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Bizarro Comes Alive With Super Run to Win AGP Million

By Mahendra Mallya | 02 Sep 2012 | PUNE

Presentation Ceremony of The AGP Colts'& Fillies' Million

The AGP Colts’ & Fillies’ Million was a day of top notch horseracing blended with high entertainment at the Pune racecourse. The Ashwin Gidwani Productions MD had made elaborate arrangements to entertain patrons and guests at the Members’ lawns and the area was buzzing with activity. Mob-dancers, song and dance and joyous celebrations gave the traditional racecourse a festive look. Some fretted, some frowned, but there was no denying that a great majority were treated to some astounding activity and glamour that blends so well with great racing.

Bizarro was the star of the day! He won the AGP Million with a powerful gallop that sent the open-looking field packing. Favourite Catharsis decided to get straight down to business and led the field at galloped at a steady pace. Brynhill matched strides with Catharsis and following these two were Home Factor and Colours Flying. Then came Attribute and Mzima with Bizarro galloping having only Source Code behind him.

Catharsis led them all the way into the straight and Bizarro slipped in through the rails improving position all along the turn. Into the straight, Bizarro barged forward and took off with rocketing speed. Catharsis and company were outright overwhelmed. Bizarro, once he took charge went flying out in front at a cracking pace that none could match. In split seconds he was acres ahead and shut the opposition out, finding himself all alone in the final furlong to score a dominating victory, literally outclassing the opposition. Completely!

“I am truly pleased with what Bizarro has done,” said Cooji Katrak talking to indiarace post the lead-in. “He had run a mock race which was most satisfactory and took all his preparatory work extremely well. I thought he was absolutely ready for this race. I was confident he would do well, but his performance has thrilled me. I settled beautifully and did whatever he was asked to do. He quickened exactly when asked to and put in a superlative finishing gallop. I feel he will stay longer trips and I might ease him into a mile race now. I am excited with his potential and I hope he raises his level as I expect him to do,” added Katrak.

“I agree fully with Mr Katrak, Bizarro showed a lot of zest in preparation. I was confident when we jumped off and switched off. Past the half way when I asked him to quicken he was keen. In the homestretch he unleashed a terrific burst and made winning easy. He is a game galloper and is sure to improve further,” said jockey Kamlesh.

Bizarro is by Noverre out of The Phenomenon and bred at the Sohna Stud Farm.

Mr Ashwin Gidwani, MD Ashwin Gidwani Productions gave away the trophy and Katrak received it on behalf of owners Haresh and Manav Mehta. “This was our first time as sponsors in Pune and it was an exciting proposition. My love for horses and my close association with the RWITC drove me to sponsor the race here in Pune. I hope everyone enjoyed the day as much as I did,” said Mr Ashwin Gidwani.

Catharsis ran a good race too but his attempt paled in front of a superior horse. Attribute didn’t do too badly either and despite going wide at the bend, made headway in the final stages to beat Brynhill to bag the third spot. Both Catharsis and Attribute can be expected to do well later this season.

The Hyatt Regency Pune Trophy was the added attraction of the day. Fourteen aspirants seeking their maiden victory were in the fray as the starter flagged them off. Debutant Dreamland (Diffident – Vindication), owned by Mr A Rashid and Mr & Mrs R Rashid and bred at the Poona Stud, shot into the lead and kept a good momentum going. Barringo was right next and closely following them was Strategy. This order never changed as the rest never came up with the trio.

Coming into the straight, Dreamland was still in command but had Barringo inching closer. Strategy continued to stalk these two but soon was fighting to stay in the money as the duo kicked away from him. Barringo started to challenge Dreamland seriously midway in the straight and Dreamland offered stiff resistance, holding n to the slender lead stubbornly. For a first timer this was an excellent effort as Dreamland fought out all the way from the more experienced Barringo who was the overwhelming favourite to win this race. Young Ashhad Asbar and DK Ashish were both putting great effort to gain the upper hand at the fast approaching winning post and in the end Dreamland showed tremendous resolve to nose the wire a hundredth of a second ahead of Barringo, clocking 1:00:40!

At the presentation podium, Mr Gadi Hassin, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Pune, popped the Champagne in celebrating perhaps not only Dreamland’s successful debut, but also Hyatt Regency Pune’s debut at the RWITC venue, as the Club’s hospitality partner. Hyatt Regency Pune had also offered, in a contest where one had to nominate the winners of the AGP Million and the Hyatt Regency Pune. A free stay for a couple at the Hyatt Regency Pune along with dinner vouchers plus a special soothing sixty-minute massage at the Arogya Spa was on offer. A certain Mr Sahil bagged the attractive prize.

“It is a good feeling to be associated with the RWITC. The Hyatt Regency Pune is happy to welcome the racing fraternity to enjoy our international class hospitality and comforts at our hotel. We take pride in extending the best facilities and always strive for excellence, just as your horses do. I congratulate the Rashid family in winning the Hyatt Regency Pune Trophy. It has been an enjoyable experience with the RWITC and we hope to strengthen this association in future,” said Mr Hassin.

Mr Riyad owner of Dreamland when asked how he felt leading in a first timer, remarked – “Short of words, suffice it to say I am in dreamland,” he said, obviously making a reference to his horse Dreamland, the pun very much intended.

Mr Vivek Jain, Chairman, RWITC, thanked the sponsors for coming on board for the first time and invited them extend their association with the Club. He presented a memento to both Mr Ashwin Gidwani and Mr Gadi Hassin in appreciation of their contribution as sponsors.

Blue Sky (China Visit – Blue Ridge) owned and bred by Ameeta Mehra of the Usha Stud, bolted to another impressive victory despite carrying the top weight in the higher class. The encore from Blue Sky came as clean as a whistle as she clinically dispatched the opposition with minimum effort. Jockey B Prakash who was partnering the filly for the first time, must have been confident right from the start as he stayed last of six all the way into the straight. Martinique, who changed stables and arrived at Rehanullah Khan’s yard from Pesi Shroff’s, cracked a nippy pace and led the field with Sea Treasure in tow. Greatest, Rule Forever and Daffodils were rubbing shoulders and Blue Sky was little over a length behind, last.

The front was buzzing with hectic activity as Sea Treasure first and Rule forever tried to wear Martinique down. Blue Sky shot through the moment she got the opening and with giant strides, flew past the fighting trio to score another resounding victory and clinch the Dr SR Captain Trophy in style. Martinique did well to shake off Rule Forever and gain the runner-up berth.

While Martinique was outpaced by Blue Sky, she was graceful in defeat and her coming good in the near future is most likely. Rule Forever may have found the penalty a touch too much, but fought out well. Blue Sky is in sublime form and if judicially placed, can add to her impressive tally. The Dallas Todywalla trainee notched a hat-trick of wins, packing off her Mumbai campaign with a victory and now adding back-to-back victories here in Pune this season. She now has a good record of five victories from eight starts, and figuring in the frame on all the three other occasions. 

Trainer Malesh Narredu saddled a well-backed double early in the day. In the first race, Okavango, tipped as the day’s best bet by indiarace, was given a hard time by Saba. Jacques let down a fairly large number of supporters by whipping around after taking a level jump and dislodging the hapless jockey. Svelte Lady too misbehaved on jumping out and threw her head around. Fortunately, apprentice Tushar Nemane was quick to react and steadied the mare and even made up ground instantly, without urging the mare. Okavango darted to the front to make his own pace and stayed well ahead before Svelte Lady and Solor caught up with him at the turn, with Saba tailing the field.

Svelte Lady struggled to get going in the straight and ended way down the track and now poses a big challenge to young trainer Ms Nazak Chenoy to get her back on even-keel and ensure that this was a one off case. With Svelte Lady too gone long before the final run, it looked like Okavango would have it easy. However, Saba came alive with a spirited challenge and caused some anxious moments to Okavango (Major Impact – Another Time). The ante-post favourite saw a drift in odds and went up to 7/2 in the ring, majorly due to the betting trend going Jacques’ way.

Okavango had a determined Neeraj Rawal in the saddle and the lad persuaded the bay gelding to stay ahead and ward off Saba in the run to the winning post. Okavango prevailed by a narrow ¾ margin to score his second victory on the trot. Saba looks ready to battle another day. Jacques’ was an alarming case as she has done the ‘about around’ for the second time running.

Malesh’s Angel Crown (Steinbeck – Altimara) chalked up a good start-to-finish victory over the mile and half trip, safely keeping Tara at bay in the final stages. The Aap Racing and Stud Ltd property, bred at the Usha Stud, was eased into the lead by jockey DK Ashish soon on start. Equinox, Celestial Call, Tara and Blue Knight followed him all the way into the straight. Angel Crown had lots in the tank and it surfaced when Tara, a known stayer started to mount some pressure. Angel Crown never looked under threat and galloped on gamely to score his maiden victory in his sixth start. Tara looked prominent coming into the straight, but when the push came to a shove, Tara could not produce anything extra and caved in rather tamely.

Hawk of the Wind running first time after being gelded, gave credence to the belief that such first run after being gelded is best left alone. The hot favourite (9/10 on) did try and come up with a challenge but found Autumn Rush (Viking Ruler – Rihla) too good to handle.  The chestnut filly from trainer Faisal Abbas’ yard showed a clean pair of heels and gained solid momentum past the distance post to stretch away from Hawk of the Wind. Autumn Rush, owned by Mr Paawan Seksaria and bred at the Hazara Farm, produced an even better performance than she did during her last victory. She raced past Tag Along Tommy soon on turning for home, then countered the challenge that Hawk of the Wind provided briefly and bounded forward to win by a widening margin. Stuntacular was the one to catch the eye a t the finish as he covered a lot of ground and did remarkably well to run into money.

The two divisions of the Zafayona Plate were claimed by two long-shots. The upper division was won by Miracle of Mercy (Diffident – Fantastic Bride) jointly owned by  Mr Champaklal Zaveri, Mrs Bindu Zaveri,  Ms Niti Desai and Ms Harsha Desai and bred by Zaveri Stud Farm Pvt Ltd. The grey colt had been knocking on the door particularly in his last outing, yet was ignored in the betting (10 to 1). Incidentally, indiarace had tipped him as the first choice.

Beer Hand sped to the front and had Hill Ranger the prime fancy for company. Miracle of Mercy was not too far behind. Once they entered the straight, Hill Ranger found it hard to shake off Beer Hand. As they were laboring towards the winning post, Miracle of Mercy sprinted ahead generating a good pace. He sailed past them with ease and surged forward building a handy lead. Pumba warmed up late and came with a good finishing effort. Though he was the one to finish the fastest, he was far too late and could only narrow down the margin. Desert Eagle finished on ending third while Hill Ranger and Beer Hand dead-heated for the fourth place.

Electra (Ikhtyar – Slide By) owned by the Shroff twins along with Mrs Aban Chotia and Mr Deepak Sitlani decided to put her best foot forward and this was enough to pick the race. Foxtrot brought the field home and the action began soon on turning for home. Foxtrot prolonged his role at the helm and was only got at past the distance post. Savage Garden, the first favourite, tried hard to get past but failed to sustain. Electra and Chiquita, who rose from the mid-bunch, burst upon the front-runners with telling strides and flew past. The pair fought out the final furlong and Electra held on to her narrow lead to stay ahead at the winning post winning by half a length. Chiquita ran a good second and is the one to note.

Mr Sajjad Khatib & trainer Mansoor Shah co-owned Cuba (Mischevious Music – Callisto) bred at the Pratap Stud put in a strong stretch run to post her second career victory in her 11th start. Pacing up with pace set by Quando Quando, Cuba stepped up to take charge early in the straight and did well to score a much needed victory. She was ready with her challenge as Quando Quando brought them into the straight. The field spread across the width of the track while straightening up giving Samburu a dream opening along the rails. He improved considerably to take the runner-up berth. The Saint too did well to end up in the frame. From the beaten lot, Itsmyway and Mediator covered good ground towards the finish.

Dr MAM Ramaswamy’s Rewarding (Auction House – Antithesis) bred at Deshmesh Stud won the last race of the day. Prince was the prime fancy and the fight was restricted to only these two.

Wild Imagination after leading the field until the turn drifted out considerably and that was fatal for her. Rewarding, who was racing along the rails accepted this largess and sailed into the lead. Prince then came with a sustained gallop and challenged the new leader. Karthik’s Rewarding was in no mood to surrender and apprentice Mosin was focused in his pushing. Ashhad Asbar tried his best going all out on Prince, but falter just that little bit which Rewarding exploited to the hilt. Pezzonovante came from a long way back to end a good third.

For the professionals, trainer Malesh Narredu and jockey TS Jodha scored a double each.