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Mayapan Trophy - Devilitto Wins a Three-way Thriller

By Mahendra Mallya | 08 Aug 2009 | PUNE

Devilitto (S Sunil up), winner of the Mayapan Trophy

Devilitto (Black Cash – Zografi) survived a strong challenge on the track and an equally serious objection off it to clinch a thrilling victory in the Mayapan Trophy, the feature event on Saturday’s races at Pune. Snatching the lead from Any Time Money as they approached the turn, Devilitto spurted ahead to work up a handy lead as they straightened for home. Young jockey S Sunil was working overtime and used the whalebone to good effect. Belligerent was constant threat, lurking too close alongside and gaining on the leader albeit ever so slowly. With less than 50 meters to go, Belligerent managed to draw level, however, Sunil too managed to extract that extra bit out of the Faisal Abbas charge and steered Devilitto to a hard fought victory.

Barely had Sunil wiped the sweat off his brow, another threat loomed up as the red cone was hoisted. Jockey Appu had lodged an objection against the winner for infringement at the 400 m mark. Frenzied accusations and explanations followed in the stewards' room and the race was viewed and reviewed several times. The rear angel view did seem to show that there was some substance in the objection. However, it was very much clear from the front view that while Devilitto did veer out awkwardly, he never really caused Belligerent any hindrance, as there was enough room for the latter to make her final bid and the entire homestretch to get past Devilitto. The Stewards, therefore, rightly allowed Devilitto to keep the race.

Belligerent may have been a trifle unlucky to go down narrowly in a charged scramble for the winning post, but it was Fluent Victory who covered most ground in the final furlong. Fluent Victory was racing in the rear bunch and had conceded a longish lead to the front runners. However, past the distance post, he got into top gear and did well to finish alongside the duo, ending just a neck short.Neeraj Rawal is perhaps one of the most under-rated jockey. On Saturday, Neeraj was as good as any top flight jockey and punched home a three-in-a-row starting from the second race. Suavemente (Valid Concept – Classic Stype) was making her debut. With only a mock race behind her, the Dallas Todywalla ward owned by the Brars of Dashmesh, gave a good account of herself and justified the heavy support she garnered in the ring. She left the paddock looking fit, alert and well groomed.

As the gates flung open, Blades of Glory took charge and led the bunch with Brave Gun making his run on the wider side. Neeraj Rawal was in no hurry and the fact that the rest passed him early on didn’t seem to bother him at all. Suavemente had just one behind her for most of the early part. Past the 1000, Neeraj started to make gradual progress along the rails and was in striking position at the turn. Blades of Glory led them in and soon found Suvemente alongside. Neeraj used the whalebone sparingly and just two cracks at appropriate juncture were enough to send the filly ahead, Neeraj in perfect sync with the filly! Blades of Glory did not allow any onter contender to get past. Resilience was a decent third but did not exactly show a fiery gallop at the finish. I will be surprised if Suavemente does not pick up another race before the end of the season.

The next race again showed the calm nerves Neeraj is blessed with. De Nada ( Razeen – Ocean Sunset) was the popular fancy slightly ahead of Claim To Fame, Oyster Blue and perhaps Strauss in the betting ring.

The rush for the early lead as the gates flung open, was rough and the jostling was almost like one seen in a rugby match. There was one casualty too, when Honey Bee slipped and fell dislodging her rider CS Jodha. Jodha, fortunately escaped unhurt and was advised to remain under observation. The fall though looked nasty.

Neeraj meanwhile found himself at the wrong end of the field, and was probing through gaps to get into better position. Glorious Miss and Mariposa brought the field home then fell back. Neeraj worked his way and rightly chose to make a run on the wider outside. De Nada quickly pounced on the front-runners and was in supreme command at the distance post. She shifted in which is why and when Neeraj used the whip as a corrective measure. De Nada sped ahead to post a convincing victory. Strauss had to skirt around horses at a crucial juncture and this cost him dearly. Oyster Blue too had a hampered passage but when she had the chance, she failed to quicken. Claim To Fame ran a good second.

Neeraj’s hattrick came astride Zarzaitine (Diffident – Sensuality). At the start, Radiating almost sat down awkwardly and blew her chances. Focardo too was a bit slow. Appreciate and The Rising were in front and the rest followed in a close huddle. Zarzaitine was fifth Neeraj smothering her keenness to dart ahead. He held her till into the straight and when he let her go, Zarzaitine unleashed a terrific burst to sail past The Rising and looked the winner long way form home. Though The Rising did not give up at any stage, Zarzaitine was simply too good on the day. Premier Perception was third all the way and made little impact.

Nina Lalvani’s Moon Flower did her proud by showing good improvement over her last run and scoring a decisive victory. Hitting the front soon on start, Moon Flower ran on powerfully in the straight to shut out the opposition almost a furlong from the winning post. Tell Me More was the only competitor in sight who looked helplessly as Moon Flower galloped away increasing the margin of victory. Churchill was the quickest at start improved in the straight to come into place money. Royal Companion was prominent but failed to quicken and needs time. Their Lil Sister disappointed.

Wings Of Angel (Diffident – Moot) pulled off a lucrative coup and her backers harvested a neat profit. Sitting in the mid bunch till the turn, Malcom Kharadi steered the Nana Raghunath trainee to the fore early in the straight and drove home the advantage to register a facile victory. Last Nights Sonnet tride to catch up but was overwhelmed by Wings Of Angels. Johnny Bravo ran on to earn the place money.

Polariser (Black Cash – Slide By) put in a spirited run taking full advantage of the allowance claimed by Ishwar Pardeshi to romp home to a convincing victory in the last race of the day. The astute placing of Sanjay Kolse proved spot on as Polariser returned to run in the lower class and combined with the five kilo allowance pulverized the opposition to land a lucrative victory warding off the late challenge from Expensive Affair. Free Spirit is the one who came from a long way back to run a good fourth.

While Neeraj Rawal had a fantastic day with three victories on the trot, trainer Faisal Abbas was the only other professional to score a double.