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By Mahendra Mallya | 18 Oct 2013 | PUNE

Silver Arrow (Trevor Patel Up), winner of The Jonty Rhodes Plate

As the Pune Meeting 2013 gallops closer to the finish, the pro-championship for the season comes into play. While jockey A Sandesh has sealed the issue, trainers Pesi Shroff, Dallas Todywalla and Narendra Lagad with 24, 23 and 20 wins respectively (up to race no 230), are heading for a close finish. The final outcome will be something juicy to wait for during the final week, which is round the corner.

Dr Vijay Mallya owned Silver Arrow (Verglas – Isotta) kept his date with victory duly compiling a hat-trick between Mumbai & Pune. In both his starts this season in Pune, the Shroff trained grey gelding merely cantered his way to fashionable victories. This time though, there was a wee bit of apprehension, as Running Sun and Zakynthos tried the runaway tactics, which has been proven effective more than once this season, (recall 10 to 1 shot Roswald & Allegiance at even longer odds). The pair amassed a huge lead through the backstretch, going at a good clip. Zakynthos went even further ahead leaving Running Sun behind past the 1000 m mark.

Jockey P Trevor astride Silver Arrow was however, unperturbed and waited patiently knowing that the bubble would soon burst. Mon Ami and Suma were close behind the hot favourite. By the time Zakynthos entered the straight, Silver Arrow had moved to the second spot and within three or four lengths behind the leader. Silver Arrow then surged ahead effortlessly and it was all class from there on. He passed the tiring Zakynthos on a tight rein and drew away from them all striding majestically to his a subtly dominating victory. There sure was a lot more in Silver Arrow and he is right on course for bigger success in Mumbai.

Mon Ami was aggressive in the final finish and he gained good ground to snatch the second spot from Sumo who had until the last stride looked set to follow the grey home.

KN Dhunjibhoy and Bergis Desai owned Gerome (Choisir – Kobalt Sea) was another winner on the day who was smooth, rhythmic and a delight to watch. The Shyam Habbu ward was out of the gates and into the lead. Jockey Zervan set his own tone for the nine-furlong race and let the others believe that they could catch him. Hail The King, Honest Pleasure, Fortune Favours, Highraz and Cypress Point followed him closely in a tight bunch. Well, only until the home turn.

Gerome strode out in the straight and worked up remarkable acceleration without Zervan looking too busy. He didn’t look as though he was attempting to have a go at the track-record. Zervan nursed him to an effortless victory and this guy Gerome glided to victory in an impressive manner. Fortune Favours found one too good and resigned to take the runner-up spot ahead of Honest Pleasure.  The well-supported second in demand HIghraz never raised any hope. Highraz looked out of touch and will take her time getting into the groove.  

Trainer Hormuz Antia’s Ice Age (Noverre – Asalib) owned by the Wadhawan group, scored a resounding victory making every post a winning one. Sandesh had no trouble getting Ice Age going at the start and they shot into the lead and never looked back. Star Benevolent had received last minute support but lost out by drifting out towards the stand side and could not even place. It was Ice Age all the way and once she turned for home she galloped straight as an arrow, bounding forward showing fine acceleration and eventually outclassing her opponents altogether, clocking a nippy 1:10:70 for the six-furlong race. Calyso Queen ran on to finish second. Stolen Relic ran a prominent third warding off the fast finishing Miracle of Mercy and Star Benevolent, the latter ending up on the outer sand.

Antia missed with Ice Skater but made up for it with Ice Empire (Black Cash – Vivienne) in the penultimate race of the day. This one looked almost like an action replay of Ice Age’s win. Only, Ice Empire had to get past Song of Sparrow and Trump Card to hit the front and he took a few strides doing so.

Once into the lead, Ice Empire too quickened at the turn and went tearing away from the rest. Que Sera Sera worked hard to make a race of it. He improved positions and landed inside three lengths of Ice Empire. Song of Sparrow held on to place money with King Julien filling the frame.

Trainer Dallas Todywalla chipped in with a victory late in the day with top fancy Brindaban romping home in style. The Nandas-owned Brindaban (Placerville – Yutai) found no match as she too won with minimum effort and zero threat.

Jockey Kamlesh ensured that Brindaban eased into the lead and settled her well with Earth Tamer and Champakali close alongside. Negredo kept a close watch on the trio with Mateus Rose and the others following the front bunch.

Once into the straight, Brindaban took off at good speed and shook off the ones on her tail to draw away and score a facile victory. Mateus Rose improved considerably to end chasing the superior winner, while Matter of Heart came from further back to take the place money ahead of Nicanora.

Trainer Rehanullah Khan enjoyed a well-backed double with Viva Capri and Lightening Thunder who was a lot better on value for money at fours than the former who was backed at evens.

Viva Capri (Oath – Woldingham) was ably handled by Sandesh who played his part well in ensuring that the favourite put in his best and prove a worthy investment.  He settled the Aziz Jaffer owned filly third behind Laurus Tikati and Quando Quando who were at the helm until the turn.

Sandesh then began to ride out and Viva Capri responded with a game gallop that saw her go into the lead and then further accelerate to steer clear of any possible threat. Adams Prince made headway in the final furlong to bag the second spot. Quando  Quando tried hard to place but a rerun from Laurus Tikati put paid his effort.

Rehan’s Lightening Thunder (Ace – Sky Rocket) lived up to the promise of her recent runs and scored her maiden victory in her 12th outing. She earned victory alright as she had to find her way between horses to make a final successful bid. Mesmeric had taken over from early leader Nigella and put in a spirited run approaching the distance post. Nigella and Mesmeric were in front of Lightening Thunder with Star Gazing joining the bunch.

With under a furlong to go, jockey Zervan poked through a narrow split and set Lightening Thunder alight to time his final run to perfection. Lightening Thunder managed to snatch the lead from a determined Mesmeric to etch out a half-length victory. Indiscrete came flying towards the end and finished a noteworthy third, close up with the winner.

Altaf Hussain had a profitable day as well as two from his yard returned victorious. Sansani (Juniper – Alma Latina) looked fit for the fray in the paddock and did garner some support of those who picked her paddock looks.

Sindbaad brought the field home and was soon gave in to Ace of Heart and Sansani. Jockey Trevor then put  Sansani in top gear and the Dr Tarita and Wakalkar owned filly quickened instantly to pull away from the others. Ace of Heart ran on to deny Zille Ilahi the second spot. The latter progressed through the rails but ended a tame third.

Super Satin (Black Cash – Rising High) owned by Kishore Dingra and partners, pulled off a hard fought victory and Trevor did well to get the maximum out of the filly. The fight began soon on turning for home as Sun Salutation once again threw the towel in after raising some hope at the top of the straight. Summer Eclipse darted into the lead and had a slight upper hand when Super Satin arrived to challenge. The duo were engaged in a neck and neck fight with Super Satin gaining with each stride. Trevor managed to wriggle free and moved ahead in sight of the winning post and registered a convincing victory. Summer Eclipse was a gallant runner up. Mention must also be made of Dark Knight who flew in towards the end to pitch in with his good effort and finishing alongside the top two.

The Haresh & Manav Mehta owned Incentio (Diffident – Orient Dance) from SK Sunderji’s yard pulled off a major upset. Favourite Ice Skater did his best but failed to collar the rank outsider. Incentio led all the way into the straight with top fancies You’re The Boss and Ice Skater breathing down his neck. Jockey Vikram Jodha astride Incentio showed resolve and determination to egg Incentio on. You’re The Boss was the first to blink. Ice Skater moved to second with a little more than a furlong to go and began his bid to topple the leader. Incentio was ridden out stubbornly and an all out effort from Ice Skater went in vain as Incentio never loosened his grip, galloping on to win fetching a whopping return of Rs 332 for a tenner.  

For the professionals, trainers Altaf Hussain, Rehanullah Khan and HJ Antia saddled a double each. Jockey P Trevor was the pro of the day scoring a fine treble while Sandesh and Zervan rode out a double each.