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By Mahendra Mallya | 18 Aug 2013 | PUNE

Providence (C S Jodha Up), winner of The Raja Bahadur Pittie Million

Two horses made a mark on Sunday’s races at Pune, Providence and Jeremiah. Providence made a successful debut winning the feature event – The Raja Bahadur Pittie Million and Jeremiah, who made a solid impact by putting up one of the most imposing displays of authority on the turf. Jeremiah’s arguably, was the most impressive manner of victory for the season so far. 

The Raja Bahadur Pittie Million had eight runners in the fray, with the race looking wide open. Fontanelle garnered maximum support, but others too had their fair share of backers. Providence was at nourishing odds (8/1) but did attract stray bets.

Presence had a disastrous start losing considerable ground as the gates flung open. The blinkers he had on for the first time may have been partially responsible for this flaw. He spent quite a bit in his effort to recover lost ground and at the business end, he just could not raise a potent gallop.

 It was Forest Vision and Fontanelle who were in the lead and they had Wasabi and Providence up close behind. Wasabi was quick to take the initiative soon on turning for home. Both Forest Vision and Fontanelle failed to live up to expectations. Both gave in meekly as Wasabi took over. Providence took the turn wide and made his bid from the stand side. Wasabi and Providence tore away from the rest. Wasabi was fighting hard to ward off the debutante, but CS Jodha, partnering Providence, was powerful at the finish and managed to get the measure of Wasabi in the final few strides.

Providence (Alnasr Alwasheek – Dancing Image) is owned by M/s Vivek Jain, Geoffrey Nagpal, Rohit Patel and trainer Zadmal Singh and bred at the Poonawalla-owned Exhilaration Stud Farm.  

Jeremiah (Jeremy – Acciacatura) provided jockey Zervan the cliched ‘armchair ride to victory’.  While Jeremiah devoured acres of turf with each stride, Zervan was seen only moving his neck in turning back to look at his rivals blurring out of vision. Santa Caterina tried the frequently-seen runaway tactics, however she couldn’t manage to keep Jeremiah at bay. Santa Caterina’s huge lead was cut down rapidly when Sword of Honour and Jeremiah got past her at the turn.

Jeremiah was on cruise mode throughout the race and he moved into the lead as they rounded the turn. That was it! Jeremiah was doing a little better than a trot as he swung into the straight still on the bit. Zervan did move a muscle, he didn’t need to. The Shroff trainee owned by M/s Haresh and Manav Mehta sailed clear to amass a massive lead with minimum effort and completely outclass her opponents to score a thumping victory with mind-boggling ease. He sure is a horse with high potential and his future certainly looks bright.

Bezan Chenoy-trained Commander (Noverre – Momentarily) celebrated his return to Pune with an inspired stretch-run to win the Gamble for Love Trophy for horses in Class I. Hurricane Wind tried to pull off a sensational start to finish victory and nearly succeeded. He was on course until well into the straight, which is when Commander began to gain ground. The pair fought out the final furlong and it looked touch and go when Hurricane Wind resisted equally well and refused to give in. It was only in the final fifty meters that jockey NS Parmar managed to wrest the upper hand and nail the challenger in a thrilling finish, winning by a neck. Hidden Goodness and the others were another ten lengths behind.

Jaydev Mody’s Rio (Multidimensional – Olivia Valere) stormed home to log a back-to-back double, scoring two out of two on the Pune turf.  This one was an even better effort as Rio surged past leader Wind Craft at the turn and stretched out nicely all the way. He came into the straight with a determined run and accelerated well in the homestretch to bag the Dr PK Sardeshmukh Trophy Div I in style. Remember Me tried to make a race of it, but needed a lot better effort than he could come up with. La Traviata never looked prominent, but came up striding fast when all possibilities of victory had evaporated. La Traviata could only manage the third place beating Ceasarina, who went too wide at the turn.

The lower division of the Dr Sardeshmukh trophy looked a straight fight between last start winners Ace Angelfire and Ainra. The latter took off to a quick start and settled into a fine rhythm. Ace Angelfire, the official first favourite in the betting, was tagging behind the leader and the two looked a lot better than the rest.

Into the straight, Ainra (Placerville – Refresh) marched on ahead and Ace Angelfire started to feel the pressure. Sandesh was well in control and was riding out Ainra relying more on hands and heels, while Neeraj on Ace Angelfire was desperate to not let Ainra get away. In the end, Ainra proved a lot more superior and traveled extremely well to score a facile victory. Nevada ran on to end a distant third.   

Falco Nero (Haatef – Desert Grouse), the prime fancy, went for it right from the start. He led comfortably for the most part of the race, with Nush, Appalichia and Supreme Minstrel following in that order. It was at the turn that Nush came up to challenge the leader. Falco Nero was right up to it and stood his ground firmly. It got a bit rough as they jostled tightly for the lead. Sandesh atop Falco Nero and Imran Chisty astride Nush were giving it all in a fight to the finish. Falco Nero commendably etched his way back into the lead after losing it momentarily and stuck it out to prevail in a close finish.  Nush had her moments when she drew level, but failed to sustain it all the way.

Bonobo (Pike Place Gold – Red Tie Lady) created minor flutter when he managed to topple hot favourite Romantic Beauty in the day’s opener. Bonobo took charge early in the back stretch and maintained a good pace right into the straight. Only Romantic Beauty looked in contention as the other two faded away long before the bend. Inside the stretch, R Vaibhav left nothing to chance and built on his lead to drive Bonobo further ahead to shunt out Romantic Beauty who ended meekly - a good four lengths behind Bonobo. 

Oriental Masti (Glory of Dancer – Shaduf) improved well on his last start third to score a hard-fought victory. Double Diamond brought the field into the straight and soon Adams Prince took over. Oriental Masti worked his way up from the fifth spot to come alongside Adams Prince who was shaping well too. The duo battled every inch of the last furlong and towards the final couple of strides, Oriental Masti snatched the initiative to peg back Adams Prince and pull off a short-head victory. Polar Zone ran well within himself to pick up place money. Macho Uno covered a lot of ground to end in the frame, which looked improbable at the half-way stage.

Starring (Senure – Star Shine) finally ended her victory drought and earned her first winning bracket on her 9th attempt. Having gone so near on so many occasions, Starring, ridden by Dashrath Singh finally provided her connections the joy of leading her in and to heave a sigh of relief seeing her taste first blood. This time she got it all right as Dashrath settled her in the mid- bunch to surface at just the right moment. Desert Wings had taken over the running and was speeding towards the winning post when Starring came with a strong bid. Not one to cow down easily, Dersert Wings fought out the final furlong. However, Starring was travelling better towards the finish and one could spot that Desert Wings was fighting a losing battle. Run Like The Wind did well to finish third ahead of Matrioshka.

For the professionals, trainer Bezan Chenoy saddled a double, while jockeys A Sandesh and NS Parmar scored a brace each.