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Grande Dame Wins Portside Café Super Sprint

By Mahendra Mallya | 20 Oct 2012 | PUNE

Grand Dame (Dashrath Singh Up), winner of The Portside Cafe Super Sprint

Grande Dame (Mull of Kintyre – Grand Natalie) opened her account in style, winning the Portside Café Super Sprint thus enjoying the sweet taste of victory in her fifth attempt. Jockey Dashrath Singh settled her behind leader Ice Empire who galloped at a quick pace. Burgundy Rose was a close third and favourtie Set Ablaze not too far behind.

Ice Empire kicked on in the straight, but was soon challenged by Grande Dame. Burgundy Rose too was right behind these two but Set Ablaze simply could not quicken. Ice Empire and Grande Dame fought it out among themselves and in the dying moments, Grande Dame seized the upper hand and stretched ahead to post her maiden victory. In doing so, Grande Dame came in and went across Ice Empire in the final few strides.

Jockey DK Ashish believed that he had been interfered with, hence lodged an official protest to the stewards, objecting to the winner’ for infringement. The Stewards overruled the objection as they saw no reason to allow it under the circumstances as Ice Empire was squarely beaten.

Grande Dame was forceful in the final 100 and easily got past Ice Empire with less than 100 meters to go. Ice Empire too ran a creditable race to finish a good second. Burgundy Rose warmed up a little too late and was seen finishing on well. Set Ablaze disappointed yet again.

Native Knight (Placerville – Native tactics) proved once again that class is permanent. He was towering high over his two rivals where class was concerned but the same could not be said about his form. He was patchy in his last few runs and was also giving chunks of weight to Clarion call his closest rival if you took the market trends for granted.

It was a slow run race, understandably, and Clarion Call gingerly called the early shots. Bling and Native Knight were in tow. Clarion Call was surely not up to it and gave up before the bend. Bling took charge in the straight and Native Knight, confidently ridden by Dashrath Singh made gradual progress to join Bling inside the final furlong and then shun Bling off to close the issue well and truly, lasting the grueling 3200 meters well, completely outlasting the two opponents in the process.

Visionist (Warrshan – Star profile) showed great improvement over his last start victory in the lower class. This time he clocked an even faster timing – an impressive 1:10:62 a solid improvement over his last timing of 1:11:82. Rising Power took off at a fiery pace and led them into the straight. Visionist soon started to cover ground briskly and joined Rising Power. The others were posing no threat to the pair in front. Visionist accelerated well and stormed past Rising Power to score an imposing victory.

Borderline (Hymn – Romodia) ridden by apprentice Tushar Nemane made full use of the five kilo claim and ensured that it made a difference while fighting off a strong challenge from Good Looking. Nemane made just the right moves to improve from fourth and take charge early in the straight. Good Looking had to wait for an opening and once he found the gap, Dashrath pounced through the opening to tackle Borderline. The duo fought a hard battle, Borderline even shifting out slightly under pressure, but managed to maintain his stranglehold all the way to the wire. Dashrath did all possible but went down narrowly in the end. Daffodils quickened too, but failed to produce that extra bit needed to convert a good run to victory.

Persian (Razeen – Colourpresentation) translated his latest forward form to a well-earned victory in the Pune Racing Journalists Trophy with a dramatic late finish. Lying last of eleven runners and detached two-an-half lengths behind the bunch, Persian, ably ridden by P Trevor, made steady progress right through to be in close proximity of the front bunch as they straightened for home. Rembrandt raised some hope as he darted to the front taking over from the tiring Aslan. He was soon joined by That’s My Master and the two were matching strides. Trevor took a chance and made a bold bid to make his run through the rails and as they say, luck favours the brave, and he got the opening he was hoping for just at the right time. Trevor drove Persian between the fighting duo to surge ahead in the last few strides to the winning post to score a narrow victory. That’s My Master was overwhelmed in the final stages and had to be content with the runner-up slot. Rembrandt ran on to finish third. Mable did not make much impact and ended in the frame.

Trainer CD Katrak and P Kamlesh teamed up to score a fine double – one a well-backed favourite the other at nourishing odds.

Wind Chime (Noverre – Offshoot) the prime fancy produced a scintillating final burst to stretch out authoritatively and post a fiery victory. The vantage spots were taken by highway Express and Nigella and as these two were battling along, Red Tabasco started to cover ground from the outside. Kamlesh brought Wind Chime through the middle and once he got a clear run, Wind Chime responded strongly and it was all over. Red Tabasco’s late charge fetched him only the second spot, just ahead of Highway Express who could do well over a shorter sprint. Nigella ended a tame fourth.

Romantic Beauty (Oath – Danseuse) ran a scorcher of a race. She shot into the lead soon on start and held a firm grip all through the race. Entering the straight, Romantic Beauty thundered ahead and Fifth Gear was rather shocked as he attempted to get closer in the straight. Romantic Beauty stretched out impressively to notch her first victory in a splendid fashion. Tipping Point ran to on take the place money.

Royalty (Royal Kingdom – Sandslash) lived up to the promise he had shown in his last start when he finished a notable second to Foxtrot. This time he got one-up on the same connections and scored a thrilling victory with his persistent gallop, result of a determined effort.  Jockey Ashhad Asbar, pushed Royalty to hit the front to head the field followed closely by the prime fancy Purple Moon. The duo extended their battle all along the stretch and the late finish of Herzeliyah along with a stubborn bid by Arabian Chief made it an interesting four horse finish.

Royalty and Purple Moon were stuck to one another and began their battle for supremacy right from the start. Royalty had the edge as he was in the lead. He threw the challenge for the others to come and get him. They came but could not get him. In the final furlong, Royalty was going all out and Purple Mooon was constantly threatening to snatch the lead away. Arabian Chief was right there with them and although he did not look menacing, his presence was dangerous enough for the fighting duo. Then came herzeliyah with a final burst which further threw a new angle to the race. It got too close, but Royalty had enough legs to stay ahead by a neck. Purple Moon, Herzeliyah and Arabian Chief finished in a heap to add spice to a juicy finish.

Prize Fighter (Warrshan – Strike it right) earned a steady start to finish win and Trevor atop made good use of the early pace to suit Prize Fighter perfectly. He went at an easy pace early in the race and on turning for home, accelerated gradually to ensure Prize Fighter lasted through the straight. Zeki did look like striking for a moment, but could not quicken as required. Blue Swallow gained good ground in the end to finish one behind Prize Fighter.  

The fight for the pro Championships is heading for a close finish. Dashrath Singh came from behind and got past Sandesh to lead the tally by three. The trainers’ tally is poised for a humdinger with Dallas Todywalla leading by a slender margin. He is just one winner ahead of reigning champion Narendra Lagad.  With only two race days left, I am bracing for some fierce fighting between the professionals involved to claim the jockeys and the trainers Championship titles and with it the huge prestige and satisfaction that comes along.