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By Mahendra Mallya | 15 Sep 2013 | PUNE

Trainer P Shroff leading Silver Arrow (Trevor Patel Up), winner of The Yana Trophy

Silver Arrow (Verglas – Isotta), owned by Dr Vijay Mallya and trained by Pesi Shroff, won the Yana Trophy in a common canter displaying raw speed, superlative temperament, and abundant potential. Sitting last of four and detached at that, Silver Arrow made light work of the small field which also had the promising Mint Approach, winner of two races in Mumbai in the ranks.

Word Of Honour faded out after leading most of the way. Mint Approach, Menage A Trois followed the leader while Silver Arrow ambled about three lengths away in the rear through the back stretch. At the business end however, Silver Arrow didn’t wait too long and before Mint Approach could even think of taking charge, Silver Arrow cruised past him and shot ahead and away at half throttle. The victory – Silver Arrow’s second from three outings, was most impressive and he certainly looks the prospect for the Indian Classics. Mint Approach met one better and will have to bide his time.

Glorious Reward (Mull of Kintyre – Glorious Breaker) owned by the Agashe family and trained by Imtiaz Sait came on with a glorious gallop to clinch the DNA Salver, the feature event of the day in a thrilling three-way finish. Glorious Reward got the start but and bunch of horses went past him and he found himself at the rear end of the front bunch relegating him down the order as seven to eight horses pounding past him. Antartica Zone was quick to dart ahead with State Of Head and Governnor in close pursuit. Gallant Lad and Paris were huddled together with Pretty Hot on the fence.

Antartica Zone led them homewards and was going well entering the straight. Neeraj Rawal weaved his way between horses and produced Glorious Reward in striking position at the turn, but had to constantly urge him early on. Gallant Lad moved up closer to the leader coming into straight and just when he began to launch his bid, Glorious Reward came along to challenge the two of them. Paris, whose odds saw considerable drift upwards, was galloping on behind them, but was not making much impact on the trio in front. Antartica Zone battled hard to stay afloat, but Glorious Reward was forceful in the finishing stages and caught the leader a few strides to the wire. Gallant lad had to switch lanes, and that made his task even more difficult. In the final outcome, he had to be content with the third place. Glorious Reward won clearly from a gritty Antartica Zone.

Paris did not improve as one would have thought she would, after being in a good position and may have needed this run. Pretty Hot needs watching as he had a troubled passage right through and when she broke free, she finished on well to end in the frame. Amaya too was seen improving towards the end and she pushed Paris further back to end one off the frame.

Trainer Narendra Lagad saddled a fine treble and his Emerald Valley (Emerald Cat – Classy Devil) showed out in a closely contested JE Hughes Trophy. Narendra Lagad has done exceptionally well keeping the grey gelding fit and consistent right through his career. Emerald Valley has figured on the judge’s frame 39 out of his 43 career starts and that’s no mean task. The six year old was a close last in the field of four until the home turn.

Saints N Sinners took charge early in the straight from initial leader So True and built a narrow lead. Emerald Valley soon dashed into second between the fancied Visionist and Stable mate So True. Within strides he bridged the gap and pounced on Saints N Sinners. The pair grappled briefly before Emerald Valley surged past the leader and scored her fifth career victory in a well-fought race. Visionist warmed up far too late to run on the haunches of runner-up Saints N Sinners.

Al Zamarud (Emerald Cat – Cristina) was gritty in fighting off a serious late threat that came from Midnight Lady. Al Zamarud galloped quickened early on turning for home as Fajr led them into the straight. Jockey Dashrath Singh seemed on his way guiding Al Zamarud to a popular victory and was well ahead coming into the final furlong. Midnight Lady then started to cover ground briskly and with fifty to go, she looked menacingly fast and the hot favourite did look in danger. However, Dashrath goaded him on and to the relief of the large followers, managed to stretch his neck out and ward off the stiff challenge. Fajr ran a good race too and did well to earn place money.

Naren picked up the last race of the day with his ‘signature’ upset. Samay Balwan (Inhabitant – Golden Collection). The market trends showed strong favour towards Mountain Wind who attracted all the last minute load, pushing Naren’s other contender Gloria to higher odds by the second. 

The lead rapidly changed hands as Domain Anna fell back after leading briefly and Mountain Wind took charge to lead them into the straight. San Rafael worked hard trying to take a shot at the leader but drifted out more than he should have. Samay Balwan surfaced with a scorching gallop approaching the distance post. The way he bounded forward blew the wind out of the supporters of Mountain Wind as Samay Balwan produced a terrific burst to sail past the favourite. Gloria then appeared with a noteworthy gallop and all but caught up with Samay Balwan. Thus Naren picked up the two top spots with Samay Balwan, although not out the reckoning, causing a genuine flutter, nevertheless.

Followers of favourites, however, had a fairly productive day as well, with most of the other races resulting in fancied horses coming through unscathed. After Silver Arrow, the other on-money favourite was Autumn Rush (Viking Ruler – Rihla). The Faisal Abbas trained mare also won in a canter and showed her superiority right from the start.

Jockey CS Jodha who is showing fine form and reliability this season, kept the mare in check as he eased her into the lead soon on start. Tropical Zone and Starry Ocean were in chase with the rest including Blush following the front runners. Autumn Rush increased her lead substantially at the turn and the moment she straightened up, she looked the winner. She galloped away strongly to draw out of reach of her hapless rivals and piled on a huge lead within moments in the straight. Starry Ocean ran on to finish runner-up too far behind. Blush made a little progress to take the third spot.

Bezan Chenoy’s Sunshine Heart (Placerville – Rhama) owned By Dr Tarita Shankar & Chetan Wakalkar was another heavily backed favourite that obliged. However, Sunshine Heart did cause her backers some heart pounding moments before sending them into a lung-expanding scream of triumph.

With Captain Smart fading away at the turn, Wild Imagination looked solid as Dashrath Singh powered him to the lead and kept a good momentum going. Sunshine Heart began his quest for victory soon and apprentice jockey Nikhil with no whip had a task on hand. The lad gave it his all and pushed with all his might. Arabian Lord then started to come on the scene from the outside and a new threat was looming large. Wild Imagination was not slowing down a bit and Nikhil had to make the effort to get past. It looked touch and go until the final few strides and Nikhil managed to forge ahead with Sunshine Heart with Arabian Lord breathing down his neck.

Pesi Shroff trained Mufasa (Glory of Dancer – City Tamer) owned by M/s Kishore Dingra, Mohan Chattaram & G Sewakramani pulled off a sensational short-head victory. Leading right from the start, with Zoltan in close attendance, Mufasa stepped on it soon on turning for home. Hail the King, the tote favourite wriggled out of the rails and started covering ground, catching up with Mufasa with every stride. Jockey Joy Chinoy was vigorously prodding Mufasa on and the bay gelding was fighting on to the hilt. Kamlesh atop Hail the King was hard at work as well as he was sensing victory getting closer to Mufasa steadily. Burn, who fell back a couple of length past the 800 meter-mark, was also finishing on. After a pulsating last few strides, Mufasa held on narrowly to win from Hail the King and Burn finished a close third.

The day began well for the punters with jockey Malcolm Kharadi guiding the well supported Walk of Life to a narrow victory in the first race. The race came to a boil once they turned for home with Flying Kiss quick to surge into the lead. Soon, Walk of Life began his chase and Malcolm rode out confidently to inch closer. Chandrakant atop Flying Kiss was doing his best and hoping to hold on with the winning post in sight. Walk of Life however, crushed that hope as he swooped upon the leader to snatch a half length verdict in the nick of time.

For the professionals, trainer Narendra Lagad emerged tops with three winners, which could have easily been five as Flying Kiss and Wild Imagination held on for just a stride more. Pesi Shroff, back to office within 48 hours of the family’s bereavement, did commendably well sending out a double. Dashrath Singh was the lone jockey to score a double.