antia something to smile about, in the second race of the day. This was one of the easier rides for Chisty and Highland Music from trainer Hormuz Antia’s yard gave no anxious moments to his followers. Having failed twice before as a favourite, Antia was determined to prove a point with his ward. He was taking on a good set of sprinters and it was imperative that Highland Music got to a quick start. Chisty ensured just that and Highland Music hit the front from the word go, with Ran Banka and Alaska in close attendance. Chak De made no impression whatsoever.

Highland Music came into the straight and looked a winner long way from home. Chisty only niggled him and Highland Music sped ahead out of reach in a trice. The manner of victory today was very impressive. Ran Banka went all out but could make little impression on the winner. Alaska too could do no better than stay on in third.

Churchill (Trans Island – Gin Oclock) won the Diamond Showers Plate handsomely showing a good burst of speed in the homestretch. Sitting off the pace in the mile race, Churchill moved to vantage position gradually and slipped through the rails early in the straight. Solar Angel led until the turn and faded out. River Rule who was in chase, was overwhelmed by Churchill as Suraj Narredu got him through the rails to storm ahead without any confrontation. Si Como No who was third all the time ended so without much ado. Churchill looks a good type and merits watching over the distance.

Trigance (Glory of Dancer – Indiscretion) was the other impressive winner of the day. Jockey Narredu took the initiative to get him to the front soon on start. Trigance led the field all the way into the straight and once they turned for home, she got even stronger. Perpetuation went all out but could not make any impact on the winner. Kite Runner came in from behind to claim the runner up berth. However, the one to catch the eye was Spellbinder. The Mallya filly was way back in the rear bunch but improved considerably in the straight to finish alongside the bunch fighting for the minor placing and caught a place in the judges’ frame.

Belligerent (Glory Of Dancer – Buona Sera) came up with a superlative finishing effort to win with last race of the day with conviction and providing a double to both, trainer Imtiaz Sait and jockey Imran Chisty. Royal Bella made all the initial running and only let Belligerent pass her in the race. Arabian Champ looked prominent until midway in the straight but just failed to quicken the way he did last time. Belligerent, who had been knocking on the doors for some time now, scored decisively with a final flourish that snuffed out the challenge from her rivals even as they entered the last furlong.

The race for the jockey championship is heading for a close finish with half a dozen jockeys logging closely at the top of the tally. Imran Chisty did his chances no harm by chalking up a fine double and easing into the lead with 14 winners. Neeraj & Rathore are tied at 13 while Srinath is lurking around on 12. Previous champion Rajendra is next on 10. Last year’s Champion M Narredu is further below with 7 winners to date. With Rajendra and Malesh Narredu languishing far below the leaders, Pune could well see the crowning of a new champion jockey this season.

The trainers’ status too is close and heading for a thriller. Cooji Katrak with 17 enjoys a slender lead over Faisal Abbas who is one short of Cooji. Last year’s Champion Naren is on 14 with Dallas, Shroff and Magan on 11 each. Saturday’s double takes Imtiaz to 10. With the Pune season entering the homestretch, the jockeys and trainers championship only gets hotter and an interesting remainder of the season is certain to make the adrenalin flow.