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Divine Protocol prove lucky for Imtiaz Sait, Arti Doctor

By Usman Rangila | 27 Sep 2003 | PUNE

Divine Protocol (R.K.Mahesh up) winner of The Meherban Trophy being led in by Mr Hemant D.Thacker & Ms Anita Khaladina. Also seen trainer Ms. Arti Doctor (extreme left)

Two events, the Nelston Trophy (1600m) and the Moondaisy Plate (1400m), were declared void due to paucity of acceptors on Thursday reducing Saturday’s scheduled racing programme to just five. To avoid the ignominy of having to scrap the race meeting or make to do with a ludicrous card of five, the handicapper sent out an SOS to some accommodating trainers to help him salvage the situation.
Trainers Imtiaz Sait, Rehanullah Khan, Arti Doctor, and Magansingh Jodha saved the day for the RWITC by entering Willewonte, Pearl Harbour, Divine Protocol and Count Dracula respectively which gave birth to the Kristal Heights Plate and the Meherban Trophy. Post-race, Imtiaz and Arti were smiling all the way to the bank even as Rehan rued his decision to enter Pearl Harbour, who was installed as a favourite to win but ran like an absolute dud in the hands of Bajrang Singh.
In the curtain raiser, Bhagwan Singh tried runaway tactics with the Imtiaz Sait-saddled Willewonte and may’ve been surprised himself to see them paying off. The bay son of Dark Nile drew away from the pack on entering the straight leaving his rivals to chase his shadows. Pearl Harbour refused to pay heed to call of Bajrang and ended a dismal last in the field of six.
Precisely a week ago, Pesi Shroff-driven Divine Protocol had managed to run ahead of the tiring horses Avantage and Palentino. He had finished fourth in a seven-horse field behind Kojagiri over a mile-and-a-half. Having nothing to lose but everything to gain, Arti entrusted the six-year-old Young Senor offspring to the upcoming apprentice R.K. Mahesh.
Interestingly, late entrants Count Dracula and Divine Protocol headed the five-horse field when it took off for the Meherban Trophy run over a mile. The former set the early pace but beat a hasty retreat when Divine Protocol called his bluff passing the halfway mark. Young Mahesh brushed Divine Protocol into the lead and drove him hands and heels to past the winning post well clear of his fancied rivals. The Polynesian, Indian Gold and Cacophony were all seen struggling to catch the winner and finished in that order. Divine Protocol being his tenth winner, R.K. Mahesh found his allowance reduced from 5kg to 3.5kg but became eligible to carry a whip.
Arti was earlier delighted to see her ward Titania show marked improvement in her gate manners and then a clean pair of heels to her rivals. Shrugging off favourite Native Son, who tried to nag him at the start, Malesh Narredu hit the front with the chestnut daughter of Tecorno and stayed on course to help her graduate from the maiden ranks. Native Son failed to make any headway after his early skirmish with the winner and even lost the runner-up berth to the hard-ridden Storm Alert. The first four horses that finished behind the winner are not likely to linger in the maiden ranks for long.
Ex-jockey Hanut Singh was not as lucky as Arti Doctor. He too embarked on a risky venture in putting up a 5kg-claimer, Neeraj Rawal, astride Truly Scrumptious. The rookie rider could not live up to the expectations of Hanut and more importantly the admirers of Truly Scrumptious. The daughter of Sir Bruce languished in the mid bunch even as Ciraja swooped on leader Armies of Light. Apprentice Abhishek Habbu went all out on Altaf Hussain’s charge and sailed away for an overdue victory. Amaranza and Code Red earned valuable stake money when finishing ahead of Truly Scrumptious, who ended a woeful fourth. Seems like the stars are not in favour of the trainers whose names start with the alphabet H. Hosidar Daji, Hormuz Antia and Hanut Singh, all three are going through a lean phase which, hopefully, should be temporary. 
Bayonne, the half-sister to Kia Ora, once again topped the charts of the bookmakers in terms of the flow of money in the Silver Haven Trophy. And once again it was an Imtiaz Sait candidate that proved to be her bugbear. Velocity (Don’t Forget Me-Prudent Princess) found the shortest way home after Stunning Effort had brought the field into the final stretch. C. Rajendra kept the filly going as Malesh found his efforts going waste atop Bayonne. Hunan, the owner-mate of Bayonne, ran on to be an eye-catching third ahead of Mayflower and should score before the end of this season.
The four-year-old Kintyre is proving to be a money-spinner for trainer Faisal Abbas and his family. The dickey-legged son of Alnasr Alwasheek proved far too speedy for his eleven rivals including Keytothevaults, who attracted fair amount of wagering, as S. Sunil steered him to his second straight victory. Star Look, from the barns of Narendra Lagad, was in the vanguard but appeared to have saved her best for some other day. Jockey Mansoor Khan was also forceful and unrelenting aboard Own Trumpet in the Firefly Plate. The bay filly from Saeed Shah’s string made every post a winning one and scraped through unharmed after Command N Conquer and Attia In Sunlight came menacingly close to beating her.