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Jagit Singh’s Rajasthan Royals Powers to Victory

By Mahendra Mallya | 24 Sep 2011 | PUNE

Trainer Adhirajsingh Jodha leading Rajasthan Royals (C S Jodha Up), winner of The Pelican Trophy

Gazal maestro Jagjit Singh Dhiman, who is battling for life the at the Leelavati hospital in Mumbai, was sorely missed on the Pune race track as his gutsy horse Rajasthan Royals (Hymn – Jukebox) battled higher rated horses and heavy odds and scored a handsome victory in top class over the mile trip, which many thought was a bit too extended for the gelding.

“Mr Jagjit Singh always maintained that Rajasthan Royals would certainly get a mile. There was no doubt on his mind. After he won his last outing over seven furlongs, Jagjit insisted we run him over the mile and we agreed. Sadly he is in the incentive care and could not watch his prophecy come true. He would have exalted at witnessing and leading in his horse feeling completely vindicated” said trainer Adhirajsingh Jodha.

Most believed that Rajasthan Royals was a sprinter. Few thought he would get the seven furlongs and there were even less takers who fancied Rajasthan Royals over the mile trip. However, the bay gelding proved his master right and put in a forceful gallop in the final stages of the race to shock Angelo and company to score a determined victory in the Pelican Trophy for top class horses. 

All the seven runners were tightly packed as they steered into the straight. Desert Rule at the helm was soon passed by Angelo who took charge readily and looked good. Rajasthan Royals was along the rails between horses. Su Chaliyo was making his bid from the centre, while Dear Henry was fast losing way and Belligerent appearing on the outside. 

Angelo darted ahead and was soon challenged by Su Chaliyo, Desert Rule was proving a tough nut to crack too at that stage. Rajasthan Royals was warming up and looking for room to unleash his run. Belligerent was covering ground briskly. Then it all happened. With less than 100 to go, Rajasthan Royals found enough room to squeeze through and he seized the moment to slice through between Angelo and Su Chaliyo and bolted forward to leave them all panting. Rajasthan Royals dazzled and scored an emphatic victory with Belligerent ending a notable second a shade ahead of Angelo and Su Chaliyo. 

Trainer Imtiaz Sait had a memorable day as three of his wards returned triumphant. It all started with Invictus winning the E d’Avoine Trophy with authority. Invictus followed Smart Hunter until they straightened up and then pushed forward with a powerful burst to leave the field cold and runaway to a very convincing victory. Swift Memories was being pushed even before the bend but she managed to run to claim the second spot far behind Invictus. 

Set Afire (Captain Rio – Bawader) literally set the turf on fire with a sizzling gallop and earned herself a gallant win in the higher class, and a double on the trot for her trainer Imtiaz Sait. Taking a quick jump, Set Afire then let National Glory take the lead and followed close behind in second. Bullet was closer to the rear but making gradual progress. 

Soon on turning for home, Set Afire took charge and shook off National Glory rather easily and then marched on ahead at a fast clip. Bullet tried hard to catch up but struggled to get to within a length of Set Afire who compiled a smart victory. Oceanic Wisdom caught the eye finishing on fastest, just about losing out on the runner up berth. 

Imtiaz then ended the day with another victory, his Emerald Star (Steinbeck – Wave of Bliss) surviving some tense moments coming inside the final furlong which later spilled over to the stewards’ room. 

Emerald Star hit the front soon on start and led them all the way. Chingari, who was last but one right up to the turn, improved steadily and midway up the straight was in striking distance from Emerald Star. Chingari lit up all of sudden and surged to cover the gap. At the same juncture, Emerald Star shifted outward and went across a speeding Chingari. Shirkanth Kamble, the rider of Chingari failed to catch up with Emerald Star but subsequently lodged an objection for the said incident. The Stewards after interviewing both jockeys concerned, overruled the objection. 

The Pegasus Trophy was another interesting sprint race with a bunch of fast customers lining up for the start. Star of Venus was the popular choice and she set about chasing owner-mate Ocean Fairy from early on. Angels Pursuit and Phosphor were right up with Star of Venus. Scenic Silver was next along the outer side while Check her Out stuck to the rails and that proved a smart move on hindsight. 

Star of Venus soon went past ocean Fairy and Check Her Out got a nice clear run ahead. Star of Venus accelerated well and built a handy lead, but with the great tempo with which Check Her Out arrived, Star of Venus was simply outpaced. Check Her Out scored a thumping victory and showed that she was in great heart. 

Agni Baan (Major Impact – Fire Dancer) was another one that was sent on a successful start to finish mission. He hit the front soon and maintained an upper hand over the tightly packed field. On turning for home, Agni Baan, went straight like an arrow, unleashing a fiery gallop, adding turf between himself and his opponents at a brisk rate. Royal Honour found that too hot to handle and could not match up. Besame Mucho warmed up late but had too much to do in the final furlong. Capriole came when all was over but covered considerable ground in the final hundred. 

Charlie Cool (Glory of Dancer – Inventive) too proved hard to catch once he sailed into the lead soon on start. Powered by Rajendra, Charlie Cool went like a bullet after entering the straight and pulled away from the rest with complete disdain to romp home for a smashing victory. The fight was on only for the minor placing with Carlyle Hills just managing to keep his nose in front on the wire to stay in the second slot from Song of Praise. Charlie Cool should improve further and an encore is right on the cards. 

Marauder (Alnasr Alwasheek – Aroma) galloped full of steam in the latter half of the straight to get past and run away from Jen’s glory to score his second victory in good style. He was initially well off the pace, dictated by runner up Jen’s Glory. He improved rapidly closing in past the 800 and in doing so hampered Gossip who, the rider claimed, was unfairly interfered even causing jockey M Kharadi to be unbalanced and drop back. The ensuing objection was rightly set aside by the stewards. 

Marauder got stronger after coming into the straight and easily sailed past Jen’s Glory and notched up a fine victory. Jen’s Glory did well to stay put for the runner-up spot ahead of Starry Glow who too had dropped back considerably at the half way stage and then staged a recovery to finish in the money. 

Mountain Ruler (Razeen – Starry Scene) after following Aphrodite all the way up to the final turn seized the initiative and bounded forward once they turned for home. There was no challenge or even a fight emerging as the rest caved in tamely and allowed Mountain Ruler to rule the straight and the Katrak ward reigned supreme with a lot left in the saddle. Westerlie ended a tame second. 

For the professionals, Imtiaz Sait was the star of the day with a treble, while trainers cooji Katrak and Faisal Abbas scored a double each.