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By Mahendra Mallya | 13 Oct 2013 | PUNE

Jeremiah (S Zervan Up), winner of The Nanoli Stud Pune Derby (Gr.1)

Jeremiah (Jeremy – Acciacatura) looked a picture and there was no sign of any travel fatigue as he arrived in the paddock. He had made the journey to Hyderabad and returned triumphant in the Vijay Textiles Deccan Derby (Gr 1), just eleven days earlier. His trainer Pesi Shroff, no less a star himself, had stated soon after the Hyderabad victory, that Jeremiah is talented enough to take a crack at the McDowell Indian Derby (Gr1), the richest and most prestigious race of the land. Well, Jeremiah certainly substantiated his master’s faith with a superlative display of speed, stamina and temperament, sending a good bunch of fellow three-year-olds packing while winning the Nanoli Stud Pune Derby (Gr1) with absolute authority.

The famous roar from the overcrowded stands and lawns were in perfect sync with the clang of the gates. War Horse jumped into the lead as the battle for supremacy began at a nippy pace. Cactus Cash, Majestic Reward, Hawker and Bombardier were close behind the leader. Jeremiah and Falcon, the two top fancies were in the mid-field, with Circle of Life at the tail end, off the pace.

Zervan made the bold move in encouraging Jeremiah into the aggressive mode long before one would expect. Jeremiah obliged and switched gears in a trice to respond well to his jockey’s ploy. Majestic Reward, who had just taken up the running from the tiring War Horse and Cactus Cash, just couldn’t keep pace with the charging Jeremiah as Zervan cruised past to enter the straight at a cracking gallop.

Once into the homestretch, Zervan used his whip hand sparingly early in the straight that had Jeremiah bounding forward, piling up a huge lead, rendering his opponents hapless. Past the distance post Jeremiah was about eight lengths clear and well on his way to an emphatic victory. Circle of Life had too much to cover in the straight. She did gain ground to end second to her stable mate, indicating in the process, that she had it in her to strike it rich among the fillies’ Classics in Mumbai.  Celtic King showed marked improvement over his last run to nose out The Ministerian for the third spot. The Ministerian took the turn too wide and that may have cost him the third place.   

It was a moment of pride and joy for owners – M/s Haresh & Manav Mehta, representing Rohan Bloodstock Pvt Ltd, Mr Rakesh R Jhunjhunwalla, and Mr Jaydev Mody, representing JM Livestock Pvt Ltd, receiving a second Derby trophy within the fortnight. Members of the Dhunjibhoy family presented the prestigious trophy to the owners and the Breeders Memento to Sohna Stud represented by Mr Sultan Singh.

“A very happy moment for me personally as sponsor of the Nanoli Stud Derby,” said a delighted Mr KN Dhunjibhoy, Chairman of the RWITC and also the founder of the Nanoli Stud. The Club had geared up for the big event and seeing such a massive turn out is always so rewarding.  We had made sincere efforts in providing good facilities to the racing patrons and the newly commissioned food court, I am told, is well received and appreciated by the patrons. As a sponsor, we are now associated with the Pune Derby for 18 years now and we are keen to march on to a silver jubilee. I thank the IGCC too as the Oktoberfest does add-in with the celebration. The Nanoli Pune Derby and the Oktoberfest provide an ideal festive aura and is among the most popular events in Pune,” said Mr Dhunjibhoy.

The full-house crowd provided a standing ovation as Jeremiah paraded on the main track wearing the winner’s sash. They cheered Pesi Shroff and Zervan in particular as they received their respective trophies. “Jeremiah has lived up to expectations and has performed exceedingly well. He obviously is a candidate for the Mumbai Classics. I am sure there is room for improvement as he is still young and will get better as he matures,” said Pesi Shroff.

Jeremiah then, will get a well-deserved rest until Mumbai. He certainly is an extremely talented horse and a strong contender for the Classics ahead. This is the only time that a horse has won the Hyderabad Derby and the Pune Derby and Jeremiah has etched his name in the record books with back to back Derby triumphs in only his fifth start. Such credentials are rare and exemplary. And  he has just begun his career!