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By Usman Rangila | 15 Aug 2001 | PUNE

Tobler ( M Narredu up ), winning the nanoli stud colts and fillies million fromRambus ( B Prakash up )

The hype generated subsequent to Rambus’ splendid winning debut at Mahalaxmi ensured his installation as an odds-on choice for the Nanoli Stud Colts and Fillies Million run on Wednesday. The bred-in-purple colt deserved every bit of attention that was showered on him. Cooji Katrak had chalked out a rigorous pre-race regimen for the son of Placerville out of Lap of Luxury. With the spotlight focusing on Rambus alone his star-struck supporters, in a way, undermined the ability of the other contestants. One such horse to have been ignored was: Tobler.

Tobler too had been through a systematic preparation under his master Vinayak’s watchful eyes. The preparation of Tobler was as good as if not better than Cooji’s labour of love associated with Rambus. Though Tobler had recorded an impressive victory during his last appearance at Mumbai, it didn’t influence the opinion formed by the students of form about Rambus’ ability to reap success in this event.

And the moment Rambus with B. Prakash in saddle stepped out of the gates to wrest the initiative from his rivals, it appeared that the race was being run precisely according to the script written by his connections. But Mallesh Narredu and Tobler had other ideas. In his attempt to tap the reserves of Tobler in his final showdown with Rambus, Mallesh was force to make free use of the whalebone. The response from Tobler was magnificent as he ranged along side Rambus and the two horses were inseparable in the final three sides they took towards the wire. The camera verdict went in favour of Tobler. Trainer Vinayak’s hard work with the property of Khushroo Dhunjibhoy and family had been amply rewarded.

It was a big day for the Chaudhary siblings, Divya and Yug Mohit, the breeders of Tobler. The victory of Tobler heralded the arrival of his sire, the Divyug stud farm’s resident stallion Rebounding Thrill, who had so far been living in the shadow of the wonder horse Sir Bruce, as a producer of classic winners.

It has been reported that Rambus had a cut injury in his mouth and was blood was seen oozing out of this wound though the official race day report fails to shed any light on the incident. Also, the decision of jockey B. Prakash against the use his whip on Rambus during his tussle with Tobler has raised many eyebrows. It is being alleged that jockey B. Prakash already has two offences of irrational use of the whip against him. According to the new rules of racing, framed to prevent the indiscriminate use of the whip, a third offence would have earned Prakash a suspension of one month and this was probably weighing on his mind at the finish. Some people feel that had Prakash given Rambus a reminder or two with his whip, the result would probably have been different.

Trainer Cooji Katrak was swift in avenging the defeat of Rambus in the very next race. He sent out Grey Area (Excalibur’s Lake-Issabelle) in the Independence Trophy and the grey made his rivals look like pedestrians. The vanquished included Inquisition, the Vinayak-trained property of the Dhunjibhoy family, the firm favourite to win in this race. Grey Area entered the home straight first and his rivals had nothing else but to chase his shadow. Weathering ran a commendable second ahead of Prabhuti and Chelsea. Castle Grey, one of the fancied runners, found herself short of a run. Inquisition finished down the field.

Earlier in the day, Knighted proved to be another expensive failure when making his first appearance on the tracks here. The Dr Ramaswamy-owned son of Chief’s Crown had remained unbeaten in his three starts as Mumbai and was thrust with the responsibility of carrying the public purse. The show put up by Knighted hardly did any justice to the faith imposed in him. On the other hand, Torres showed tremendous improvement after his Bangalore summer campaign. Double Impact runaway lead lasted only till the final turn where Torres surged ahead for a comfortable win in the hands of jockey Rajinder.

Touch Wood (Ilheus-Doonanore) erased the bitter memories of her earlier defeat when she was successful in going wire to wire for her maiden victory. Wild Wind chased the winner all the way home. Celtic Son ran well to take the third slot. Recapture, who was quietly fancied by her connections, was prominent till the bend but disappeared gradually from the fray.

Both Tonnerre (Al Mujil-Ilheus Beti) and Aspiring Star (Broto-Thunderous) recorded similar victories by going start to finish in their respective events. The former capitalized on the pull in weights and managed to outwit the top-weighted favourite Blue Blood in the Thunder Storm Trophy. Aspiring Star had no difficulty in notching his second straight success but had to thwart the spirited bid of Maratha Princess towards the end.

With Romanza continuing to flounder on the tracks, Pink Floyd managed to earn his corn bill when making every post of the Amberland Plate a winning one in the hands of Amyn Merchant. Double Barrel provided the biggest upset of the day in the last race of the day. To the surprise of all and sundry, this horse from trainer Magansingh Jodha’s yard put on his galloping shoes on to fox not only his opponents but also the followers of form. It needs to be mentioned here that Double Barrel had ended last in a field of eleven on the opening day of the season hence nobody expected a drastic reversal of form in such a short span of time from him.