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Antonois Storms Home with Unquestioned Authority

By Mahendra Mallya | 16 Aug 2009 | PUNE

Trainer S S Shsh leading Antonios (P Kamlesh Up), winner of The Paranjape Eve Champion Trophy (Gr.3)

The Pune racecourse looked a pretty sight with the Independence Day crowd showing up in good numbers despite the Swine Flu scare. Race goers in western India are passionate about their racing and this fact was underscored yet again.

The Paranjape Eve Champion Trophy (Gr3) day turn out was impressive. The crowd was conspicuous and the large number had a lot to cheer about as Antonios displayed a powerful turn of foot to stifle all and sundry to clinch the prestigious race with a stamp of authority. Antonios (Glory Of Dancer – Twin Star) owned by the Rottonseys and coming form the stables of veteran SS Shah, endorsed the fact that his victory in the McDowell Signature Indian Derby was no ‘fluke’. He was firmly on his way up to further glory and the fact that he gave weight and clobbered the formidable opposition with a measure of comfort clearly indicating his superiority.

It was not as if Antonios had it easy all the way. He did have his anxious moments with a bunch up of horses surrounding him most of the way. The worst fears emerged as they came into the straight, Nitrous and Personified were a hurdle in front of Antonios, and the rest were fast coming up on the outside. Antonios was in peril of getting blocked between the front-runners who were not exactly bounding forward. Yana, the favorite, was fast appearing on the scene and Mr Greedy too was putting in a spirited run. Jockey P Kamlesh chanced upon a very narrow gap and bulldozed his way through. Once Antonios saw daylight, he accelerated with tremendous power to surge ahead and even the fast finishing pair of Yana and Mr Greedy was in no way going to match up to Antonios’ stupendous turn of foot. Antonios won comfortably.

Yana could have done with better handling. If the strategy was to run a waiting race and pounce to the front in the final stages that did not work well for Yana either. She should have been either taking the lead somewhere near the turn or soon after. That would have been her best chance. However, seeing the manner Antonios galloped in the final furlong, it would have taken a lot from anyone to get the better of Antonios on the day. Mr Greedy showed immense improvement while missing the runner up berth to Yana by a whisker. Nora was sweating profusely in the paddock. She raced in the rear although not too far from the front-runners. The head to tail of the entire field was never too long in any case. However, Nora improved all through to catch a slot in the judge’s frame. Riyasat clearly disappointed.

Jockey P Kamlesh celebrated Antonios’ fashionable victory by letting the positive vibes flow through the next race to earn a hard fought victory atop lesser-fancied Clarion Call. Kamlesh was so confident that even the forceful C Rajendra’s power packed finish astride hot favorite Aristocratic fell numb against Kamlesh’s goading on Clarion Call (Alnasr Alwasheek – Star Fortune). Clarion Call chased the leader Absolute Reality until the turn. Suraj and Aristocratic were in close vicinity. Then came Doi Moi, Golden Symbol and the others. Rising Hero was closer to the rear. Clarion Call easily took charge over from Absolute Reality and surged into the lead at a nice clip. Aristocratic gave chase and found it difficult to get into his fiery best early on but warmed up a wee bit too late. Had Clarion Call weakened a bit, Aristocratic may have edged him out, but Kamlesh ensured that Clarion Call gave it all he had and managed to stay ahead at the finish. Rising Hero galloped on gamely but only to finish alongside the first two.

Highland Crown (Royal Kingdom – Rahy’s Serenade) justified the cramped odds on him by posting a fluent victory in the Rajaram Chhatrapati Trophy for class II horses. Settling well behind Dancing Glory the leader, Highland Crown had only Saltoro behind him. Dancing Glory brought the field homewards and Highland Crown was waiting for just the moment to sail into the lead. Once in front, Highland Crown galloped on, Imran Chisty not having to use the whip at all. Saltoro laboured his way to the front but just failed to collar Dancing Glory for the minor placing.

Imran Chisty later partnered the heavily backed Saba (Glory Of Dancer – Fast Trick) to an emphatic victory. Hitting the front soon on start Saba never let Nuncio to go far ahead and the duo entered the straight together with Monarchos on their heels. Once into the straight, the Rehanullah Khan trainee simply bounded forward and galloped further and further from his rivals. Imran Chisty gave him smooth and easy ride that Saba still had a lot left in him even after the battle. An encore is right up on the cards for Saba.

Cabriolet (Glory Of Dancer – Highland Ghillie) scored the most impressive victory of the day. The manner of victory of Cabriolet was so impressive suggesting that he has all the potential to be a top-notch horse and a classic prospect. Cabriolet settled in the mid-bunch and bided his time. He made a forward move at the turn and was full of running when Malesh Narredu got him alongside Classic Ruler at 400. The homestretch got the best out of him and Cabriolet accelerated readily to draw away from the field. The opposition was not too strong, but Cabriolet devoured ground with rhythmic strides and clocked close to the course record without any coaxing from the saddle. He was simply too good!

Scenic Silver (Ontario – Silver Ore) made every post a winning one to claim the Classic Story Trophy in great style. Getting straight down to business, Scenic Silver shook off Sea Warrior and dismissed him out of contention even as they passed the distance post. Rajendra did give her a crack or two, which was never needed as there was no threat in sight. Sea Warrior ended a tame second while Premier Connection grabbed the third from Secred Relic and Mohabbi in a close call.

First Empire (Placerville – Star Spangled) showed tremendous improvement over his last two outings and notched up a facile victory with surprising ease. Sitting second last for most of the mile journey, First Empire moved to striking position at the turn. River Pride headed the leader Divine Majesty but was soon passed by First Empire. Prakash had only to hustle the Karthik gelding, and he darted forward to draw away from the field. Wilna never raised a gallop and ended in the rut. Star Alliance failed to quicken and will need time to sharpen up. River Pride too may have needed the run. First Empire has come to hand and will be in the reckoning in his next outing as well.

Mister Fixit ( Diffident – Camouflage) won the race in the only way he knows – start to finish, landing a successful coup for his connections. Leading the pack home, Mister Fixit ran on and built a handy lead passing the distance post. Classic Spirit began to close in, in the final furlong, but Mister Fixit held on to ward off the challenge which came almost when the race was over, to the relief of his supporters.