- india's first & foremost horse racing portal

Mallesh Narredu excels in the saddle astride Gironde

By Usman Rangila | 05 Aug 2001 | PUNE

Gironde ( M Narredu up ), winning the akkasaheb maharaj trophy from Prince Nicholas ( B Praksh up )

An acquaintance of trainer Cooji Katrak when discussing Sunday’s card with this correspondent revealed that Cooji felt that Gironde has come up a lot since her last victory at Mumbai and if there was any horse that could beat Strengthtostrength, it was Gironde. Wishful thinking thought this correspondent. Gironde was rated 57 on the RWITC handicapper’s scale, the lowest in the field of eleven opposed to Strengthtostrength who is rated 120. Gironde fully justified the courageous decision of her master and kept going the tradition of glorious uncertainties that is associated with the sport of horse racing.
The victory, however, did not come that easy. Gironde had to sweat it out in the middle and it was a gritty display in the saddle from jockey Mallesh Narredu that enabled the chestnut filly pip Prince Nicholas at the wire in what turned out to be a breathtaking finish for the Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy. Columbus called the early shots in this sprint event and gave way to Prince Nicholas who shot ahead when the field straightened for home. Not wasting any further time, Mallesh Narredu too got busy on Gironde. The filly inched closer for sure but Prince Nicholas and B. Prakash were not ready to throw in the towel easily. My Solitaire also came with a rattle to join the issue and it appeared that Prince Nicholas had survived the scare. Alas, the celebrations of the bookies were cut short as the camera verdict showed Gironde getting the better of Prince Nicholas by a whisker.
The Cooji Katrak-saddled winner is jointly owned by Mr & Mrs Shapoor Mistry of Manjri Stud Farms and Mr & Mrs Khushroo N. Dhunjibhoy of Five Star Shipping Co. Pvt. Ltd. Gironde, brought in-foal to Charara and who is by Wolfhound, was foaled at the Pune-based Nanoli Stud Farms. Incidentally, both the second and third placed horses — Prince Nicholas and My Solitaire, were bred at the Nanoli Stud Farms.
In a brief post-race interview with this correspondent, Cooji Katrak sporting a broad smile and deservingly so, said: “Gironde was still immature when she started her career and had developed all sorts of problems since her juvenile days. Problems aplenty and you could actually write a book on it. Fortunately she started to come back on track at the start of the Mumbai season 2000-2001. During her recent trial runs here, I noticed that she was a completely transformed filly. Had I not been confident that Gironde had in her what it takes to beat one of the top-rated horses in Western India, I wouldn’t have run her. I am glad that she has proved me right and I only hope that she doesn’t revert to her old problems.” Strengthtostrength appeared a bit gross and probably was in need of this run.
Even as Cooji was still savouring the victory of Gironde, his cup of joy was soon sent overflowing by another chestnut filly Rage who romped home in style in the very next race. The unfortunate exit of Love Me Forever from the contest robbed much of the interest from the race, but that should serve as an excuse to dilute Rage’s dominant performance in the August Handicap. Love Me Forever (Turtle Island-Trojan Lady), after stepping into the starting gates, cast her left fore leg in the adjacent partition and some force had to applied to extricate her leg from the gates. The Club’s V. O. trotted Love Me Forever with and without the jockey in saddle and certified her unfit to run. With the field now left wide open for the Capt. Jamshed Appoo’s property Rage (Alnasr Alwasheek-Virginia Princess) registered a stylish victory in the hands of B. Prakash. Crepusculaire and Killarney were absolutely no match for the acceleration shown by Rage and ended a street behind the winner.
Jockey B. Prakash had a similar experience with the Shiraz Sunderji-nursed filly Name of Love (Placerville-Million Girl) in the Moosa M. Hoosein Trophy earlier. Going out as the shortest priced runner of the day, Name of Love caused no anxiety for the moneybags as she had the race in her safe keeping well before winning post came. Mambo King ran second ahead of Demedicie who ran on late to take the third berth. Magic Arrow too gave an armchair ride to Prakash. The son of Cristofori out of Jungle Ceremony wrest the lead on entering the home straight and ran away for an effortless victory. The chances of Holland Park thinned well before the horses left the paddock. The quotes on Holland Park started moving upwards and that of Khim started coming under pressure. But having lost some of her chances at the gates itself, Khim did not pose any real danger for Magic Arrow in the end and could only finish a tame third.
A freak mishap at the start of the day’s proceedings prevented Magic Honey from trainer Hanut Singh’s yard from gaining what could have been his maiden success. The sprightly son of Hadaaf, though quite not settled at any stage of the race, surged into the lead in the final furlong before crashing into the false rails when jockey Shakti Singh Rathore used the whip to keep him on a straight course. The rider unfortunately could not exercise proper control over Magic Honey and that proved to be costly affair for the punters. Adam’s Touch capitalized on this incident after raising a fluent gallop with P. Kamlesh astride. Bezan Chenoy thus set his score ticking for this season with the very first horse sent out by him.
Sarosh Mody-trained Terrestrial (Don’t Forget Me-Afsheen) showed a tremendous turn of foot when outpacing her six rivals in the Jaandaar Plate. Prince Honey, in quest of his third straight win, hit the front soon after the start but dropped back soon after his bit slipped towards the right with M. Narredu unable to provide any assistance to his mount. Helianthus laboured hard to finish second and will surely gain from this experience. Shahandeh too sped away from her rivals to graduate from the maiden ranks. Crisscross the first favourite lacked the initial speed and was hard ridden to finish third.
Being relocated to trainer Shiraz Sunderji’s yard, Bound By Honour struck in his very first assignment with the young trainer. C. Ruzaan drove the son of Tecorno out of Benediction to catch hold of Consortium who had the first run when the race took a serious turn for home.
Great Magician, tuned to perfection by Arif Hussain, unleashed a powerful run after chasing Intensity for most of the journey and faced no resistance from the leader. Stay With Me, who surprisingly languished behind the front-runners, finished on to play second fiddle. Anchors Aweigh ended a game third and is slowly getting into shape to earn his corn bill.