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Raziya relishes monsoon-track, devours Romantic Heights

By Usman Rangila | 24 Jul 2003 | PUNE

Tantalizing dark clouds pregnant with uncertainties hovered over the lush-green locale of the Pune racecourse to play havoc on the minds of the track-managers on Saturday. Visibly harried by the climatic conditions, the quizzical estate officer took the safest option in getting the monsoon-track ready for use after giving an extra dose of water. When doing so, there was a silent prayer on his lips wishing that the rain-gods be kind to him by not playing truant that afternoon. The rain gods obliged. The monsoon-track and the underfoot conditions though showed a clear bias towards horses for whom such settings are sort of a boon. 
Raziya from the yards of trainer Cooji Katrak was a major beneficiary of this heavenly blessing. The filly by Placerville out of Star of the Stage lapped up the opportunity to make mincemeat out of her eight rivals in the Loyal Manzar Trophy. This she achieved at the cost of the sparingly-raced Diffident filly Romantic Heights, who was the centre of attraction for the betting citizens.
The Altaf Hussain-saddled chestnut filly was up in the vanguard as she gave chase to Energizer but was found shorn of her usual brilliance when the defining moment arrived. Jockey B. Prakash toiled in vain to get Romantic Heights to quicken but she refused to budge an inch. Meanwhile, Raziya raced fourth till the climb uphill and then took a short cut home. Before Energizer and Romantic Heights could come to terms with the situation, Raziya was already sailing in safe waters. The trail of dust left behind by the thundering hooves of Raziya offered a perfect cover for her adversaries’ shame. Saddle-partner P. Kamlesh accomplished a confident job astride Raziya.
Punters were in for some shock treatment right at the start of the day as Venire and Count Dracula provided bookies with a head start. Venire, a new entrant to trainer Narendra Lagad’s yard, came with a flourishing run as jockey Sunny Chinoy alerted the Metal Precieux-mare to her task that eventually foiled Silver Line’s start-to-finish mission. Both Akiydath and Karishma were in need of this exposure and should be ready for some action in near future. P.S. Deora-ridden Count Dracula, unlike his stable-companion Silver Line, was successful in making every post of his mile trip a winning one. The Magansingh Jodha-trainee lasted out to win sparing half-a-length to Twist Afleet, who was unfavourably placed during the journey and apprentice Vikram Walkar’s inexperience also coming into play towards the end.
Favourite Romantic Forever got up just in time to frustrate Karumba close home in the Noor-E-Shiraz Trophy. The runner-up, a daughter of Indictment, had stolen a march in the straight and was being hailed as a winner before jockey B. Prakash set alight Dallas Todywalla’s candidate.
The disappointing career run of the Steinbeck-filly Castle Beauty finally came to an end and this in her only second appearance in the care of trainer Mansoor Shah. Jockey Kamlesh showed great maturity after bringing Castle Beauty into contention on the wide outside and sweeping favourite Bhanuja off her feet in the process.
Despite lacking initial speed, the grey filly Sasha attracted heavy support in the betting ring which, probably, had to do more with her master Todywalla’s rampaging form. A vigorous effort in the saddle by Irishman Mark Gallagher helped the daughter of Excalibur’s Lake get the better of Divyakiran, who was eyeing an upset win after slipping into the lead at the bend. High Chief was clearly not prepared for any serious contest yet he finished a game third. This Hormuz Antia protégé should be making it to the headlines shortly.
With favourite Infinite rearing up awkwardly at the start, the main hurdle disappeared from veteran S.S Shah’s ward Demedicie’s path. Jockey Mansoor Khan wrest the initiative from Philosopher when the field straightened and made full use of his whip to keep the son of Batzushka going. Royal Divine came with an encouraging run but was unable to haul the winner. Finally, Right Arrow deprived Infinite, who covered much ground after the bad start, the third berth.