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Sunderji’s Capriole Stuns Opposition

By Mahendra Mallya | 28 Oct 2012 | PUNE

K. H. Vachha, Z. H. Vachha, R. A. Meherally & trainer S K Sunderji leading Capriole (Imran Chisty Up), winner of The Irish Thoroughbred Marketing & Goffs R.W.I.T.C.Ltd. Gold Cup (Gr.2)

Capriole (China Visit – Silken Star) trained by SK Sunderji has been on a roll this season. She has the distinction of putting it across hot favourites in all of her three victories this season. She beat Blue Ace in the Star of the Season Plate and took the title of this race seriously. She was after all the Star of the season. She then beat Alma Mater in the Threptin Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes (Gr3) which indeed was a major upset. And finally, she took on a star studded opposition in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing & Goffs RWITC Gold Cup (Gr2) this Sunday and this was her bravest and most impressive win to date.

It all heated up once Macchupicchu led the field into the straight. Hills And Stars was the first to whimper out as she simply did not raise a gallop and was hopelessly wide.  Spearhead and Onassis got past the leader and Nadia was desperately looking for a passage between the front-runners. Jockey Imran Chisty propelled Capriole into the gallop mode and the filly worked up a fiery acceleration to get past them all. Nadia skirted around horses to renew her challenge and she too came up with a strong gallop. Ocean And Beyond, the last one to turn for home, also generated an impressive gallop to try and make a final bid for victory. Capriole in the end went hell for leather and showed great determination in holding off Nadia. Onassis fought hard to take the third from the fast finishing Ocean And Beyond and Alma Mater.

It was a fitting finale to a grand race and the finish was something to remember.  Capriole picked up the ‘Star of the Season’ title which actually is the Champion filly of Western India.  

“I had a gut feeling that Capriole had something special in her right from when she came into my yard. I had told the owners so, but she took her own sweet time to score her maiden victory. That took nearly a year and several outings to come by and I was relieved to a great extent. What she has done this season is sheer joy for me. My early assessment about her, I feel, now stands vindicated. It was surely worth the wait,” said Shiraz Sunderji.

The Coolmore Juvenile Million for two-year-olds was another interesting race supporting the main event. LVR Deshmukh trained Decathlon (Phoenix Tower – Dancerllon) made his debut count, with a flourishing gallop that propped him past Raptor and Saturday Affair and post an impressive victory.

Invincible shot ahead at the start and had Saturday Affair chasing him, Raptor, Colourful Prince and Decathlon raced huddled together, Mariinsky was languishing in the second last position. Once they turned for home, Raptor was trying hard to get past Saturday Affair who had taken charge. Invincible fell back. Decathlon devoured ground impressively without jockey PS Chouhan having to go for the whalebone. As if he knew exactly what he was out there for, Decathlon neatly piled up a handy lead and won handsomely. Mariinsky came with a late flourish and ended an eye-catching second. The Mumbai track would most likely suit her style of running and she could be the one to score her maiden victory in her next outing.

Jockey A Sandesh had a fruitful day riding home three winners. He started off his winning run with Victorious March (Diffident – Roman Eagle) and his supreme finishing effort saw the Rehanullah Khan trainee notch up her first victory on the Pune turf, denying Maximus the honour.    

The fight between Victorious March and Maximus began soon after they turned for home. Maximus was slightly ahead when Victorious March came with a terrific gallop to join alongside and even pass Maximus. Centrestage was also covering ground improving positions making progress from the rails. 

However, past the distance post, the fight was confined to Victorious March and Maximus who tried his best to topple the slender lead that Victorious March enjoyed going for the line. Sandesh was at his best and so was jockey DK Ashish atop Maximus, but Sandesh drove home the advantage to seize the issue on the final nod.

Immediately after this victory over the sprint, Sandesh partnered Mountain Force (Placerville – Frost Queen) to victory over the distance. Sandesh judged the pace to perfection and sat up third behind Jen’s Glory and Phoenix Force for most of the 2000 meter journey. Songlark, the principal favourite, jumped out even, but after a few strides, fell back to the last position just alongside Blue Mellon.

Mountain Force took over early in the straight from the tiring Jen’s Glory and Phoenix Force who too looked a spent force. Mountain Force and Sandesh built up a handy lead and even the forceful late bid from Perfect Strength could not topple Mountain Force. Songlark was a disappointment both on her performance and on jockey Trevor’s as well. He made little effort to improve position during the longish journey and at the turn too, took the filly wider out and stubbed whatever chance the filly may have had to justify the top billing she was conferred.  

Sandesh’s most exciting and rewarding victory was his easiest. He was one short on the count to Dashrath Singh and he came good in the last race atop Mon Ami (Burden of Proof – Wild Rezonution). Sandesh capped his championship win with a devastating run soon on turning for home.

Adventurer set a crisp pace for a mile race and had Blue Casper for company and they both faded away much before anticipated. Mon Ami came charging into the straight and set off to extend the margin of her lead to a winning one in split seconds. The ones to improve were Fairy Empress and Atlantic Star. Milano Green seemed to be saving fuel for an early Mumbai strike. Mon Ami won with a lot left and if he starts early in Mumbai, he should be able to provide an encore.

The Red Mills Feed Now In India Salver was another major event and Que Sera Sera (Pure Prize – Cozumel) complemented the significance of the race with a classy maiden victory. The Adhiraj Jodha trained colt had been knocking on the door for a while and that knock got louder in his last outing while meeting Montezuma.

Que Sera Sera with stable jockey CS Jodha astride marched on ahead after leading the field homewards. Confidently ridden by Jodha, Que Sera Sera showed supreme acceleration in the straight and bounded forward to stamp out the opposition with awesome ease. Woven Dreams had to fight his way to the second spot with Ice Cool providing a stiff challenge. Monet ended a tame fourth.

Dovers Hill (Glory of Dancer – Fast Trick) enhanced his class I status with yet another victory over the six furlong sprint. Yuville was the favourite and rightly so as he had the perfect credentials coming into this race with a back to back victory. Only, both victories were over the seven-furlong trip.

Sitting right alongside the leader Mountain Regiment and with Saints N Sinners on his inside Dovers Hill worked hard on his final run. Saints N Sinners easily accounted for Mountain Regiment, but Dovers Hill was far too close for comfort. Sea Treasure too made a bid slipping through the inner rails lucky to get the opening, unlike Yuville who was desperately poking for passage. Dovers Hill seized the advantage approaching the distance post and put his heart into his gallop and thrilled Dallas Todywalla along with the fair amount of his supporters to get past all and shake off the late bid from Yuville.   

Borak (Senure – Lunnkala) came in the fray when the spotlight was focused on Afrojack who looked like running away with the race midway in the straight. Afrojack, after leading the field into the homestretch, sped further away and established what looked like a safe distance from his rivals. Borak at the same juncture was grappling with companions trying to wriggle free. Once he got the opening with less than 300 to go, Borak, still some distance in deficit, worked up a fiery pace and lapped up the gap in no time. He got Afrojack a meter from the winning post to snatch a thrilling head victory on the wire. Arctic Minstrel too did a good job of earning his place reward.

Altaf Hussain schooled Zedaan (Mull of Kintyre-Adams Delight) won the opening race of the day, the lower division of the Classical Act Plate, to shed his maiden status in only his third outing. Josephine was quickly in front at start and brought the field into view on the straight. Zidaan was tucked in nicely along the rails all the way till the final turn and then he progressed riskly to get alongside Josephine on top of the straight.  The pair thereafter, broke away from the rest. Passing the distance post, Zidaan surged past Josephine to score a facile victory.

Snow Ball (Warrshan-Regal Fantasy) from S.Mangalorkar’s stables, who was tackling the six furlongs sprint distance for the first time, responded well to Zrevan’s urgings on the home stretch to win the lower division of the Classical Act Plate. Snow Ball was racing a close fourth; about three off the fence, all the way from the start, while Tag Along Tommy, Flying Star and Masterofthesky made the running in front. Entering the straight, Snow Ball was asked for an effort and the 3 year old colt picked up momentum and shot to the front. Masterofthesky threw a challenge along the inner rails but could only finish second. Tag Along Tommy took the third spot, ahead of the late finishing Tamarai.

For the professionals, A Sandesh was the star performer scoring thrice and grabbing the joint championship in the process. Trainer Dallas Todywalla too sealed his championship lead saddling two winners as did trainer Rehanullah Khan, who shrewdly pulled off a lucrative double.

The Season’s Championship Awards for the leading performers were presented by Mr Vivek Jain, Chairman of the RWITC along with Mr Champaklal Zaveri. The Awardees were as follows:

Leading Owner – Dr MAM Ramaswamy

Leading Syndicate – Sopher Racing Syndicate

Leading Trainer – Dallas Todywalla

Leading Trainer with 20 or lesser horses – Sanjay Kolse

Leading Jockey – Dashrath Singh and A Sandesh (Joint winners)

Leading Allowance Claiming jockey – Srikanth Kamble

Leading Apprentice jockey – Tushare Nemane

Leading Stud Farm – Poonawalla Stud Farm

Leading Filly/Mare (Outstation) – In The Spotlight

Leading Filly (Western India) – Capriole

Leading Three-year-old colt – Commander

Leading Three-year-old filly – Neona

Leading Horse – Fireback

Leading Bookmaker (Pune) – Latif Associates

Leading Bookmaker (Mumbai) Banarasi Das