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Premier Collection shows great character, takes sweet revenge on Radical Force

By Usman Rangila | 28 Sep 2003 | PUNE

Trust any Imtiaz Sait protégé to avenge its defeat and nine out of ten times you’re likely to find out that they don’t let you down. The four-year-old filly Premier Collection did precisely that in the Idar Gold Trophy (Gr.3) run on Sunday. The bay daughter of Placerville out of L’Ile Mysterieuse had run a neck shy of Radical Force in the Eve Champion Trophy earlier this month. Meeting the Cooji Katrak candidate on the same terms but travelling two furlongs more on this occasion, Premier Collection took sweet revenge on her conqueror and in doing so she beat him out of sight.
Spaniards Inn from trainer Vinayak’s yard, who had won the C.N. Wadia Gold Cup and later finished a close third to Zurburan in the McDowell Indian St. Leger run at Mahalaxmi, shared the burden of the public’s purse with Radical Force. The got-abroad son of Kahyasi had run over shorter trips in his previous two starts and was expected to prove his mettle over this derby trip. However, this got-abroad gelding failed to make any impact in the race. Even the ploy to have stable-mate El Campeador play the role of pace-maker did not work for Spaniards Inn, who was ridden well off the pace by Malesh Narredu but kept in close attendance of Radical Force. As the field began its climb up the hill, the favourite duo was already off the bridle.
As they turned for the final run-in, C. Rajendra set alight Premier Collection and Singita also began to gain ground on the outside at this juncture. Without troubling the race-commentator any further, Radical Force and Spaniards Inn called it a day and far too easily for that matter. Premier Collection soon overhauled El Campeador giving a sense of the imminent victory to Rajendra, who was resolute as ever and in no mood to allow anybody to spoil his party. Try hard as he did, Pradeep Chouhan couldn’t get Singita going and had to be content with the second slot. 
It may’ve been sweet revenge for Premier Collection in the end but for Imtiaz it was the character shown by the filly that mattered most. In a way, it was only a reflection of her master’s persona.
Talking about character, it was on display in abundance at the turf though in contrasting hues. Sadly, it also revolved around an unfortunate thoroughbred named Master Zahir. This grey gelding from trainer Mansoor Shah was the ante-post favourite and continued to remain so till about a couple of hours before the race. Then, dramatically, the odds for the grey gelding went astray and remained out of control. Going by the betting trend, only the odd optimist could visualise success for Master Zahir. But, none except the star-gazers would’ve predicted the terrible fate he suffered. 
Master Zahir burst his blood vessels during the race and finished at the wrong end of the field. This calamity is a natural occurrence but the RWITC stipes probably smell a rat somewhere. This is where their character came into play. Like everybody else the stipes were alarmed but it was heartening to see the young troika of stipes, led by Shujaat Hussain, launch an immediate investigation into this incident. The race was won by ex-jockey S.M. Johnson trained Czai, who was ably ridden by R.K. Mahesh. Pearl Harbour, who had finished last a day earlier, surprisingly ran a close third behind runner-up Devasva.
At the start of the day’s proceedings Mesopotamia from Rehanullah Khan’s stable finished on powerfully under Pradeep Chouhan’s urgings and got up just in time to foil second favourite Bhanuja near the post. Later, Malesh got an armchair ride astride the raging hot favourite Rahil (Tecorno-Badedra), who was sent out to his maiden victory by S.S. Shah. Dollar Bill was another Tecorno progeny to score during the day. This dark bay from Faisal Abbas’ yards shocked everybody after going pillar to post in the hands of S. Sunil. Firey Future was rather late in warming up and had to play the role of bridesmaid once again. Aerosat was never inclined to put his best foot forward and beat only two horses home in the seven-horse field.
Trainer Shiraz Sunderji had a profitable day as two of his runners, Zealous Cat and Tarascon, won sporting the colours of his parents. Zealous Cat attracted overwhelming support in the field of twelve and had no difficulty whatsoever in justifying the same after Malesh gave the Portroe filly her head at the bend. However, Tarascon took some stick from Malcolm Kharadi before she could rally to down the colours of Queen’s Message, who had just got the better of favourite Royal Celebrity nearer home.