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Extraordinary, Romantic Hero register hat-tricks

By Usman Rangila | 03 Oct 2003 | PUNE

Trainer Imtiaz Sait is on a roll and virtually unstoppable this season. Once again he held centre-stage at Pune by saddling three winners in a small card of seven. Leopardess and Celerity graduated from the maiden ranks in the hands of C. Rajendra while Pesi Shroff enabled Romantic Hero to achieve the coveted hat-trick. There was an unmistakable nuance of the never-say-die attitude visible in each of the three winners led in by Imtiaz; a perfect compliment to their master’s proficiency in this business. On the sidelines, the five-year-old gelding Extraordinary had master Rehanullah Khan’s cup brimming with joy after notching his third straight victory of the season.
Having twice won in the hands of 5kg-claimers, Extraordinary was entrusted to Pramod Belose on this occasion and had very few followers in the betting ring with the exception of his connections. The bay son of Sir Bordeaux made an emphatic statement of the brilliant form he has struck when stepping up the speed on being asked for acceleration by his rider. Before the jockeys astride Seattle Swan, Fire Dancer and Magnificence could realise their fate, Extraordinary whizzed past them mockingly. Many students of form pitched for Babita but at no stage of the race did the filly raise any hopes for her followers.
The day didn’t start off exactly the way Imtiaz, and also Rajendra for that matter, would’ve liked. The three-year-old filly Sevilla was pitted against an absolute mediocre set or so it was thought before the horses passed the winning post. It was, probably, the only reason why she was backed down to favouritism by all and sundry. The paddock looks of this filly, who is by Don’t Forget Me out of Stop It Dear, were anything but inspiring to risk money on her. Those who lay their bets relying on the pre-race fitness of the horse stayed away from Sevilla. In the end it turned out to be the wise decision for them. Sevilla and C. Rajendra were going nowhere even when Aesculapius, who snatched the lead from Nice One Claire at the turn, drifted out alarmingly in the straight. Despite veering out, the Vinayak-trained gelding was good enough to taste his maiden success. Sevilla ended up fourth behind White Lie and Waleshan.
Leopardess (Conquering Hero-Netweight) brought about a welcome change in Imtiaz’s mood; one that lasted till the curtains came down on the day’s proceedings. A large chunk of the betting, inexplicably though, was cornered by Amazing Eyes. Having finished a none-too-encouraging third behind Bionic Angel on debut, there was scattered support in varying volumes for Leopardess, Roofer and Rare Edition. Leopardess waged a ding-dong battle with Roofer through the entire home-stretch and for a fleeting moment at least it appeared that she would succumb to her rival’s onslaught. But Leopardess not only took the battle to the wire, she held her fort gallantly. Rajendra made his experience count against his opposite number S. Sunil who, it must be said, made a valiant but futile attempt. Post-race it was given to understand that Imtiaz was so bullish about Leopardess’ chances that he persuaded owner Arun Nanda, who was in Shanghai a couple of days ago, to return home to lead the filly.
There was a lot of hype that engulfed the maiden appearance of Don’tspenditall on the racetrack. The filly from Bezan Chenoy’s barns had been blazing the tracks and was tipped as a certainty of the day. The daughter of Don’t Forget Me took off in the right earnest from the blocks but was found wanting when posed a question by Celerity. ‘Vengeance is mine’ appeared to be the message what Rajendra was trying to convey to Bajrang Singh when he powered the Young Senor progeny and surged past the favourite. Digital came to grab the second berth ahead of Don’tspenditall whose saddle was reported to have slipped without any consequence whatsoever.
Romantic Hero sustained his good form and raced across to earn his third victory in as many starts this season. Pesi Shroff had to work hard aboard the chestnut son of Placerville after second favourite Cats Whiskers threatened to catch him on the wrong foot. Pesi dug into the reserves of Romantic Hero and found it in sufficient quantity to round off the day on a gratifying note both for him and Imtiaz.
Arti Doctor had a mixed bag as the dickey-legged Parmeshwari first exceeded the expectations to win the Rhythm Trophy followed by the big let down of Early Bird. Pradeep Chouhan was forced to make liberal use of the whip astride Parmeshwari who in response gathered momentum and collared both Partner Perfect and Rewarding Moment close home. Early Bird proved to be a nuisance once again. Backed to the exclusion of his rivals on this occasion, Early Bird ran far below expectation and probably his ability too. Reasoning stretched out magnificently to register an encore and also provide Pramod a double. Mister Fixit from Don Surti’s string followed the footsteps of his stable-partner to take the runner-up berth ahead of Carrie and Real Quick, both showing some zeal for racing at last.