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By Mahendra Mallya | 25 Aug 2013 | PUNE

Mr Marthand Singh Mahindra & trainer Adhirajsingh Jodha (deputising for JS Dhariwal) leading Panamera (Fr Co F Dasilva Up), winner of The Threptin Fillies & Mares Stakes (Gr.3)

JS Dhariwal trained bay mare Panamera (Burden of Proof – Sans Egale) put up another forceful gallop and this time reaped a rich haul by winning the Threptin Fillies & Mares Stakes (Gr.3) warding off a late bid from Neona. The Kunigal Stud Farm produce, bred by the United Racing & Bloodstock Breeders Ltd and owned by Marthand Singh Mahindra in partnership with Zaheer F Rattonsey representing Hyperion Bloodstock Pvt Ltd, was up with the pace throughout and then capped it with a power-packed finish to land the prestigious race and pick up her first group race.  Panamera had been consistent all through her Bangalore campaign, but had missed converting her good efforts into winning ones. The shorter Pune straight did play a part as Neona wiped off considerable deficit in the final furlong and came threateningly close at the winning post.

Panamera was quick at the jump and jockey Franco DaSilva settle her in the front bunch. Neath made all the early running and set up a true pace for the race. Halle and Maple Star followed Neath close behind with Panamera staying in fourth spot for most of the journey. Neona and Song Dynasty came next with Auburn Beauty and Capital Attraction at the rear. Capital Attraction was slow at the start losing three to four lengths.

Neath guided them into the straight with Maple Star ready to pounce on the leader. Panamera understandably took the turn wide and soon jockey DaSilva gave her the go. Panamera whizzed past Maple Star even as the Karthik ward was shifting gears and stretched out nicely to build a handy lead. With Maple Star and Neath not gaining any ground, Panamera looked home and dry with a furlong to go. This is when Neona warmed up and started to bridge the two-length gap at a brisk pace. Panamera, however, looked in control right through as she kept the momentum going. Neona finished on well and ended a neck behind Panamera at the winning post.

Mrs Chandra Ruia did the presentation honours and owner Mr Marthand Mahindra proudly received the trophy. Trainer Adhirajsingh Jodha stood in for Mr Dhariwal and he had also saddled Panamera in the absence of the veteran trainer. Adhiraj also received the Breeders’ memento and a special cash award of Rs One Lakh that Threptin Brett & Co Ltd had announced to the breeder of the winner – United Racing & Bloodstock Breeders Ltd.   

Pitbull (Major Impact – Star Qualities) won the Dr SR Captain Trophy, the supporting event of the day. Pitbull had posted a runaway victory in the lower class last time out, yet was neglected in the betting. Pitbull was taking on a much tougher set of rivals and was available at 12 to 1. The betting trends reflected that there was no clear favourite. Catharsis and Sharaarat were the market fancies, but were quoted freely at around 4 to 1.

Pitbull darted out of the gates to grab the lead and had Victorious March for company. Catharsis was right behind them with Sharaarat galloping on the rails. As they turned for home, Pitbull gathered speed and Victorious March too stuck along to make a fight of it. The rest were down and out. Pitbull galloped on driven strongly by jockey S Sunil. Nikhil was hard at work on Victorious March and the pair battled out the entire stretch of the home straight. In the end, the more experienced Sunil managed to etch out a narrow win and guided Pitbull past the line with a neck to spare.

Circle Of Life (Singspiel – Dubai Spirit) was the raging hot favourite at 10 to 8 on and the Shroff trained filly obliged in a fashionable manner. She dominated the proceedings right from the first stride and encountered no challenge whatsoever in the homestretch. Jockey Imran Chisty had little to do as Circle of Life galloped smoothly to lead the five-horse field and set the pace. Domingo had dropped the rider while on his way to the gates and bolted. He was consequently withdrawn before the start.

Into the straight, Circle of Life accelerated gradually and kept extending the margin between herself and Indication. She was on a tight rein all through the straight. Circle of Life has shown tremendous improvement as she scored a very impressive maiden victory. She is certain to add a few more in the near future.

Majestic Reward (Arabian Gulf – Liesl) ran a lot better in the second half of the race to score an authoritative victory in the Class III Sonalika Plate, although the verdict showed a narrow 3/4 length victory. Favourite Mint Approach led most of the way but her clasp on the race loosened when it mattered most. She led the bunch with Relic Hunter and Josephine tracking her. Barringo galloped along the rails and then came Dreams R Mine and Majestic Reward. Majestic Reward took his time to find his rhythm and he did so soon on straightening up. He moved out of the rails and when jockey Dashrath Singh egged him on he charged ahead with vigour.

Barringo produced a speedy gallop past the distance post to floor Mint Approach and Josephine. He was racing towards the winning post when Majestic Reward arrived with a flourish to surge past and win in a convincing manner. To Barringo’s credit, he was giving six kilos to the winner and Barringo surely was a noteworthy second. Mint Approach failed to impress as she was completely outpaced.

Trainer HJ Antia combined with his stable-Jockey SP Ranjane to log a lucrative double. They first scored an impressive victory with Intesar (Placerville – Indistinto). The well-backed Intesar came alive right from the start as Ranjane drove her to the front and then sailed away to a runaway victory. The way Intesar accelerated in the straight was awesome, leaving the rest, including the tote favourite Sansani, no chance to recover. She bolted in with a fiery gallop and the race was over long way from home. Sansani ran on to end a faraway second, warding off Oriental Rocky who was breathing down the runner-up’s neck.

Antia-Ranjane struck again in the last race of the day with Ice Affair (Senure – Amazing Senorita). Jockey Ranjane made all the right moves and reaped the rewards for his astute handling. Ranjane deserves credit to have pulled off a well- ridden victory. Erotic Flame was in the lead with Starsonboard, Taj E Shahi and favourite Mahiki close behind. Ice Affair was making his run along the inner rails, well in touch with the leaders.

Erotic Flame surged further ahead once they turned for home and Starsonboard came up to challenge. Ice Affair was stuck on the rails and was looking for the gap to make his move. Ranjane waited patiently and showed no desperation at this crucial juncture. He kept Ice Affair ready to take the plunge, while still waiting behind and keeping to the rails. The moment Erotic Flame shifted out slightly, Ranjane fired in through the rails and got past Erotic Flame a few strides from the winning post to pull off a sensational victory. Erotic Flame ended a good second ahead of Staronboard and Mahiki.

Mykonos (Noverre – Land Ahead) romped home to a stylish start-to-finish victory without countering any resistance. Jockey P Kamlesh eased the Cooji Katrak ward into the lead and galloped at a brisk pace. Arch Duchess was not electric into her strides and lost position to be in contention. The race slipped rapidly away from Arch Duchess even more as Mykonos capitalized on her own quick start appreciably.

The firm favourite was even more aggressive in the straight. She raised her gallop and pulled away from her opponents with ease, dishing out a superb victory with minimum effort. Carlton House kicked on to retain his second spot and Arch Duchess ran on to run into the money.

The Sunderji camp pulled off a solid coup with Irene Sunderji owned Sombrero (Ace – Caractere). Sombrero was backed as if defeat was out of question and the chestnut gelding did not disappoint his large following. Dark Knight too had his share of backers and the pair commanded most of the betting share, Sombrero clearly the prime fancy.

The top-two market movers dominated the rest as Dark Knight got down to business right from the start. Sombrero moved in closer to the leader as they turned for home. Then began a battle that went right up to the wire. Dark Knight was trying to hold on to the early advantage with Sombrero applying constant pressure, looming large on the outside. Dark Knight offered stiff resistance, while Sombrero made his presence felt, inching closer with each stride. It was in the final fifty meters that Sombrero pounced on Dark Knight to snatch the race with a final dash that had the crowd screaming on their feet.   

Subhag Singh’s Perfect Strength (Mr Mellon – Zarzuela) finally scored a long due victory after a couple of serious performances lately. He was not in the best of positions early on as Stella galloped to open up a long lead along with Ashwa Yodhaa. These two dominated most of the journey leading by more than six lengths all the way to the turn. Favourite Carpe Diem was in third and Perfect Strength was even further behind.

Stella shot her bolt soon on turning for home as Ashwa Yodhaa grabbed the lead. Carpe Diem was already under pressure and was not getting anywhere close to the leader. Perfect Strength with TS Jodha working him up came on the scene past the distance post. When Perfect Strength found his touch, he finished on with a strong gallop to zip past Ashwa Yodhaa and score comfortably in the end.

For the professionals, trainer HJ Antia and jockey SP Ranjane scored a double each.