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Montezuma Makes an Impressive Debut

By Mahendra Mallya | 07 Oct 2012 | PUNE

Mr. & Mrs. Vijay B. Shirke & Mr K. N. Dhunjibhoy leading Montezuma (Malcolm Kharadi Up), winner of The Ista Hotels Champions Trophy

The Ista Hotels Champions Trophy had six maidens going to the post and although Montezuma was the only one in the fray making a first appearance in a race, he was yet towering over the rest, in terms of market trends and paddock looks. He looked a picture of fitness and his preparation for his debut seemed impeccable. This bay colt by Placerville out of Amazing Princess lived up to the expectations and produced an impressive stretch-run to not only win convincingly on debut but also promising a lot more in future. That he is in the hands of champion trainer Pesi Shroff only raises his chances of developing into a top class prospect.

Montezuma took off well from the gates a led briefly before Malcolm Kharadi settled him into the fourth position, not too far behind the leading bunch comprising Home Advantage, Que Sera Sera and Honest Pleasure. Que Sera Sera quickened soon on turning for home and worked up a handy lead. Home Advantage trudged on, focused on his mission, trying hard to keep it going. Kharadi switched Montezuma to the outside and made his bid. He had to use the whip to get Montezuma going and a couple of cracks were enough to alert Montezuma to shift gears. The Poonawalla-bred colt surged forward and started to devour ground at a remarkable rate. He soon galloped past Que Sera Sera and easily stretched away to score an impressive just-under-three-lengths victory. It is unlikely that he would be given another assignment this season and he is the one to watch out for in Mumbai.

Mr Nikhil Kapur, General Manager, Ista Hotels, gave away the trophy to owners Mr & Mrs Vijay Shirke, Mr KN Dhunjibhoy and Mr Byram Jeejeebhoy.

The October Handicap panned out to be a two-horse race and the two gritty three-year-olds involved – Macedonian and Scarlet Regent, fought out the entire length of the homestretch. The pair was well clear of the rest as they entered the straight with Scarlet Regent waiting for Macedonian to join him. “He tends to shift out considerably in the straight, hence I had instructed my jockey Sreekanth to wait until somebody came alongside,” trainer Karthik told indiarace. That ploy nearly came off as it did last time.

Zervan brought Macedonian (Desert Style – Alexandra) on the outside of Scarlet Regent and was travelling nicely. The thought that it would be smooth sailing may have crossed his mind too. However, Zervan was never able to shake off Scarlet Regent and started to ride out Macedonian vigorously. It came to almost a panic mode when Scarlet Regent refused to give and stuck stubbornly and even threatened to edge the hot favourite out. The supporters of Macedonian had their hearts thumping as the two dashed past the winning post locked together. Few knew what the judges would announce and when he ultimately uttered “No 1 Macedonian - First,” there was a loud scream of vented suspense.  

The Motilal Gopaldas Mathurawala Gold Trophy was the other major race on the day and top weighted Celestial Call well ridden by Dashrath Singh got the measure of Winds Of Fortune closer home. Winds Of Fortune decided to dart to the lead and find out who would take her down. She had a good three-length advantage coming into the straight with Roesti following her. Celestial Call, who was racing along the rails until the turn, was brought out by Dashrath and worked to whether down that lead. He was clinical in his approach and started to gain ground gradually. Past the distance post, Wings of Fortune was still kicking on well, Roesti was trying too hard to stay close up and Celestial Call stepped it up to collar Winds of Fortune past the Grand Stands to sail ahead in the final few strides. Winds Of Fortune played well and was a trifle unlucky not to have sustained his lead all the way. Roesti too has shown remarkable improvement and bears watching.

The Versaki Trophy was touted as a toss-up between Brunello and Rodeo and the market trends was divided between these two. However, it was Carlyle Hills and not Brunello which fought out the issue with Rodeo. Brunello, like last time fell back to the last position, but this time he could not muster enough power to make an impact on the race. He looked a pale in the paddock this time and that assessment proved right as he was thrashed out of sight by both Rodeo and Carlyle Hills.

Brunello jumped to the lead but was soon roughed back by all his three rivals. He never countered them thereafter and only beat the no-hoper Sheriff in the end. This run was well below expectation. Rodeo however, was lot more determined and he earned a hard fought victory.

Sheriff led them until the term and then fell back. Rodeo and Carlyle Hills raced almost together for most of the journey. Once they entered the straight, 

Rodeo (Home Affairs – Rainbow Vision) sped ahead past Sheriff and Carlyle Hills then made headway to catch up with Rodeo. The two battled on for a while and Rodeo found that extra bit to surge to the winning post and register his first victory on the Pune Turf. Carlyle Hills did well to end a close second, going down with guns blazing. Brunello finished too far back and was a big disappointment.

Yuville (Placerville – Yutai) stretched his good form and scored his second victory on the trot with a thoroughly clinical performance. He lay third behind Martinique and Snow Blaze and kept up with the steady pace well ahead of Coccinella and Incognito. Vibgyor whipped around at the start and lost a lot of ground. Haunting Fantasy felt some discomfort and was not able to complete the race.

Yuville took charge from Martinique and Snow Blaze midway in the straight and won unchallenged. Snow Blaze did well to once again finish second to Yuville but this time by a lesser margin. Coccinella improved a little bit to end third.

Hawk of the Wind (Black Cash – La Pieta) had a blast in the straight and he came well from behind to zip past Afrojack and Borak with ease. 

Fireheart, Afrojack and Borak led the field as they turned for home with Greatness and Hawk of the Wind following the three in front. Fireheart petered out soon on straightening for home and Borak made a dash for the led. Afrojack then jumped into the fray with a solid run and just when he took charge and was kindling the idea for going all the way, Hawk of the Wind joined him with steady strides with jockey Zervan having to do precious little. Hawk of the Wind unleashed an impressive gallop to stride past them all in a splendid fashion to run away for a comfortable victory. In this mood, he could soon provide an encore. Afrojack too ran well and over the scurry can strike soon.

Mountain Song (Placerville – Super Dash) would have made her dam proud as she made a super dash in the straight to make her leading from strategy count. The last start winner this time claimed a five-kilo allowance and booted home the advantage to en-cash on a clever coup.

Hitting the front soon on settling down, Mountain Song went at a decent clip with Expelliarmus in chase and the others were closely huddled a couple of lengths away. Apprentice jockey Tushar Nemane sat on his mount as long as he could and that proved a good move. When he moved his hands late in the straight  Mountain Song then started burning gas and did not let anyone get close to her while posting a facile win. Expelliarmus ran on to finish a good second while Smooth Operator improved positions to end a notable third.

Intequam (Intikhab – Banaadir) ran a cracker of a race to win literally on the last stride.  Pound foolish had established a handy lead past the distance post and looked good to last it out. Intequam was in chase and started to inch closer with every stride. It appeared that Pound Foolish had enough on the lead, but Intequam made a last ditch surge and just manage to snatch the victory right under Pound Foolish’s nose.  

Savage Garden (Inhabitant – Rose Garden) was savage on his more fancied rivals and made ample amends for his earlier failures. He spoiled the party for Perfect Strength who had come in for a lot of support and way galloping towards the winning post for a much expected victory. Savage Garden wore him down with a sustained effort and galloped past Perfect Strength in the final 100 to register an easy victory.

For the professionals, jockeys Dashrath Singh, Imran Chisty and S Zervan scored a double each.