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Imtiaz Sait corners glory

By Silver Hawk | 15 Aug 2003 | PUNE

Trainer Imtiaz Sait has been going great guns this season. He has a formidable string under his care and the hard-working trainer has been able to get the best out of them. Easily one of the most knowledgeable trainers in the country, Imtiaz Sait reaped a rich harvest on Friday, saddling four winners, all of them, well fancied and at nourishing odds. The punters could heave a sigh of relief at the end of the day, hoping for more. The day’s feature event, the 2000 metres Hills and Dales Independence Trophy saw a three-horse finish, with the lesser-fancied Saint Emilion edging out favourite Maracibo and Antilles virtually in the last stride. Friendless Columbus won the Prince Pradeep Trophy, the other highlight of the day, at the expense of favourite Spaniards Inn who found the mile long trip too sharp for comfort.
The son of Kahayasi, Spaniards Inn’s forte is his ability to tackle trips, which test one’s stamina. He has abundance of it but lacks the critical speed to be a force to reckon with over sharper trips. The mile long trip was bound to go against him unless the opposition turned out to be totally mediocre. While the rest of the jockeys in the fray failed to exploit the handicap advantages of their respective mounts, apprentice Mahesh did well to take the seven-year old Columbus on a start to finish mission. Columbus, who has a bagful of wins under his belt, had not won over a mile long trip but against an opponent who cannot sprint, he had every chance after getting a break of over five lengths at the top of the straight. 
Malesh Narredu had Spaniards Inn in a handy second position behind the front-running Columbus but when the latter quickened for home, the favourite was flat-footed as he failed to quicken instantly as he does not have a turn of foot. The jockeys of Cryptonite and Reconquista erred in keeping their horses too far behind so much so the leeway was too much to cover. 
Imtiaz Sait began his winning spree by saddling Capture The Moment to victory. The son of Razeen had failed as a favourite at Bangalore but was now taking on more modest opposition and was in better shape having summered well. Capture The Moment cruised into a striking position at the top of the straight and stretched away for a facile win. Compassionate made a belated effort to be an eye-catching second while fancied Fantastic Knight shot his bolt well before the race had taken a serious turn. Much money went down the drain on Fantastic Knight who is definitely did not live up to his name.
The handicapper had let off Highness lightly and he was a cinch in the 1400 metres P K Sardeshmukh Maharaja Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 70. Rated at 38 after finishing third to One Magic Moment in the Sprinters Million at Bangalore, Highness was rated at 56 by the RWITC handicapper after he returned to her home centre. As one point in Bangalore means half in Pune, Highness should have been rated at 76, but he was rated lower by 20 points. It was no wonder that Highness cantered home, winning as she pleased from Different Strokes and Sheer Silver. If Highness had run at Bangalore, she would have not have been eligible to run in this class and would have carried almost an identical weight in the higher class! Winner number three for Imtiaz came through Premier Collection who won at the expense of Indian Gold who showed a likeness for the Pune track by showing some semblance of returning to form. Discman, who was sluggish at the start, was a noteworthy third. The market favoured Wild Storm, Premier Collection and Discman, all trained by Imtiaz. Premier Collection who was given a peach of a ride by Shroff, won with a fair degree of comfort while Wild Storm ran below par. Imtiaz ended the day, winning on another well backed horse Anmol who had summered at Bangalore. Despite a bad beginning, the daughter of Don’t Forget Me covered good ground and won well from Truly Scrumptious and Armies of Light. High Chief, who received inspired support, was never in the hunt.
Gallagher’s start to finish mission on Antilles very nearly fetched the desired result but the front-runner, after leading all the way, narrowly went down to Maracaibo and Saint Emilion. The one-eyed Maracaibo shaped like a winner but took a while to pass the front-runner and by the time he managed to do so, Saint Emilion had come into contention with a strong run. Had Maracaibo got the rails, the verdict of the race could well have been different.