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Pune Racing Season 2003 - Preview

By Bob Sawhny | 16 Jul 2003 | PUNE


"The overall excellent facelift given to the Pune racecourse this year, which will benefit one and all, has been exceptionally well executed by the RWITC Committee and their staff " - Trainer Magansingh Jodha. 

The thundering hooves of a galaxy of thoroughbreds on Thursday July 17, will mark the start of the eagerly awaited 2003 Pune Racing Season comprisings 33 meetings which will be conducted over a period of a little over three months by The Royal Western India Turf Club's (RWITC). (July 17 to October 19, 2003).

Total Stakes on offer (including value of trophies) as per the RWITC's prospectus is an augmented Rs 3,57,52,500 which is sure to attract competitive and sizeable fields. The fixtures are: -July (four days): 17, 18, 24, 25. August (11days): 2, 3, 9, 10,15, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31. September: (10days) 5, 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28. October (8 days): 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19. 

Some Prominent Events: Aug. 10 - The 1400 Metres Ahmed Abbas Gold Million, a terms race for maiden 3-year olds. Aug. 15 - The 2000 Metres Hills And Dales Independence Trophy, a handicap for 4-year olds & over rated 20 t0 50. Aug. 17 -The 1400 Metres F.D. Wadia Trophy (Gr.2), a terms race for 3-year olds. Aug. 24 -The 1400 Metres Turf Club Trophy (Gr.2) a terms race for 4-year olds. Aug.31- The 1800 Metres General Rajendrasinhji Trophy (Gr3), a terms race for 3-year olds. Sept. 7 - The 2000 Metres Eve Champion Trophy (Gr.3)a terms race for 4-year olds & over. Sept. 13 -The 1200 Metres Times Of India Fourth Estate Gold Trophy a terms race for 4-year olds & over. Sept. 14 - The 1600 Metres Southern Command Gold Trophy(Gr.3) a terms race for 3-year olds and over. Sept. 21 - The 1600 Metres S.A.Poonawalla Trophy (Gr.2) a terms race for 3-year olds.Sept. 28 - The 2400 Metres Idar Gold Trophy(Gr.3) a terms race for 4-year olds & over. Oct.5 - The 1800 Metres Western India Owners Fillies & Mares Stakes (Gr.3), a terms race for fillies and mares 3-years old & over. Oct.12 - The 2000 Metres Nanoli Stud Pune Derby (Gr.1), the showcase event of the season, a terms race for 3-year olds. Oct. 18 - The 3200 Metres Suresh Mahindra Trophy, a class 1 handicap for horses rated 80 & over. Oct. 19 - The 2000 Metres RWITC Invitational Trophy (Gr.2),a terms race for 4-year olds. 

"The overall excellent facelift given to the Pune racecourse this year, which will benefit one and all, has been exceptionally well executed by the RWITC Committee and their staff who must be complimented for their painstaking efforts. The paddock area has been spruced up, All the tracks and bund schools are in excellent shape, as are most of the trainer's stables," said Magansingh Jodha who was the champion Pune season trainer in 1990 &1991. 

Jodha, who usually fares very well in Pune is raring to go and is confident of faring well this Pune season, especially with his wards - Fiery Future, Different Strokes, Kojagiri, Cryptonite and Oh God, a 3-year old filly by Concordial out of The Goddess. The prolific Jodha, however, feels that Imtiaz Sait will be very difficult to beat for this Season's championship. 

Veteran trainer Imtiaz Sait definitely seems a front line contender to be the champion this Pune season, although he will have to contend with Cooji Katrak who has quite a few fashionably bred and good horses. Sait has been the champ in Pune six times viz., in 1986, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996 and in 2001 and has also been the leading trainer on nine occasions in Mumbai. 

The 51-year old intelligent trainer who was the champion in the last Mumbai Season has saddled over 1300 winners, which include 15 Indian Classics. He has won The Indian Turf Invitation Cup thrice with Charon (1984), Exhilaration (1989) and Super Brave (1994). Sait, also has the distinction of winning The McDowell Indian Derby with Exhilaration in 1989.

Sait's horses which should put him on the winning platform are Free Radical, Positano, The Polynesian, Enduring Image, Premier Passion, Premier Possession, Ippodamia, Moonlight Fantasy, Goblet Of Fire, Dazzling Queen, Energizer, Mr.Music, Discman, Twin Star, Self Appointed, Sun Seeker, Jade Hunter, Aerosat, High Handed, Destined Path and Highness.

Other trainers who have a good set of thoroughbreds and who should be in the winner's circle pretty often are Shiraz Sunderji, Narendra Lagad (whose horses are at tidy handicaps), Altaf Hussain, Hormuz Antia, Bezan Chenoy, M.K.Jadhav and Miss Arti Doctor. 

Todywalla in a quandary 

Trainer Dallas Todywalla finds himself in a spot of bother as reportedly, the samples of three of his horses, have tested positive for banned substances during the last Mumbai Season which contravene the RWITC's Medication Rules. The concerned horses are Star Carvel a 4-year old filly by Alnasr Alwasheek out of Amnesty Bay, Music Prospector a 4-year old gelding by Placerville out of Lap of Luxury and Supreme Crown a 3-year old gelding who ran thrice last Mumbai Season and who is still a maiden.

Reliable sources indicate that the RWITC Stewards or their nominees will shortly be deliberating on Todywalla's matter. Todywalla is likely to find himself in the wilderness for a period of time. Sources also indicate, that as and when Todywalla gets a suspension, his horses will temporarily be running under the care of Trainer Sorab Jilla.
The nominated Stewards of the Meeting for the Pune Season 2003 are Dady Adenwalla, Sunil Jhangiani and Gautam Lala. 
At this point of time, and on the last Mumbai season's showing, the 3 year old, from Western India who has the best credentials for the premier event of the season - The 2000 Metres Nanoli Stud Pune Derby (Gr.1) is the Katrak-trained filly Rapidash (Greensmith - Starstruck Actress) who was unbeaten in her two starts at Mumbai and who has been given a rating of 56. The only other 3-year old who is allotted a higher rating is Secret Romeo with 91. However, since the latter who is a gelding, bled in his last outing and has his stamina limitations, he would best be confined to trips up to 1400 Metres. 
Among the jockeys, Mallesh Narredu, C.Rajendra, B.Prakash, Pesi Shroff, and Mark Gallagher are expected to dominate the proceedings. The favourite among the lot is C.Rajendra who won The Kingfisher Bangalore Derby last Sunday astride Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy's 3-year old filly Glorious Colours (Razeen - Time And Place). 
FOLLOW HORSES FOR THE PUNE SEASON 2003: Aerosat, Aerosmith, Charlie Parker, Crown Affair, Daffy Duck, Dazzling Queen, Decent Proposal, Different Strokes, Divineintervention, Dunbar, Eglevsky, Energizer, Estonia, Exploding Wonder, Fiery Future, Flag Bearer, Flasher, Free Radical, Great Strides, Happy Times, Highness, Incomparable, Inner Secret, Ixora, Kanthara, Killybegs, Lochmaben, Londoner, Love Call, Mandalay Bay, Maracaibo, Mister Fixit, Money Star, No Excuses, Oh God, Orion, Palazzio, Pegasus, Pitlochry, Premier Passion, Premier Possession, Protégé, Punta Quilla, Queen Ernest, Rahil, Rapidash, Ramjet, Romantic Heights, Romantic Indian, Rosmini, Royal Celebrity, Self Appointed, Shamaal, Sheer Silver, Silver Lancer, Singita, Sixty Seconds, Southern Smoke, Spaniards Inn, Splendid, Sprungli, Star Magic, Starboard, Storm To Glory, Sun Seeker, Supreme Crown,Temple Tune,The Polynesian, Titania, Ungaro, Wave of Bliss, Whyem, Wikhed Idea, Zealous Cat, Zimbali and Zante.