- india's first & foremost horse racing portal


By Mahendra Mallya | 31 Aug 2013 | PUNE

To The Manor Born (Neeraj Rawal Up), winner of The General Rajendrasinhji Million

To The Manor Born lived up to the high expectations and duly won the feature event, the General Rajendrasinhji Million warding off a late challenge from The Ministerian thereby heralding her chances for the obvious next target – the Nanoli Pune Derby. On a day that saw fancied horses emerge victorious, one jockey stood out with his performance. Jockey Sandesh, who is in sublime form, continued his winning streak, returning the most successful pro for the day. He also wrested back the lead Dashrath Singh had snatched from him last week in the jockeys’ tally. With these four wins, Sandesh is now perched at the top with 19 winners so far this season against Dashrath’s 18.

To The Manor Born (Royal Kingdon – Mandara), owned by Mr SM Ruia and Amay Ruia,  was making a first appearance on the Pune track.  She was also taking on three main rivals Amistad, Hawker and The Ministerian, who had all logged a victory each in the current season.  Yet the Noshir Cama trained filly received the maximum support in the ring, opening at 2/1 and closing around 7/4 against.

Hawker took over the running from Shygirl soon on settling down with Ghanghorr close behind. Amistad was up next and had To The Manor Born a couple of lengths behind and The Ministerian tailed the field of six until the home turn.

The serious action began at the turn when Hawker quickened for home. Ghanghorr, who was right next, could not match up and faded away as did Shygirl. Jockey Neeraj Rawal found his passage between horses and got To The Manor Born closer to Hawker.  Amistad was right on her tail on the wider outside and looked in contention at that point. The Ministerian was still last of all. It didn’t take too long for Neeraj to get the measure of Hawker and he sailed into the lead approaching the final furlong. Amistad was all out but was not finding enough to make an impact on the favourite. The Ministerian was warming up and starting to bridge the gap. Neeraj was well in control, however, he did give his filly a couple of corrective cracks and that was enough to see them through. The Ministerian finished on with a good gallop to end on the haunches of the winner. Amistad ended a length away, just managing to pip Hawker for the third. 

Former member of the managing committee and Chairman of the Board of Appeal of the Club, Mr FH Tapia did the presentation honours. Young Mr Amay Ruia received the trophy with double joy as To The manor Born was also bred at the Ruia-owned Equus Stud Farm. Soon after the presentation, the Chairman of the RWITC, Mr KN Dhunjibhoy launched the new website of the Indian Stud Book, along with his colleagues. Mr Zavaray Poonawalla popped the Champagne to celebrate the moment.

The day certainly belonged to jockey Sandesh. He started off on the right note guiding Speed Up (Alnasr Alwasheek – Queen of Swords) to a well-earned victory. Favourite Winds of Change led briefly before dropping to the third position behind Winchester and Polar Zone. Speed up was in touch with the front bunch along with Thunder Star, Jaipur Gem and To The Moon.

Sandesh bounded forward soon on turning for home and looked in command as he forged ahead in the final furlong to score a facile victory. To The Moon made a final dash to peg back Polar Zone for the runner-up slot. Jaipur Gem ended a faraway fourth.

Sandesh next put his breeches on to partner My Freedom (Ikhtyar – Matinee) in the fourth race, a five-furlong scurry for maiden three-year-olds. The ante-post favourite barely maintained that status as the odds drifted to 9/4 and matched closely with the 5/2 offered on Gran Aimgo.  The race, true to the betting trends, stayed confined to the top two fancies right from the outset.

My Freedom shot into the lead and Gran Amigo set about in chase keeping within touching distance from the favourite. This pair was comfortably ahead of Express and Mambo Magic as they turned for home.  My Freedom started to accelerate further on straightening for home when Gran Amigo came to pose a serious challenge. Jockey Vaibhav did his best but could only get alongside My Freedom momentarily, but could never manage to head the Dallas Todywalla ward. My Freedom drew away in the last 100 meters to score his maiden victory with ease. Tempest covered good ground to end in the money.

Sandesh’s next conquest was atop lesser fancied Edwina (Byron – Lenwade) from trainer MK Jadhav’s yard. This was a tight bunch with many in the fray in with realistic chances. Sandesh tactically stole a march soon on jumping out and kept Edwina on the bit all the way into the straight. Once in, Sandesh ensured he had a handy lead and opened the filly just at the right juncture to kick on all the way. Bourbon Street was in a good position at the turn but could not find much to make a race of it. Ice Empire improved to cover good ground but only to take the runner up slot. Petite Fleur was the one to note. She was way too far for the distance, yet managed to finish on a close third. King Julien too bears watching as he too clustered in, in the judge’s frame. 

Sandesh capped his grand day with a fluent win astride hot favourite Haunting Moments (Placerville – Amber Windsor) from trainer Karthik’s yard. Keeping up with the pace alongside leader Ice Beauty, Sandesh settled the Dr MAM Ramaswamy owned filly on a tight rein right through. He eased her into the lead at the turn and the filly bounded forward effortlessly. She had amassed a healthy lead early in the straight and just one little tap from Sandesh saw Haunting Moments gliding to victory with a fair measure of comfort. Lightening Thunder ran on to finish a good second. Macho Uno did well to finish in the money. Haunting Moments is sure to improve further and may well be worth following in her next outing as well.

Jockey Dashrath Singh chipped in with a victory partnering Narendra Lagad trained Titleist (Eemrald Cat – Savoy) in an exciting finish. The speedy Celsius shot into the lead and a tight packed bunch followed her closely. Titleist was ninth out of the ten runners with only Star Zone behind him. Dashrath was sticking to the inner rails most of the way and shifted out considerably at the turn to avoid the jam. Celsius looked on course to score as those nearest to him – Rising Angel, Domain Anna and Mumbai King were struggling to catch up. Titleist came swooshing down on them all and flew past Celsius to thrill his good number of backers. What made it more enthralling is that he came from a difficult position and posted a fairly authoritative victory.

Earth Tamer (Black Cash – Tiddly Widdly) from HJ Antia’s yard, scored a narrow win to the relief of her large number of backers. The on-money favourite on a start to finish mission did just enough to hold on from a late threat from Miracle of Mercy. As they entered the straight, Earth Tamer first encountered a challenge from Al Zamarud. The favourite, ridden confidently by SP Ranjane thwarted the threat successfully and headed for the winning post. Miracle of Mercy then launched an all out attack and Ranjane was tested yet again. He worked on the gelding and stayed ahead with some hard and determined riding, not allowing Miracle of Mercy to barge into his party. Ranjane rode well and kept up his winning momentum that has found this season.

The Zafayona Plate, the second race of the day was declared null and void due to a false start.