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By Secretariat | 15 Jul 2004 | PUNE

When the first race of the 2004 Pune racing season began and the favourite River Master got left by eight lengths it looked like history would be challenged by the loss of the favourite in the opening race of the Pune season. You see, in the past few years the favourite has always won the opener. But a brilliant ride from B. Prakash ensured that this record would remain intact for at least one more year. He brushed River Master into a challenging position, sensibly gave him a breather for his early exertions and when he set him down at the top of the straight, he found the accelaration that the punters were praying for. And then came the blood bath!

The favourite Luck Be A Lady found Latest News' lead too much and a half hour later a babyish looking Suleiman Pasha shot the second bullet into the punters' hearsts when he failed to even make the board. It must be said that the winner Mustang Sally was impressive and her connections certainly have something positive to look forward to in her progress.

Anna Karenina found it difficult to get to lead from draw eight and by the time she turned for home she was a spent force. Arabian Fighter from draw one made all the running to the winning post and by now punters looked like they were ready to jump off the grand stands in a mass suicide bid.The suicide, however was not necessary as the defeats of Euro Star and Nota Bene ( who was alerted too late for her task) and the start to finish victory of the 12-1 Blue Devil killed the punters once and for all.Most of those who had money left over for the last race lost that too when Divyakiran held off a trio of fancied runners including the favourite Titania. And for those who didn't have money Friday is another day at the Pune racecourse.