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By Mahendra Mallya | 26 Oct 2013 | PUNE

Mr Vijay B. Shirke & Mr K. N. Dhunjibhoy leading Onassis (S Zervan Up), winner of The Irish Thoroughbred Marketing & Goffs R.W.I.T.C.Ltd Gold Cup (Gr.2)

Onassis lent credence to the popular phrase – ‘Class is Permanent’ in a defining manner while winning the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing & Goffs RWITC Gold Cup (Gr2), the feature event on Saturday’s card at Pune. The dark bay gelding, owned by M/s Vijay Shirke, KN Dhunjibhoy and FK Ratonsey, was brilliant in his finish and left his younger and mighty opponents Ocean and Beyond and An Acquired Taste panting to win  the prestigious race with a fair measure of comfort. What made his performance even more commendable was that he came off a lay off to beat illustrious opponents with surprising ease, to gallop to his 10th career victory and pick up his 6th group race.

Supreme Star found himself in front and he set a steady pace for the mile and quarter trip. Master Shifu was in second with the two top fancies An Acquired Taste and Ocean and Beyond right up with the pace. Onassis settled down the tightly packed field, biding his time, but never too far from the leaders. Astapi was tardy at the start and tailed the field.

Supreme Star entered the straight with a slender lead with Master Shifu tagging along. An Acquired Taste made his move from the outside and Ocean and Beyond desperately looking for a clear passage. Onassis picked up momentum and arrived with a blazing gallop through the middle. He collared Supreme Star approaching the distance post and jockey Zervan packed a punch in driving Onassis ahead using the whalebone sparingly as the Pesi Shroff-trained Onassis galloped away fluently to keep Ocean and Beyond at bay. An Acquired Taste ended a close third. Clinton did well to peg back Supreme Star to claim a slot in the frame.

The Coolmore Million was the supporting event and an interesting line up of nine three-year-olds went to post. Dynamo was the prime fancy but he had his task cut out facing a good bunch of rivals. Dynamo gradually improved to sail into the lead and headed the field going past Mint Approach and Quest for Love. Indian Touch, Rosie Sunshine and Victoria Falls were in the mid-bunch with Kuekenhof and Remember Me following close behind.

Dynamo led them into the straight and was going well. Mint Approach and Indian Touch were not finding enough. Kuekenhof was warming up nicely and was responding well to jockey CS Jodha’s call. Remember Me made his bid from the wide outside. Dynamo was fighting hard to hold on to his lead when Kuekenhof gathered speed in the final furlong. Once in top gear, Kuekenhof (Multidimensional – Secret Garden) zipped past Dynamo to clinch the issue in the final 100 meters. Remember Me too was impressive in his finish and he did extremely well to beat Dynamo and take the runner up spot.  Kuekenhof , owned by Dr SC Jain, Mr Rohit Patel, Mr Chetan Shah& Mr Atul Amersey and trained by Imtiaz Sait looks a good prospect and is well worth following in Mumbai.

Trainer Dallas Todywalla sealed his championship title sending out three winners from his stables. He started the day on a winning note with his charge Star Force (Ace – Hermans Honor)striking  in the first race of the day. Hot favourite Paris was quick at start and led the field all the way into the straight. Miss behave and Magic Vision were up close with the leader, with Umarkot and Star Force right behind them. Aqua Aria veered in sharply at the early stages and was detached from the front bunch along with Cliffs of Moore.

Paris failed to quicken once they turned for home and soon had Umarkot and Star Force gaining on her. Umarkot and Star Force then matched strides and galloped past Paris to fight it out in the final furlong. They battled hard and eventually Star Force owned by the Villoo Poonawalla Racing Syndicate, managed to squeeze out a narrow victory. Jockey Shrikant Kamble rode a forceful race to etch out a victory in a thrilling finish.

Dallas struck again in the third race with the Nozer Panthaky & Talati owned Curiosity (Glory of Dancer – Obelinna). This one was another humdinger as both Curiosity and Other Song put up a brilliant fight in the final stages of the race. Mega Star led them into the straight and soon handed the lead to Universal Joy and Cornelian too looking in contention. However, Other Song made a strong bid as she surged ahead of the duo. Curiosity with Sandesh in the saddle took the split between horses and produced a powerful gallop. Other Song had a very slight edge but Curiosity managed to wrest the issue and nosed out Other Song on the wire.

Dr Vijay Mallya owned Silver Streak (Verglas – Optimal) displayed dazzling speed as he humbled favourite Senora Bella, completely outpacing her and the others with a delightful finish. In the Limelight brought the field homewards with Catharsis in tow as they straightened up. Senora Bella made her bid from the outside and looked good when she went for the lead. Silver Streak was shaping up well coming from the middle and soon joined the favourite with a furlong to go. The rest were nowhere near as the two Mallya owned runners fought it out. Silver Streak stretched out powerfully in the final 100 meters to draw away from Senora Bella to score an impressive victory. Mighty King ran on to take the place money. Charlotte Ray caught the eye while emerging from the dead-last position to run in and finish in the judge’s frame.

Trainer Cooji Katrak too fared well sending out two winners from his yard both partnered by his stable jockey P Kamlesh. Montreal (Phoenix Tower – Anmol) owned by Maloji Bhosle and Tinder Ahluwalia, provided an encore and his victory this time was even more emphatic. He was not in the most prominent position as they wheeled around the corner as La Traviata, Menage A Trois and Insignia were at the helm coming into the straight, with favourite Mauna Kea in fourth, but showing no sign of picking up from there.

Insignia shook the two off her back and went into the lead soon on turning for home. With Muana Kea struggling to make an impact, Montreal came into prominence. He quickened in a trice and within a couple of strides, Montreal collared Insignia and bounded forward with a steamy gallop. Montreal looked the winner the moment he improved to one behind Insignia and powered his way to a stylish victory. Su O Moto kicked on gamely to beat Insignia for the second spot. Muana Kea ended a tame fourth, without raising any hope.

Katrak then saddled Mr Vachha’s Mykonos (Noverre – Land Ahead) who also scored his second victory on the trot. Kamlesh settled Mykonos in the mid-bunch as She’s Sweet hit the front soon on start. Rein in Spain took charge briefly soon on the homestretch, but Mykonos produced a sizzling run to soon shut her opponents out and run away to her second career victory from three starts. She was all alone in front and justified the overwhelming support she attracted based on her last start victory. She piled on a massive lead and won easing up. Warrior Prince caught the eye too as he finished on well to beat the others. Basic Life too impressed while beating Rein in Spain for place money.

Moon Raker (Juniper – Supercal) owned by Mr Rajesh Monga and saddled by SK Sunderji lived up to his last run promise and won without causing anxiety to his backers, except perhaps at the initial stages of the race. Moon Raker was far down the field as Sydney took charge early on with Zoltan and Santa Barbara in third.

Jockey P Trevor was constantly urging Moon Raker to improve positions and at the turn Moon Raker was not too far behind the trio in front. Into the straight, Sydney didn’t look too convincing and before long Moon Raker caught up with them all. Trevor didn’t have to give it all as Moon Raker devoured ground at a brisk pace to draw away to win in a convincing manner. Santa Barbara ran on to finish second. 

Oriental  Rocky (Glory of Dancer – Shaduf) owned by Mr Anil & Chandrika Bodani come up with a dramatic run in the last part of the race to stun the fighting pair of Muntasir and Ticker Tape Parade. The race looked firmly between Muntasir and Ticker Tape Parade as the pair took over from Brown Dynamite and Stormy Day soon on turning for home. Oriental Rocky was not in the picture until the final 150 meters. He came with a flourish under the handling of jockey R Vaibhav and stunned the fighting duo with a power-packed finish. Muntasir was looking a little soft in the paddock and will strip much fitter after this race. However, he showed that his maiden success is not too far.

Ice Skates (Mr Mellon – Star Pride) scored a resounding win and showed out in the large 22-horse field. The Antia trained bay gelding owned by the Wadhawan Group towered over the rest right from the word go.

Ice Skates worked up dazzling speed and shot ahead from the wider draw to lead the field and pile on a handsome distance turning for home. Once they turned for home, Ice Skates, ridden by S Mosin accelerated even further to stretch his lead all the way and score a runaway victory with awesome ease. Windsor Queen tried hard to close the gap but just couldn’t match the winner. Palace Girl improved towards the end to end faraway second with Be Cool  ending in the money.

For the professionals, trainer Dallas Todywalla collected a fine treble, Cooji Katrak along with jockeys A Sandesh and P Kamlesh scored a double each.