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By Mahendra Mallya | 14 Sep 2013 | PUNE

Mr. Sarosh M. Mody & trainer Imtiaz A Sait leading Majestic Reward (Dashrath Singh Up), winner of The Amarilo Plate

The battle for supremacy between two top jockeys is heading for a pulsating finish and the season is only just past midway. Sandesh (sitting on 25 wins), who had scored five winners in a single day last week and was heading the tally comfortably, is now just one ahead as Dashrath recovered some ground by winning three races on Saturday. The fight has begun and the finish is expected to be lively as jockey CS Jodha (17 winners) is not too far behind either. 

Dashrath Singh struck his first winning partnership with hot favourite You’re The Boss (Papal Bull – Heather Heath). Here he didn’t have to work too hard on this one as the Narendra Lagad trained You’re The Boss hit the front right from the start and once into the straight, stretched out ably to finish the contest long way from home. Superlicious ran on to end a faraway second and Santa Barabara finished on well to take the third spot. An objection for the minor place by Trevor against Neeraj Rawal for cutting across was unnecessary and was overruled in quick time.

Dashrath Singh’s second for the day came astride another favourite – Majestic Reward (Arabian Gulf – Liesl) and this took some effort in keeping a couple of challengers at bay. Falco Nero made all the initial running and entered the straight with Majestic Reward on his tail. Falco Nero resisted before Majestic Reward got the better of him but stuck on fighting all the way. In the final 100 meters of so, Capital Attraction appeared from the rear and was finishing on with a lot of steam. Dashrath rode out hard and managed to stem the new challenger’s bid, and held on by ¾ lengths. This was the second victory back to back this season for the Imtaiz Sait trained Majestic Reward. 

Dashrath scored his third victory with another Imtiaz trainee Ultrasonic (Phoenix Tower – La Moreleja) in the penultimate race of the day. The finish looked interesting in this open race as favourite Gates of Heaven, Ice Affair the two top fancies entered the straight with top weighted Song of Sparrow and Ultrasonic looking for a rail run. Ice Affair darted to the front and in doing so shifted in sharply. Gates of Heaven may have been slightly inconvenienced, but the favourite had all the chance to make a serious bid. Ice Affair surged to what seemed a comfortable lead and looked course to pull it off past the distance post. However, just as Ice Affair was being hailed by his supporters, Ultrasonic shifted out and came with a singeing gallop to overwhelm Ice Affair close home. Ultrasonic was looking fitter and sharper than during her last outing.

Trainer Altaf Hussain would have heaved a sigh of relief as Divine Solitaire (Mull of Kintyre – Fall of the Hammar) provided him that much needed first success. He had previously seen several of his wards end an agonizing second this season and Divine Solitaire broke the jinx for the trainer. Jockey Trevor had to work his way initially as Divine Solitaire took a while to focus on the job at hand. One good early crack and constant urging got him going and Trevor soon settled into the third spot behind Affirmation and Zaagros, with Javelin alongside towards the inner rails.

Affirmation led them into the straight and was beginning to quicken when Divine Solitaire started to cover ground. Trevor was making an all out effort and Divine Solitaire responded with a game gallop although he took his time. Once he got past Affirmation, Divine Solitaire lunged forward and sped away to win comfortably. Zaagros ran on to take the second spot from Affirmation.

Two hot favourites failed to justify the cramped odds. Intesar let his large followers down right at the start. He was sluggish and slow into the stride on the jump. Apprentice jockey Prasad then brushed Intesar up to get to the front bunch, thereby spending a lot in the early part of the race. Starsonboard and Invincible began the battle for the lead and were going stride for stride in the final furlong. Intesar had little left and faded away. In the closing stages, trainer Adhirajsingh Jodha’s Invincible (Mr Mellon – Strike It Rich) got the better of Starsonboard and earned a well-fought victory. Here again there was an objection (second against winner) which had little merit and was expectedly overruled.

Jockey R.Vaibhav who rode Invincible to victory scored a double with Adhiraj Singh trained Oriental Rocky (Glory of Dancer-Shaduf) in the lower division of the Pegasus Plate. The 3 year old bay gelding was held in check in about fifth position early and started to make headway around the horses to get to a striking third behind Burgundy Rose and Sun Salutation as they approached the final turn. On the straight Oriental Rocky got stronger and went ahead to the lead inside the last furlong to score its maiden win. Sun Salutation improved towards the closing stages to beat Burgundy Rose for the second place.

Dark Knight was the other on money favourite to go down. He jumped out well and was the front runner along with Blind Date and Warrior Prince with Nevada (Oath – Mount Rose) lurking around close behind. Dark Knight and Blind Date came in with Warrior Prince looking to slip in through the rails. Warrior Prince got cramped for room as Dark Knight moved inward. Dark Knight then went all out and stretched away from Blind Date and Warrior Prince however, rank outsider Nevada, trained by Don Surti and ridden by apprentice jockey Mosin came up with a spirited run to overwhelm Dark Knight in the final fifty and caused a sizable flutter.  

Rehanullah Khan’s Pepe Senior (Gaswar – Sangam) galloped to a stylish victory in the day’s opening race. Settling in third behind leader Pezzonovante and Pretty in Patpong, Pepe Senior forged ahead soon on turning for home. Jockey Nirmal Jodha waited with Pepe Junior until well into the straight and when he began to urge Pepe Junior the chestnut gelding unleashed a terrific gallop to draw away and win by a widening margin. Pezzonovante ran on to end second, while favourite Vaile Rouge ended a tame third. Polar Zone who was languishing in the last position until the straight picked up in the last furlong to end in the frame.

Pappillon (Razeen – Romantic Alliance) earned his first winning bracket with a fluent win to claim the E d’Avoine Trophy. The well-backed gelding from trainer Hosidar Daji’s yard settled into the fourth position as Ashwa Yodha called the early shots. Pappillon made his bid early as at the final curve and brushed up to surge into the lead turning for home. Once in the lead, Pappillon dominated all the way and none from the rear made any impact on the winner. Jockey Kamlesh looked back while winning handsomely. He won with a lot in hand and can repeat if placed judiciously.

H.J.Antia trained One Wish (China Visit-Flowersoftheforest) literarily sported a pair of wings while downing the favourite Archimedes in the shadow of the winning post. Hay Day and Archimedes moved away from the rest of the field on entering the home stretch and the latter travelled better to build up a good lead. Archimedes looked good in front of the grand stand but One Wish appeared from out of the blue under apprentice Prasad to the surprise and shock of everyone to flash past Archimedes and snatch the verdict by half a length. Hay Day finished third.

For the professionals jockey Dashrath Singh scored a treble while trainers Adhiraj Singh, Imtiaz Sait and jockey R.Vaibhav scored a brace each.