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Favourites choose to play the vanish act

By Usman Rangila | 04 Aug 2001 | PUNE

Southern Star (C.Rajendra up), winning the Bade miya trophy from The Pelican (M.Narredu up).

With favourite horses opting to play the vanishing act, the punters were made to suffer on resumption of weekend racing in Western India. A unique feature in the day’s results was horses with the benefit of an outing this season fetched success in seven of the nine races run on Saturday. Jockey C. Ruzaan who is freelancing these days was in great form and had the honour of piloting home all the three mounts he was engaged to ride during the day.
The grey filly Southern Star (Binkhaldoun-Southern Girl) made ample amends for her last outing defeat against Spice Boy in the Bade Miya Trophy. Much of the betting in the feature event centred around The Pelican, the stylish looking three-year-old chestnut gelding. After Sunglow packed his bags, Southern Star (C. Rajendra up) and The Pelican (M. Narredu up) entered the home straight almost together and went stride for stride. The latter seemed to be gaining ground at one stage, but with C. Rajendra cracking his whip on Southern Star, the filly from Ms Arti Doctor’s yard stretched out gallantly to snub the challenge of the favourite. The Pelican was not disgraced in this defeat and lives to fight for yet another day. Great Alliance flew in from the tail end but failed deprive Rapallo of the third day. 
Zadmal Singh-trained colt Running Star was spoken of very highly in the racing circle here prior to the commencement of the Indian classics in Mumbai. But the Alnasr Alwasheek progeny suddenly ran into problems and the classic hopes were dashed. Running Star was making his first appearance after a break of nearly eight months but that could not induce the race-goers to have a second opinion about the chances of Running Star. With Ocean Breeze (Exhilaration-Virginia Princess) playing her customary role to perfection and almost landing the prize for herself, Running Star (Alnasr Alwasheek-Promising) on the other hand never raised any hopes for his followers save for a brief while at the final turn. Spice Boy (Reasonable-Eretna) who had stunned his opposition during his previous run, had a similar treatment in store for his opponents. Settled close on the heels of Ocean Breeze, Spice Boy tried to swoop on the leader in the home stretch. Ocean Breeze was in no mood to surrender easily and fought gamely till the end but had to concede in the end. Communicator arrived late on the scene to make any difference to the result but took the third spot ahead of Venus. Meringue who was in the vanguard till the bend, gradually dropped back to finish down the field. 
Veteran Saeed Shah saddled Zongrilla, despite a slight drift in the odds against him, faced no problems in recording his maiden victory. The son of Placerville out of Twenty Carats had an easy run just a week earlier, his first after being gelded, and an improved performance what was expected from him. Zongrilla did not let his supporters down by a registering a comfortable win over Boundless Thrill who tried to catch her rivals on a wrong foot in this race.
Ruzaan’s first winner came astride Laurels who is trained by Michael Eshwer. The four-year-old son of Mischevious Music out of Laissez Faire had been knocking at the doors of success for quite some time and finally had his call answered on Saturday. Kept in close touch with the leaders this time, Laurels gained steady ground over the half-money favourite Alustar who was being hailed as a winner close home. 
The runaway tactics adopted by Ruzaan on rank-outsider Secret Obsession (Forest Fair-Fabulous) paid handsome dividends as the filly from trainer Sanjay Kolse’s barn went on to earn her maiden success. Amaron (Batzushka-Tunanza) tried hard to catch the winner but had to settle for the second place. Radical Force (Alnasr Alwasheek-Aroma) and Rewarding King (Batzushka-Mulberry) were fancied over the rest of the field but they could hardly do any justice to faith imposed in them. 
Radical Force, in fact, was the odds-on ante post favourite to this race but a negative sentiment in the betting ring sent his odds rocketing up to 2 to 1. The shrewd ones went for Rewarding King but ended up with a long face after the race. Ruzaan wrapped up the day with Mariazella who responded well to his urgings and pulled away from favourite Fly By Alibi. The latter was never off the bit till the last furlong and a half but Warren Singh failed to get the desired response from the Imtiaz Sait trainee who was proved to be a costly experience for the punters.
Speed of Light (Portroe-Double Quick) picked up her second success of this season when she sped away from Chamonix who called the tune and led the field into the straight. Initiate ran like a dud to let down a large following. Soliel came with raking strides to put a spoke in the wheels of Pretty Bee close home. The runner-up trained by Hanut Singh had just got the better of Money Madness and Way Beyond when Soliel decided to put his galloping shoes on.