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Breathtaking Mock War Drills by Indian Army at Racecourse

By Mahendra Mallya | 09 Sep 2012 | PUNE

Trainer Dallas Todywalla leading Star Of Gibraltar (A Sandesh Up), winner of The Southern Command Gold Trophy Grade 3

For the first time in history, an enthralling display of warfare demonstration at the Pune race course was a once in a life time experience. The brave and admirable Jawans of the Southern Command wing of the Indian Army created a battle field at the centre of the racecourse. Tanks, Anti-Aircraft Guns and battle-choppers et al with dummy firing and the odd grenade attack and smoke screens left a mammoth turn out in complete awe. The never seen before battle drama gave everyone present, what it takes to a real attack and to grind through enemy lines. The chilling display was cheerfully applauded the loudest when the army helicopters flew with the Indian Tri-colour fluttered through the air right across the grand stands. The packed house were treated to some brilliant piece of action and whoever present at the venue is sure to have left with an insight of what our Army is capable of and how much they contribute towards our security and peace.

Star of Gibraltar (Alnasr Alwasheek – Dancing Image) owned by Dinsha Shroff in partnership with Mrs Aban Chotia, Mr Dadachanji and Mrs Lynn Deas and bred at the Exhilaration Stud, sitting pretty at a tidy weight due to the terms of the race, picked up first group race triumph with a solid gallop to prevail over a hard fighting rival - Star Trainer.  Cardinal, the favourite, just didn’t  seem to be in the same zest that we are used to seeing him. He never raised a gallop and went down tamely without making any inpact on the race. This is definitely unusual for a horse of his caliber.

Star Trainer led them all the way into the straight and had Star of Gibraltar following him closely. Cent Per Cent and Cardinal strode together as did Rajasthan Royale and Ranthambhore. Su Chailyo raced in the rear.

Star Trainer led them in but soon was strongly challenged by Star of Gibraltar. Not one to give up easily, Star Trainer continued his resistance stubbornly galloping on alongside. The pair went hammer and tongs past the Grand Stands but in the end, Star of Gibraltar surged ahead to shake off the game challenger. Star of Gibraltar was solid in his victory and notched up his third straight victory this season, taking his career tally to an impressive 7 wins from 16 starts, with four seconds.

At the presentation podium, Mr Vivek Jain, Chairman, RWITC thanked Lt Gen AK Singh, PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC, GOC-in-Chief, who presided over the presentation ceremony.  “It was one of the best Army Days ever in its illustrious history. The mass band on the track, the replicating of a battle field on the centre of the race course, the helicopter fly past, were to be seen to be believed. The increase in attendance by 35% is proof of the spectacular success of the day,” said Mr Jain. Mr Jain then presented a memento to Lt Gen Singh as a token of gratitude and appreciation on behalf of the Club. The Lt General, speaking in Hindi and English said that the army always supported equestrian sports and we happy to be a part of the Pune Season. “I am happy to be here, it is a great day of racing. The demonstration of the war activities was conducted to give an opportunity to the civilians on the happenings on the battlefield. I thank all the Jawans and my officers for putting up such a realistic show and acknowledge their efforts. The Indian Army is well equipped in every way to combat any eventuality. I wish everyone here well, Jaihind,” he concluded.

Speaking exclusively to indiarace, Lt Gen Singh said, “This is the first time ever that such a comprehensive demonstration has been held at the racecourse. It gives the civilians an idea of what the Army goes through and the rituals of the Band & the Marching and the significance of it all. Today we gave a brief account of the various air and ground strike procedures and I am sure everyone here would appreciate. It was good to see the entire racecourse stand and applaud the spectacle,” Said Lt Gen AK Singh.

The Field Marshal Sam Maneckshaw Memorial Trophy had only four in the fray, but the poser was prominent in picking the winner. Ishpingo, on his last start victory was the first fancy. Emerging Star and even Coccinella garnered strong support as well.  However, Emerging Star scorched the turf to post a fine victory without seemingly coming under any threat.

Emerging Star (Warrshan – Star Liner), property of the Estate of Late Mr Ajit Aghashe & Mrs Seemantini Aghashe, bred at the Ruia Stud took full advantage of carrying feather weight and darted into the lead soon on start. Ishpingo, Coccinella and Dictator followed closely.

Once in the straight, Emerging Star galloped on and although Ishpingo went all out in chase, he could only reduce the margin of victory. Coccinella may have found the trip a tad sharp but gained towards the winning post. Coccinella will have gained after this run and it be noteworthy to follow him next time out.

Bucharest (Placerville – Bratz) owned by Pallon Mistry and Mr Rusi Sethna and bred at the Manjri Stud brought about his maiden victory in style, but not without a brief tussle with Alecto who was looking for a debut success.

Alecto swung into action mode soon on start and led a bunch of tightly packed three-year-olds. At the turn, Alecto had Bucharest and Sunshine Heart in close vicinity with favourite Ice Cool providing no threat even though he was trying to regroup in the fourth position. Alecto and Bucharest were clearly ahead and working up a good tempo. Approaching the distance post, Bucharest produced a fiery gallop to quell the budding challenge of Alecto. That sealed the issue and Bucharest romped home to win the Juventus Trophy Div I, He sped away from Alecto who didn’t do too badly considering this was his first run. Sunshine Heart ran well at earn place money while Ice Cool ended a tame third.

The lower division of the race was picked by Monza (Royal Gladiator – Capriani) owned by Mr Maloji Bhonsle abd bred at Pratap Stud. Monza flew out of the gates and did well to shoot out of gate 12 to grab the lead from Set Ablaze while settling down and kept a good momentum going. Once into the straight, Monza accelerated extremely well and kicked away from the rest leaving them to scramble for the minor placing. Monza stretched out to an impressive Seven-and-half length victory and looked good for more. Set Ablaze was completely outpaced managing the faraway second spot. Alkazi who was in the vicinity of Monza early on, just managed to stay in third from the fast finishing François, who was the pick of the beaten brigade.

Yuville (Placerville Yu Tai) owned by Mr Atul Amersey, Dr YK Hamied and Mr Sunil Jhangiani and bred at the Pune Stud, made ample amends for her last start failure by trouncing the opposition to win the concluding race of the day.

Yuville chased leader Snow Blaze until the home turn with main threat Zakynthos sitting right behind in third. However, on straightening for home, Yuville left nothing to chance and darted ahead opening up a huge gap. She did the full monty never loosening the stranglehold she had on the race. The others haplessly watched her go away from them all. Snow Blaze ran on to ensure that none among the others got past him in the race. Zakynthos ended chasing these two well ahead of Defining Moment.

The Col Kaikhushroo Maneckji Bharucha Trophy Div I saw an exciting finish, with Festival Night (Serious Spender – Star Festival) facing a duel threat from either side in the final furlong. Having taken a rousing start, Festival Night led a pack of horses hounding her all the way. On entering the homestretch, Festival Night with apprentice Prasad in the saddle, bounded ahead creating a two-something lead. Celsius was trying hard to cut the lead but going nowhere. At this point, Amika was briskly gaining ground from the inside rails while Snow Ball started to inch closer from the outside. Both the challengers seemed to be cutting down the lead alarmingly fast, but Prasad kept his head down and cool to somehow nose the wire in an electric finish.

The lower division of the race too had an exciting finish but not as close. Free Verse led them into the straight, with Follow Me, Expelliarmus and Helen forming a close quartet. The rest never bothered the front group. Free Verse looked good coming into the straight and was fairly clear of the rest. Expelliarmus was the first to wilt working hard to stay in contention. Follow Me kept knocking and stuck close enough. Helen (Rebuttal – Bold As Silver) was the one who picked up speed coming into the final furlong. She came with a tremendous finishing effort which was too good for Free Verse to counter. Helen notched up her first win and looked good for another. Free verse was unfortunate not to add to her last victory and went down fighting.

Snow Mountain (Black Cash – Sarmatara) emerged from the mid-bunch to come charging in homewards. He came up with gigantic strides to dismiss the front-running bunch including Theology, with utter disdain and sailed ahead to notch a facile victory, outclassing them in no uncertain terms. Snow Mountain sealed the issue long way from home and returned an impressive winner. Persian, who was last most of the way, improved steadily to end a good second beating Theology to third.

For the professionals, trainers Dallas Todywalla and M Narredu saddled a double each and jockey C Rajendra was the lone jockey to score a double.