- india's first & foremost horse racing portal


By Mahendra Mallya | 11 Aug 2013 | PUNE

Mr & Mrs Mehernosh H. Deboo & trainer P Shroff leading Mariinsky (Trevor Patel Up), winner of The F.D. Wadia Trophy (Gr.2)

The weekend’s races at Pune were as unpredictable as it can get and the followers of favourites received a severe jolt in the majority of races. Both days saw outsiders rule, with some like Allegiance scoring over an unlikely distance (1st time over nine-furlongs) dropping a bombshell, beating more seasoned long-distance opponents and Free Verse fetching a 20 to 1 return, which was hard for most ‘pundits’ to comprehend.

Trainer Pesi Shroff though, reaped rich rewards picking up two important races in the FD Wadia Trophy with Mariinsky and the Governor’s Trophy with his own horse Zakynthos.

Mariinsky (Burden of Proof – Sabre Dance) proved her class by sailing into the homestretch and beating Indian Touch with ease. Mariinsky did not get an ideal start as she was a tad slow in getting out of the gates, but was a lot better than Dynamo who lost a couple of lengths at the start. It was Indian Touch who set the tone and she was accompanied by Dancing Prances and War Horse in the front bunch. Hawker raced on the inner rails as Mariinsky joined him and Shygirl. Celtic King and Dynamo were at the tail end.

Indian Touch came into the straight and soon darted away from Dancing Prances and War Horse. She picked up speed and was a good two lengths clear of the rest. Trevor pulled Mariinsky out and got her on top gear. Mariinsky responded with a smooth gallop and encountered little resistance from Indian Touch. She quickened well and looked the winner the moment she started her forward surge. Indian Touch did well to stay behind the winner. Dynamo progressed well to end a noteworthy third beating Dancing Prances covering good ground to do so.

Dr FF Wadia did the presentation honours and Mr & Mrs Mehernosh Deboo, the owners of Mariinsky in partnership with Dr Vijay Mallya, gleefully accepted the trophy. Shroff collected the Salver for the Breeder – United Racing & Bloodstock Breeders Ltd, Mariinsky was bred at the Kunigal Stud Farm.

The race before, was the Governor’s Cup and Shroff’s Zakynthos (Ikhtyar – Placid) produced a clean-as-a-whistle run to overhaul runaway leader Ice Zone and then successfully warding off the late bid of Senora Bella. Ice Zone tried to go with the trend of the weekend – take jump, hit front and amass a huge lead. Ice Zone had galloped away and was more than seven to eight lengths ahead at the midway stage. Roswald on Saturday and Allegiance on Sunday and created a flutter with similar tactics. However, Zakynthos was not one to be cowed down, as Zervan was up to the task and kept a close watch on Ice Zone. He had cut down the sizable lead to just over two lengths at the turn. Favourite Moon Shadow jumped out awkwardly and never looked in the hunt.

Into the straight, Zakynthos improved well and soon had the measure of Ice Zone. Senora Bella was in third, but took a couple of strides before she really warmed up. Her finish was powerful, but the winning post came too early for Senora Bella who was certainly gaining on the winner.

Vijay Shirke’s Demonstrator (Alnasr Alwasheek – Star Concert) proved that his eye-catching last start second to Neona was no flash in the pan. The ‘old timer’ (all of seven) proved quite a tough customer as he managed to stave off a stiff challenge and topple hot favourite Supreme Star by a short-head.

Supreme Star was slow off but was quick to recover and join the bunch.  Clinton made the front running with Demonstrator and Invictus following in a line. Supreme Star made head way past the 1000 and was third into the straight. Demonstrator collared Clinton approaching the distance post which is when Supreme Star started to get closer. In the final furlong Demonstrator and Supreme Star were involved in a pitched battle going hammer and tongs to the wire. The B Prakash-trained Demonstrator, ridden all out by CS Jodha, fought hard and held on stubbornly to nose out the favorite.

The Ministerian (Ace - Glorious Fantasy) played the waiting game, racing at the rear end of the field and chose the right moment to surface to the front. The lead changed hands rapidly on start, with Insignia quick at the jump and Phelps moving into second just before Knight Of Ke decided to take charge. Infallible and Brazil were up next with Holy Bull and The Ministerian at the rear.

Knight of Ke was joined by Insignia at the turn with Phelps also making a run for it. The Ministerian was the widest one coming into the homestretch. Insignia was finding Knight of Ke tough to shake off and Phelps too was fighting to stay in contention. The Ministerian then started to stride well from the outside. Holy Bull was switched out and this bunch was closely knitted in the final furlong. Jockey Sreekanth then got into the business and drove the DR MAM Ramaswamy-owned The Ministerian with vigor to edge out Insignia at the post. Knight Of Ke did well to stay ahead of Phelps and Holy Bull as the three finished together and Infallible ended a neck away. Holy Bull caught the eye as he had to do quite a bit of maneuvering and considering he was last into the straight, this was not a bad effort.

Free Verse (Ontario – Savannah) owned by the Peerbhoys, sprang a surprise winning at asking odds. The horses in the betting were, Celsius, Titleist, Mumbai King and Be Cool, all at lucrative odds. Celsius led early and had a bunch of horses following closely. Free Verse was closest behind with Plan B, Mumbai King, Star Zone and Titleist. Be Cool was a couple of lengths further away.

It was a melee in the straight with Celsius being overtaken by Free Verse and Mumbai King making his bid o the outside. Titleist too was gaining on them and Be Cool was slipping in through the gap on the inner rails. Free Verse with an unrelenting jockey Srikanth Kamble stayed ahead on the post winning by just one length. Mumbai King, Titleist, Be Cool and Warrior Prince finished in a heap.    

Amazing Desire (Ace – Bay of Angels) produced a spirited run in the final stages of the race to snatch a narrow verdict on the post and Catharsis was the one to go down on the close call. It was a tightly bunched group that entered the straight with Hawaiian Princess leading them in with Catharsis, Step Up, Amazing Desire, Set to Fly and Neath all setting up for the final battle.

Hawaiian Princess failed to quicken the way she did last time and Catharsis easily went past to take over the running. Step Up failed to live up to her name and bowed up. Amazing Desire was the one coming breathing fire while Neath was making quite progress, without making any impact on the two in front. Catharsis was finishing on strongly but Suraj Narredu rose to the challenge and got Amazing Desire to fly towards the end. The finish was perfect for the Narredu camp as Amazing Desire timed his run to perfection to get the judge’s nod on the post. The winner is owned by the Agashe family and was the only tote favourite to oblige on the day.

Owner Kishore Dingra’s Champakali (Senure – Perfect Peace) claimed her maiden victory in a commanding fashion and outpaced her rivals with awesome ease. Quick at start, Champakali settled behind Winchester until the turn and once they straightened for home, she left the field cold amassing a huge lead in a matter of seconds. Stella and the favourite Sea Pearl were no match as Dashrath Singh sped off on a tight rein to win by a massive margin, without extending the SN Joshi trained filly.  

Allegiance (Oath – Baaderah) was attempting over the longer trip (1800 m) for the first time. Having mostly run over the shorter sprints, he was completely ignored in the betting. However, the Narendra Lagad trainee had the last laugh as his rivals didn’t take him too seriously either when he darted to open up a massive lead early in the race. Jockey Bhanu Pratap Singh was way ahead of the rest even as they turned for home. Having cleverly not exerting too much from his mount, Bhanu Pratap had enough in the tank and a sizable lead to ensure he didn’t let Allegiance slacken and the two scored a surprisingly comfortable victory. Allegiance is the property of the Illuminati Racing Syndicate. On money favourite Blue Knight was completely beaten when even second in demand Perfect Strength got past him to gain the runner-up berth.

Trainer Pesi Shroff was the lone professional to log a double.