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Artois emerges as a classic contender

By Silver Hawk | 16 Aug 2003 | PUNE

Artois (M Narredu up) winner of the Governor's Trophy being led in by Mr & Mrs. K N Bhunjibhoy

Vinayak has a classic hopeful in Artois, half brother to the celebrated Zurbaran. The son of Storm Trooper, Artois justified the loads of confidence that the race goers and his connections had in his abilities by winning the 1400 metres Governor’s Trophy, in his debut run, by taking charge from the word `go’ and winning in great style. Given time, Artois should graduate into a top classic contender, as he has no limitations as far as stamina is concerned. 
Though Artois beat a modest set, the style of winning was suggestive of better things to come. Jockey Malesh Narredu had difficulty in pulling up Artois who had warmed well and would have enjoyed had the trip been even longer.
As the quality of maidens running at this time of the year is pretty run-of-the-mill barring a few exceptions, Artois beat nothing of note. Flag Bearer who had run an impressive second in his previous essay, was stranded way behind. Artois’ next targets may be the S A Poonawalla Million and possibly the Pune Derby. It remains to be seen what rate of progress Artois shows by the time he races next. There is no doubting his potential.
Those who expected a good day, following the bold show put up by fancied runners on Friday, were in for a rude shock as quite a few ran outsiders sent the punters into a tizzy. The friendless Brezhnev, with five-kg claimer A Baandal on his back, bolted to the front and kept on increasing the lead so much so that he was a distance clear of the rest when he checked in home. Favourite Inkling, who received inspired support, was sluggish in the early part and was a beaten cause long way before the runners were sighted in the short Pune straight. Sun Charmer had been a let down the few times he was fancied in the past but he decided to put his best foot forward in the day’s opener, picking up momentum inside the final 100 metres to win from Seville Star and Reasoning. Rhythmofthemeadows was fancied to repeat but the top-weight did not wherewithal for such an expectation to fructify.
There was solid support for Cape Vaticano in her previous run where she had gone down to Supreme Crown. Despite that effort and now more suitable ground to handle, Cape Vaticano was allowed to run at nourishing odds as money came pouring in on Music Prospector and Early Bird. Music Prospector has been an expensive failure thus far and the son of Placerville packed up after going into the lead on turning for home. Cape Vaticano easily overhauled the front-runner to win with ease. Early Bird was too late on the scene, having failed to secure a favourable position early on and then coming up with a sustained run when the cause had been lost. 
Altaf Hussain trained My Way proved too speedy for her rivals with a runaway start to finish mission. The victory of the favourite gave great relief to the punters who were hit by the majority of favourites playing truant. Aries was second while Brave Victor who ran green and finished off the frame, bears watching.
Rajendra drove out Ruffles to victory at nourishing odds, with Smokey Joe taking the runner-up spot as apprentice Shaikh, despite doing everything right, was unable to pack punch at the finish. The day concluded exactly the way it started, with Samurai Sword winning much to the chagrin of the punters who put blind faith in the abilities of the tail-swishing Snow Fire who packed up liked a pricked balloon the moment she was confronted by Samurai Sword and Romantic Forever. Malesh did tighten Romantic Forever but the objection lodged by Prakash did not find favour from the Stewards as the interference made no material difference to the outcome of the race.