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Samurai Sword defies handicapper for a coveted hat-trick

By Usman Rangila | 11 Oct 2003 | PUNE

Samurai Sword, the four-year-old filly from Shiraz Sunderji’s yard, continued to defy the handicapper if only to prove that her last two victories were not in any way ‘a flash in the pan’. This filly was originally sold to a Western India-based owner who developed second thoughts later and called off the deal. Breeder Shailendra Singh had no option but to race the daughter of Young Senor out of Potsclose in his own colours. The filly stayed in the barns of trainer Shiraz Sunderji and her recent winning streak bears testimony to the fact that she could not have found a better place to live in.
Having neglected Samurai Sword in both her last outings, the followers of big money did not wish to commit the same mistake again. She was installed as favourite against Wild Storm and even the 8kg penalty imposed by the handicapper for her last success did not deter the market forces. Malesh had been her partner in both her successful outings and was not unduly perturbed to race her off the pace after Avantage was brushed into the lead by R. Shelar to assume his customary front-running role.
Such was Malesh’s confidence in the turn of foot possessed by Samurai Sword that he waited to make his move till the climb up hill began where he came to be on the haunches of Wild Storm. Avantage quit the scene at the bend and the field was left open for the fancied duo. Imtiaz Sait’s candidate could not flatter for long as Samurai Sword took an unassailable lead after unleashing a stupendous run. However, Malesh had to use his stick in the last 50m to ward off the late threat posed by The Complete Man. The three-part length verdict may flatter the runner-up but the filly is capable of winning another race in this same class.
There was quite a bit of trepidation in the racing circles here on the decision of trainer Altaf Hussain to pull out Fair Always at the fag end of the Pune season. The punters, despite the strong credentials held by the daughter of Alnasr Alwasheek, showed cautious optimism in the betting ring. The bay three-year-old filly acquitted herself quite admirably in the hands of P. Kamlesh. After allowing the early leaders to call the tune till approaching the grand stands, Kamlesh gave Fair Always her head and the filly proved her superiority in no uncertain terms. Temple Tune was a faraway second followed by Supreme Chancellor and Infinite.
Arti Doctor-nursed Sixty Seconds tasted her first success this season when she cantered away to an effortless victory under the guidance of Pesi Shroff. The main adversaries of Sixty Seconds were already off the bridle even as the Tirol progeny raced on the bit in the third or fourth slot till the turn. None of the horses offered any resistance as Pesi surged into the lead and won pulling up. Money Star ran inexplicably below par to end fifth.
War Zone, who was brought in-foal to Special Treat and who is by Lion Cavern, went wire to wire over the five-furlong sprint to gain his second win his career. C. Rajendra kept the Sarosh Mody ward on the right track though the Bezan Chenoy-trained Dunbar kept pestering him till the last lap of the journey. The runner-up was a bit rusty but should be in the news at the start of the Mumbai season.
Beleaguered by the recent enquiries being conducted against him and the failure of Squan Lake, who earlier returned lame, trainer Mansoor Shah heaved a sigh of relief when Boldwin landed the spoils. The aged mare was coaxed to flourish by K.P.G. Appu and she carved a narrow win over White Whisper and Latest News. Sonic Girl, after losing support in the betting, toiled hard in the rear. She seemed to be in some sort of distress as Mark Gallagher pulled her up much before the winning post arrived.
The curtain raiser saw Seville Star turn the tables on his conqueror Sun Charmer. The latter made rapid progress to grab the lead in the final furlong but his rider Shakti Singh Rathore found the whipless apprentice Bhawar Singh showing great character and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. A nostril separated the two favourites.
There was high drama towards the end of the day as Narendra Lagad’s least fancied of the four horses from his stable in fray won the concluding event. High Voltage won almost start to finish even as his younger stable-partners struggled to catch up with him. Race The Moon and Island Pearl, both trained by Lagad, finished second and third.