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Artois overcomes second hurdle, sets sail for Pune Derby

By Usman Rangila | 31 Aug 2003 | PUNE

Reasoning (Bajrang Singh up) winner of the Amber Royal Plate

With just one victorious run under his belt, the raging support for the chestnut three-year-old colt Artois appeared unrealistic at first. It required just a shade under two minutes for Artois to perform the convincing act for his detractors. Artois with Malesh Narredu in saddle dictated the terms right from the word go and his superiority was never really questioned by any of the six runners during the entire nine-furlong journey. Amazing Strides, Destined Path and One O One who were waiting for an opportunity to pounce on him in fact faded out of contention leaving the field clear for Artois. Malesh gave Artois a couple of backhanders towards the end and wrapped up the race with a fair degree of comfort. Capture The Moment moved up to fill the runner-up berth.
It was only two weeks ago when Artois had won as he liked to make an impressive career debut. That one run catapulted him into the league of the top-ranking three-year-old thoroughbreds in Western India if not in the country. This head-turner from trainer Vinayak’s yards shares his parentage with the Bangalore-based classic performer Zurburan which obviously influenced the ratings allocated to him by the racing analysts. The test of a true champion, however, is always judged by his performance on the racetrack. Artois has acquitted himself honourably so far and fits the bill of a champion in the making.
It goes without saying that Artois, the second foal from the Canadian mare Cut Of The Cloth to race in India and who is sired by Storm Trooper, has been bred to stay and barring any unforeseen eventuality, he his destined to go places. The Khushroo Dhunjibhoy-camp, which also happens to be the breeders of Artois, has carefully planned his itinerary and the next port of call will surely be the Nanoli Stud-sponsored Pune Derby.
Dancing Greens, whose tantrums at the starting gates prevented her from making a winning debut earlier, romped home through a spectacular victory in the upper division of the Prince Jehan Plate. The speedy daughter of Greensmith out of Dancing Designs, tuned to perfection by Altaf Hussain, seized the early initiative and increased the tempo steadily to put daylight between herself and her nearest rival Star of Dubai. Feet So Fast, after running second for most of the way, dropped back gradually to finish to finish fourth behind the late finishing Action Zone.
Cooji Katrak-saddled Zante was another horse apart from Dancing Greens and Artois to go out as an on-money favourite during the day. The Sir Bruce-filly had raised enormous hopes of another success with an emphatic victory during her previous endeavour but she came across a better one in Tarascon, who had suffered in the hands of apprentice Abhishek Habbu in the lower class. The Shiraz Sunderji-schooled Broto-mare found an able partner in Malcolm Kharadi and unleashed a devastating run to frustrate both Zante and Friendly Gift.
A similar run from debutant Star King had allowed Shiraz and Malcolm to open their account earlier in the day. The 10 to 1 long-shot came with raking strides to shock Mayflower in the closing stages of the five-furlong sprint. Favourite Daisy Cutter was seen sweating profusely in the parade ring and appeared restless and also a bit nervous. She was in command till the bend but surrendered meekly to Mayflower who was then being hailed as a winner till Star King thundered on to the scene.
Trainer Rehanullah Khan had an equal share of both joy and sorrow. The sorrow came first when Psychedelic failed to live up to the promise shown during her last run. Imtiaz Sait, who is busy doing the “winning talk” these days, led in a similarly named filly who showed remarkable improvement to gain her second successive win. Rehan had to wait for the moment of joy till Silver ‘N’ Gold got the better of Celerity at the post. In fact, Rehan should thank Celerity for veering out as she neared the winning post and allowing Silver ‘N’ Gold to avenge the defeat of his stable-mate Psychedelic.
Reasoning, the four-year-old maiden filly from Magansingh Jodha’s barns, ran true to expectations raised after her last run here and duly obliged. The filly was driven powerfully by Bajrang Singh to prevail over Island Pearl and Rising Passion who were fighting for supremacy till opposite the grand stands. Aslam Kader, who was indisposed on Sunday, missed out on a sitter as he could not fulfil his riding engagements astride Living Logic among others. Living Logic was entrusted to Faisal Abbas after his two repulsive shows at Mahalaxmi and his overdue victory should have come as a relief for many. C. Rajendra cashed in on Aslam’s absence. 
Success eluded apprentice R.K. Mahesh aboard Pancham but the young lad soon gathered composure to first guide Silver ‘N’ Gold and was then instrumental in Stay With Me’s slim victory over Scarlet Sabre and favourite Smokey Joe. Mahesh followed trainer Nina Lalwani’s instruction to the tee and was amply rewarded.