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By Mahendra Mallya | 19 Jul 2013 | PUNE

Mr Sarosh M Mody leading Weizhou (C S Jodha Up), winner of The Pune Monsoon Million

On a day of upsets where the Super Jackpot and the two jackpot pools were carried over, only three tote favourites obliged, two of which came from Narendra Lagad’s yard. Naren, thus played sort of a ‘savior for the day’ to the followers of favourites with his charge Suntan Beauty obliging in the concluding race providing some respite for punters at the end of the day.  This also gave some credence to the cliché – ‘If it’s Pune, follow Naren!’ His ward Trump Card, a raging favourite also obliged in the day’s opener.

Weizhou (Senure – Priceless Moments) proved that age is just a number. He lashed out in the final furlong producing a gallop full of zing to stretch past Turf Lightning in full flight to clinch the Pune Monsoon Million in a fashionable manner. Turf Lightning brought the field home and soon sped ahead to lead by a couple of lengths. Weizhou, Rajasthan Royals, Anahi, Cecil and Amadeus were rubbing shoulders, ready to make a forward surge. Jockey CS Jodha pulled Weizhou out just at the right moment and gave him the go. Weizhou responded in a trice and smothered the stiff resistance that Turf Lightning offered. He surged forward and won sparing a couple of lengths. Turf Lightning found one better and settled for the second spot. Orito made rapid progress, as he finished on fastest from a detached last entering the straight, to end up in the money.

Two three-year-olds shed off their maidens’ status in style. Hawker (Multidimensional – Access All Areas) won the Elegance Trophy marking his debut with a solid victory. Hawker jumped out in a flash and hit the front before Cactus Cash and Malkia joined him. These three were close to one another as they turned for home. Hawker stepped on it at the turn and stole a march coming into the straight. A couple of cracks by jockey Neeraj Rawal and Hawker surged further away from Cactus Cash. Malkia dropped back out of contention, while Falco Nero warmed up late to fall a whisker short of making the runner up grade, failing to pip Cactus Cash.

Rosie Sunshine (Lawman – Fresh Bread) was the other three year old to earn her winning bracket. Rosie Sunshine’s was an even more dominating victory as she crushed her opponents to submission, piling on a huge lead once into the straight. It was Beau Royale who was the quickest out but was soon joined by Rosie Sunshine within seconds. These two ran away from the rest and were long way clear in front at the turn. Rosie Sunshine came in with a steady gallop and Kamlesh gave a demonstration of what an ‘armchair ride to victory’ is supposed to mean. He didn’t move a muscle and Rosie Sunshine did not need any assistance either. She galloped away showing superb rhythm and quality as she effortless amassed a huge lead, winning with the proverbial street! She would well win a couple of races more in near future and looks a filly with a future.

Montreal (Phoenix Tower – Anmol) was another youngster who tasted first success, but he had to fight his way to nudge out a determined Wasabi. The pair was off to a good start and had taken off at a cracking pace. None of the rest was in contention as they pulled away in the straight and Lunched a pitched battle. Wasabi was the first in and had Montreal breathing down her neck. Once Montreal gained ground to come abreast, Wasabi looked in danger. She fought hard but succumbed to the constant pressure applied by Montreal, who gained decisive turf in the final few meters. Montreal clearly looked larger and stronger than Wasabi in conformation and on even terms did seem to have the upper hand. Star of Peace who was following this pair all through, ended up doing so to finish a faraway third. Intesar played up at the gates and was withdrawn.

Earlier in the day, Trump Card (Oath – Angara) showed a clean pair of heals in scorching to a facile victory amidst whistles and cheer from the strong following that had backed her. At the turn, Yardstick enjoyed a slender lead with Trump Card and Money Strike close behind. After the turn, Yardstick galloped on hoping to keep the momentum going, but soon Trump Card driven hard by Dashrath Singh proved too hot to handle. Dashrath shot ahead and was soon looking over his shoulder to find himself comfortably in front. Trump Card romped home in style winning it with three legs. Money Strike ran on to finish second beating Yardstick narrowly for a better share of the stakes.

Naren ended the day with another facile win coming from Suntan Beauty (Mr Mellon – Free to Fly) in the last race of the day. This one was as easy as in the first race as Suntan Beauty surfaced from the front bunch to get past leader Midnight Wind to sail away to an impressive four-length victory in no time. Jocelyn improved to beat Midnight Wind for the runner-up slot. Burn improved places and did well to end in the frame.

Gararo (The Lady’s Groom – Cusina Cusina) attracted a good share of the market at race time. Backed down from the fives, Gararo put in an inspired run to reward his backers with big returns. Celsius was pushed to take over the running and was followed closely by Gararo and So True. King Julian, Festive Knight and Titlest were up next. Celsius led the field homewards but could not keep his grip on the lead too long. Gararo picked up fine momentum and was soon galloping past the leader. King Julian tried hard to catch up but by then Gararo had sealed the issue and gained a comfortable lead. He won with two lengths to spare. King Julian managed to pip Celsius for the second place. Fortune Hunter covered some ground in the straight to take a place in the frame.  

Celtic King (Noverre – Odabella) provided a fine third victory for the day for the Katrak-Kamlesh combine, after Montreal and Rosie Sunshine. Celtic King however, had a big 21-horse field to counter. Kamlesh did well to settle Celtic King right behind the front runners – Taj E Shahi, Silsila and Wind Craft. Mumbai King and Sea Pearl were lurking around in the mid-bunch. Favourite La Traviata never got going and finished in the rut.

Taj E Shahi brought the field into the straight and soon Celtic King mounted his attack from the outside. Mumbai King too was making his move stealthy from the inner rails. Celtic King however, produced a far superior gallop to shut the opposition out within a few strides and got away from the rest to pull of an easy victory. Mumbai King kicked on and did well to run a good second. Taj E Shahi ran on to earn place money.

The shockers of the day were Wind Of The Hills and Starsonboard. Both were at ‘asking odds’ and were completely ignored in the betting.

Wind Of The Hills (Placerville – Mawaheb) settled behind owner mate Run Like the Wind who made the initial running along with Binzz and tote favorite Novak. Queen, Polar Zone and Pezzonovante raced just behind the front bunch. Run Like The Wind led them into the straight and soon saw Wind of the Hills surging past in a flash. In the final furlong, Wind of the Hills kicked clear and appeared heading for a runaway win but Queen warmed up late and covered the deficit to land half a length behind. Run Like The Wind finished a decent third and would do well over a shorter sprint. Novak did not raise any hope yet clinched a place in the frame. He could be preparing for his next outing. Binzz faded out of the top positions and ended one off the frame, after running in the front until into the straight.

Starsonboard (Mull of Kintyre – Star Queen) came good when lest expected. He accounted for her old master Dallas Todywalla’s ward the day’s hottest favourite Colourful Prince. It seemed a good start for the favourite when Colourful Prince sat close behind leader Starsonboard with Erotic Flame and Be Cool in tow. Once they turned for home, Starsonboard galloped on gamely and Colourful Prince was finding it difficult to come up with any worthwhile gallop. Erotic Flame, sensing her chances poked through between the two and was gaining on Starsonboard. The now Hosidar Daji trained filly did not give up and sustained it until the end. Be Cool too covered good ground and landed on the haunches of her owner mate Erotic Flame to claim the place stakes. Colourful Prince finished an ordinary fourth.

For the professionals, trainers CD Katrak saddled a treble, while Narendra Lagad and Faisal Abbas scored a double each. The jockeys to shine were Kamlesh with a treble, the same as Cooji Katrak and jockey Dashrath combined with Narendra Lagad to win a double.