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Imtiaz Sait wins hearts and minds of racegoers through a brace

By Usman Rangila | 07 Sep 2003 | PUNE

Snow Fire (Harish up) winner of the Snowstorm Plate being led in by owner Ashok Ranpise and Kantilal D Oswal. Also seen trainer Imtiaz Sait (extreme left)

Trainer Imtiaz Sait continued to be in rollicking form on Sunday and though it was at the end of the day that he led in his brace of winners, the awesome performance of his two horses, King of Hearts and Snow Fire, won the hearts and minds of all racegoers. Imtiaz would’ve had a treble but Radical Force had other plans as he pegged back Premier Collection in the Eve Champion Trophy.
Radical Force is undoubtedly a gutsy performer even though he has on occasions stumped the followers of form with his ability to run below expectations. Could be sheer coincidence but such occasions invariably arrive when Radical Force is the odds on favourite. Radical Force encountered no such impediment in the Eve Champion Trophy. Jockey P. Kamlesh kept the Cooji Katrak trainee in striking distance of the frontrunners one of them being Premier Collection. The light-framed filly nursed by Imtiaz Sait stepped up the pace as the final turn came with Radical Force yet to find his rhythm. C. Rajendra did his best to keep the Placerville going but the tenacity shown by Radical Force brought curtains down on the hopes of Premier Collection. Singita, who was separated by neck from the runner-up, warmed up late and found the winning post coming too soon for her comfort.
What followed next was nothing less than a clash of titans in the last two events of the day. Bayonne, sent out by Cooji Katrak and who is bred as half-sister to Kia Ora, attracted exceptional support from the moneybags. As the starting time drew near, the betting ring witnessed a battle between two camps; one relied solely on inside information while the other preferred to go by the credentials. In the process, Bayonne was hammered down to 11 to 10 triggering an unwarranted hike in the odds against King of Hearts, the ante post favourite.
King of Hearts lived up to his name. The son of Vision of India, and who is sired by Razeen, had a tryst with destiny. Imtiaz Sait’s protégé got tangled in unforeseen webs of misery on his road to victory. He got a bad check and then stumbled to drop back alarmingly. His supporters seeing their hopes dashed at that juncture. Meanwhile P. Kamlesh found himself leading the field as Bayonne ran unrestrained with Early Bird also showing the same tendency to lie second. The two leaders were quickly losing steam as the field closed on them. And then, King of Hearts rose like the mythical phoenix from the ashes and scooped precious ground with each giant stride he took. Once Rajendra had him going, King of Hearts was unstoppable. Inner Secret took a short cut to the second berth ahead of Pegasus and Early Bird.
Many racegoers thought Imtiaz’s move to pitch Snow Fire in a sprint event after running a mile quite ambitious. So, there was unqualified support for War Zone, which petered out later, and the last-outing facile winner Anna Karenina. But the overpowering effect of King of Hearts was still lingering in the minds of the venture capitalists, who then took fancy for the daughter of Razeen out of London Cries. War Zone and Anna Karenina cut each other’s throat initially and in a way allowed Snow Fire to pounce on them like easy birds of prey. Snow Fire, when set alight by Harish, swooped on her adversaries and was homeward bound. The speedy War Zone and Anna Karenina were simply blunted by the brutal force of Snow Fire.
Apprentice Abhishek Habbu rode a confident race astride the aged gelding Summeroffortytwo to land a big gamble for his grandfather, the veteran trainer Janardhan. So huge was the backing for Summeroffortytwo that the odds fell from ante post 8 to 1 to even-money before race time. Despite being lethargic at the gates, the favourite made rapid progress and caught hold of Begonia, Seville Star and Colour of Joy close home. Later, Summer Ridge necked out Partner Perfect to gain his maiden success.
Apprentice R.K. Mahesh continues to grow in confidence which was seen in the able assistance he provided to Vivienne as the mare battled out with Ballina initially and then thwarted the late bid of Sweet Charity. Vivienne was Bezan Chenoy’s last of the three winners saddled by him in as many days this week.
Kojagiri made ample use of the handicap difference she enjoyed over her three rivals and decimated her opposition over the derby trip. The Magansingh Jodha-trained winner erased the course record for the monsoon track. Radical Force and Snow Fire also set new course records for 2000m and 1100m respectively. That three new records were all set in just one day highlights the fast nature of the monsoon track. It seems that the reprimand received by estate officer B.N. Nanjapa from the RWITC Stewards, after Friday's catastrophic events, did have a positive effect on the upkeep of the racetracks.