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By Mahendra Mallya | 17 Aug 2014 | PUNE

Trainer Karthik Ganapathy leading War Command (A Sandesh Up), winner of The F.D. Wadia Trophy (Gr.2)

Prime Fancy War Command (Ace –Sure Future) owned by Dr MAM Ramaswamy and trained by Karthik G, obliged a large following as he thrilled them all with a solid start to finish essay. The long striding colt made good use of his reach and the take-jump-hit-front tactics suited his style. Staring at the lush open turf in front, Sandesh dictated the terms of the race right from the first stride. 

Polydences set about in chase but could only do so until the final turn. The rest followed the ‘commander’ in a close bunch with Jack Frost and Zodiac bringing up the rear.

War Command came into the homestretch with a handy two-length lead and marched on past the 400 m marker. What bodes well for War Command is that he did not lug out in the straight as he has done in the past. He kept a strong gallop going to win the Grade II Wadia Trophy causing no anxiety to his followers despite winning with a rather narrow margin.

Polydences, who followed the winner all the way into the straight, went out like a bulb and finished a poor last. Solomon looked half-baked and he looked a touch gross in the paddock as well. He certainly needed the run and should strip much fitter in his next. Zodiac was the surprise package. He was last for the first half of the race and then had to make his run a lot wider, even when taking the final turn. Zodiac showed a lot of speed and added pep to the finish, running War Command Close. He has now played the ‘Best Man’ in both his outings; however, he should come out of the maiden ranks soon.    

Sandesh continued accumulating wins adding scoring in two other races to close the day with a fine treble. He started the day on a winning note partnering favourite Mykonos (Noverre – Land Ahead) to a fighting win, putting it across Rajsamman who was threatening to run away with the race.

Rajsamman showed good early speed to rush into the lead with Celsius and Mykonos in close attendance. Remember Me was slightly ahead of Brindaban and Brave Vision stayed at the tail end.

Rajsamman kicked further ahead in the straight and was working up a fine rhythm. Both Celsius and Mykonos were being urged hard. Remember Me was covering ground, but Brindaban looked listless, not a patch on his last start performance. Out in front, Rajsamman still held sway inside the final furlong, but the tiny gap that he left on the rails was enough for Sandesh to power through and he goaded Mykonos to produce that last ditch effort. Mykonos obliged and lunged forward to collar Rajsamman a couple of strides from the winning post to win by a neck.

Sandesh pulled off another start-to-finish success astride Simply Divine (Ace – Vindication), benefitting from Trevor’s folly of going for a tempting but highly risky gap between Alfredo and Remarkables at a crucial juncture, at the mouth of the homestretch. Trevor’s worst nightmare came true as the already narrow gap closed, causing him to check Satellite and skirt around, by which time Simply Divine had skipped away to a winning lead. Satellite swerved out and made a desperate dash, but Sandesh had by then, had driven home the advantage and scored a tactical victory. But for that hitch, Satellite would surely have had a successful debut. Although she went down on her debut, Set Alight’s first born is a well conformed individual and should make her mark soon.

Shania (Top Class – Acquisition) scored a workman-like victory to shed her maiden status. Favourite Constantine led them into the straight and had a handy lead as well. Shivalik View and Quick Angel were closest to the leader but neither could make an impact on Constantine. Shania, who was ridden out well before the turn, gained considerable ground midway in the straight and put it across the leader in the final furlong. Apprentice jockey Yash Narredu had to make an effort to keep the Nirad Karanjawalla ward on an even keel as she tended to lug inwards and was dangerously close to running into Constantine.  The young lad handled the situation well without hampering the strides of the filly. Shania sailed past Constantine to win with a decent margin.

Yash Narredu was cheered a race earlier too when he guided favourite Your Royal Majesty (Multidimensional – You Are A Miracle) to a popular victory in the Dr PK Sardeshmukh Maharaj Trophy Div I. Mountain Wind cut the wind on settling down and Your Royal Majesty set about in chase. Spades, the other fancied runner was not in the best of positions, closer to the wrong end of the field. While Trevor was making efforts in improving positions past the 800, Your Royal Majesty slipped into the lead as they turned for home.

Once into the straight, Your Royal Majesty quickened well to surge into a decisive lead, going at a good clip. Legend of the Seas tried hard to catch up but could not match the speed on the winner. Victorian was the one to gain considerable ground in the straight, but could only do enough to take the place money, ending alongside the runner-up. Spades, for all his efforts, just managed to fill the frame.

Sansani (Juniper – Alma Latina) pulled off a comfortable win to win the lower division of the above race. Sitting in third behind joint favourite Phelps and Nirbhaya, the latter taking over past the 1200, Sansani put in a good gallop soon on turning for home. Rashun, who kept Sansani company all along, made a good attempt at challenging Sansani past the distance post. However, jockey Trevor managed to forge further ahead inside the last 100 meters to secure a two and half length victory, stretching away from Rashun and Phelps.

Rodeo (Home Affairs – Rainbow Vision) showed his class in finishing strongly and scoring an impressive win to clinch the Her Majesty Trophy, a top class race over the mile-and-quarter trip. Okavango set the tone at a decent pace with Zoravaar in second. The rest were off the pace and some distance away.

The race turned serious when Spirit of Mercy made the first aggressive move at the turn to outpace the front-runners and assume charge. Rodeo, who took the turn about five wide, warmed up nicely and set about cutting the deficit on Spirit of Mercy. When the Sanjay Kolse trainee arrived past the distance post, he was literally flying and Spirit of Mercy had no chance of defending her lead. Rodeo zipped past Spirit of Mercy to post a comfortable one length victory. Zoravaar and company were totally outpaced and the top two were well ahead of the rest.

Trainer Magan Singh Jodha saddled a lucrative double with long-shots Cactus Cash and Mt Tianmen. Cactus Cash (Sedgefield – Wishing on a Star) won a thriller in a three pronged finish. Running Sun led the field home at it was noticed that hot favourite Shining Path was in distress even before the turn. She faded out of the fighting line inexplicably and raised no effective gallop in the straight. Romeo and Achieve were grappling stride for stride in the straight, with Cactus Cash hovering just behind waiting for an opportunity to pounce of the two in front.

There was a bit of jostling between the Trevor-ridden Romeo and Achieve who had apprentice Santosh astride. Cactus Cash cashed-in on the opening he got along the inner rails and squeezed through to inflict the telling blow. Trevor later raised an objection against the apprentice which was duly overruled.

Mt Tianmen (Sedgefield – Totally Stormin) improved on his last start second to Autumn Love and scored a stylish win beating favourite Beyond Intensity.  The favourite was troublesome at the gate and took her time getting in. Mt Tianmen took off in the straight and kept a good momentum going leaving no chance for Beyond Intensity for getting anywhere closer. Jockey Kavraj Singh shot further away in the final furlong to log Mt Tianmen’s maiden victory after a long wait of 14 starts.

For the professionals, trainers Magan Singh Jodha and Karthik saddled a double each, while Sandesh continued to impress with a treble. Yash Narredu too pitched in with a fine double.