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By Mahendra Mallya | 25 Jul 2013 | PUNE

Dancing Phoenix (A Sandesh Up), winner of The P. Hadow Trophy

It was a day where horses that were agile at the start reaped rich rewards by darting to the front and playing catch-me-if-you-can. The best of them all was a dazzling display produced by Dallas Todywalla’s Dancing Phoenix (Phoenix Tower – All Dancing) whom jockey A Sandesh handled  with aplomb. He landed the P Hadow Trophy, the feature race of the day, without working sweat. It was not the most difficult of tasks for Sandesh to hit the front in the small six-horse field. Emerging Star and Rule Forever tried to match strides with Dancing Phoenix briefly for the first furlong or so. Once Dancing Phoenix got into a rhythm he looked all grace. He sped away entering the straight and then unleashed a scorching gallop to romp home all by himself. He was over five lengths ahead approaching the distance post and none could even close the wide gap. Emerging Star managed to take the second spot good five-and-half-lengths away, while Wings of Glory came from behind to pip Hawk of the Wind for the third place. Mable looked rusty and Rule Forever, listless.

The Proletarian Plate, for unraced three-year-olds was won by Cooji Katrak’s Way Out (Exceed And Excel – Farrfesheena), owned by Dr YK Hamied, Mr Atul Amersey and Mr kamil Hamied.  Way Out, the prime favourite, flew out of the gates and grabbed the lead in a flash. She went at a brisk pace and Angel In the Sky, who was second a couple of lengths behind, was finding it tough to keep up. Infallible and Gran Amigo followed these two but neither could do more than finish on to take the minor placing.

Way Out dominated the homestretch and was on cruise mode all the way. Jockey Kamlesh had little to do and the only effort he put in was a peep over his shoulder in the final few yards from the winning post. Way Out looks on his way in to a very bright career. Angel In The Sky did show some spark and can be expected to do well further into the season.

Dreamliner (Diffident – Dreaming) lived up to his top billing and scored his second successive victory adding to his last start win in Mumbai. He was up with She’s Sweet soon on start and pounced on the latter soon on turning for home. Jockey Dashrath Singh quickly coaxed the Faisal Abbas trainee to accelerate and Dreamliner obliged with a sustained gallop all the way home. Sherlock Holmes, carrying the top weight, improved in the final furlong with jockey JE Pereira in the saddle to take the runner up berth beating She’s Sweet and New Star.

It was a day where favourites obliged in all the races but the first. Blush (Fasliyev – Eastern Sky) the top fancy for the Agni Plate over five-furlongs, won without causing any anxiety to her large number of backers. The Narendra Lagad trained seven-year-old mare was the oldest in the bunch of seven runners, yet looked the fittest. She proved it on the track by shooting to the front at the gates. Jockey Sandesh was aggressive in taking Blush past Follow me on the jump and then settled the mare going at a decent pace. Follow Me stayed close to the leader with Herzeliyah along the rails and Speed up on the outside.

Into the straight, Blush was in complete command and Sandesh prolonged his hold on the reins even as others were off the bridle. When he started to ride out, Blush quickened to the task and was soon out of reach of Herzeliyah. Blush galloped on to post a convincing victory and Herzeliyah found one too good. Follow Me ended a tame third with Speed Up finishing close to Follow ME.

Amazing Desire (Ace – Bay of Angels) from M Narredu’s stables brought a cheerful end for the day, for the followers of favourites. Amazing Desire took off early but had Bourbon Street and Step up close on his heels until the turn. The race took a decisive turn when Amazing Desire accelerated along the rails and wrested back the initiative that Step Up had snatched from him briefly at the turn. Amazing Desire was confidently ridden by jockey DK Ashish and drew away from Step Up and Bourbon Street to score a facile victory. Moon Shadow had to switch lanes and was the one improving at the finish. Bourbon Street ended second and Moon Shadow did well to take the place money at the expense of Step Up.

Hay Day (Mr Mellon – Almelo) was the only non-favourite to win on the day. While Dancing Splendour garnerd most of the betting, Hay Day was freely available around 10 to 1. Star Builder was the one to lead the field and Hay Day followed him close behind. Dancing Splendour was not in the best of positions and spent a lot improving all the time in the first half of the race. The front three  - Star Builder, Hay Day and Blue Casper were racing together with Showers of Heaven and Binzz a couple of lengths away. Y Day took off from the bunch and sped ahead to establish a handy lead approaching the distance post. Showers of Heaven bridged the gap somewhat, but Hay Day held his own to lunge forward and win the first race of the day with a measure of comfort. Showers of Heaven may have needed this lung opener and looked good taking the second spot. Star Builder was rewarded for his good effort and retained the third spot ahead of Binzz.

Jockey A Sandesh was the only professional to score a double.