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By Mahendra Mallya | 30 Aug 2014 | PUNE

Mr. Ashok Ranpise & Mr. Dinsha P. Shroff leading Dancing Prances (A Sandesh Up), winner of The Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy

Pune city is known to celebrate the Lord Ganesh festival with fanfare and pomp. A glimpse of this was provided courtesy the RWITC’s advertising partners Radio One. The radio station had roped in Piyush Malhotra’s Dance Troupe to perform a seven-minute ‘Ganesh Vandana’ an invocation to the popular God of wisdom. The group, comprising of young girls and boys were energetic and talented and entertained the viewers in the paddock after the Radio One Run race.

While the dancing and prancing showcased the fanfare during the Ganesh festival, one equine star, Dancing Prances, galloped to glory amidst loud cheers and universal admiration. The Altaf Hussain ward, owned jointly by M/s Ashok Ranpise,  Dinsha Shroff and Solomon Sopher, with jockey Sandesh in the saddle, set the turf alight with a mighty finishing effort to win the prestigious Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy in style. Dancing Prances is by Ace out of Dancing Greens and bred at the Poonawalla Stud Farm.

It was Dancing Phoenix who shot into the early lead, with Victorious March and Rosie Sunshine close behind. Dancing Prances settled into the fourth spot and had Rio Deja Vu and Marrinsky close behind. Dancing Phoenix had got into a fluent rhythm and entered the straight with a handy lead. He was galloping nicely and neither Victorious March nor Rosie Sunshine could get close to him on straightening up. Sandesh shifted lanes and provided Dancing Prances a clear run. While passing Rosie Sunshine as he accelerated, Dancing Prances unfortunately got struck in the face as Dashrath Singh atop Rosie Sunshine cracked the whip. Nevertheless, Dancing Prances bravely surged ahead, eating up ground at a brisk rate to collar Dancing Phoenix a few meters from home. He surged past the lively leader to score a brilliant victory to the delight of his connections and scores of supporters.

Dancing Prances has been in tremendous form this season and by winning the Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy he logged his sixth career win from 12 starts, five of which have come over the six-furlongs, pronouncing his dominance over the sprint. Trainer Altaf would do his all to ensure that his fiery sprinter maintains his form right up to the Invitation Cup weekend in March next. He has bright chances of returning with the Champion Sprinters’ crown.  

The two divisions of the Radio One Run saw on money favourites toppled by the second favourites with ease. Pesi Shroff’s Constantine was the prime fancy at 10/9 on while Paurus was next in demand at fives.

Ukulele was least composed at the gates and even after entering he was fidgety. She however jumped out to lead briefly before fading out of contention after galloping for only about two furlongs. Act of Valour strode out in front and built a sizable lead past the 800. Constantine settled in third behind Beach Game. Paurus, who was slow out of the gates by about two lengths, was quick to recover and was soon on the tail of Constantine.

Act of Valour stormed into the straight with authority and was in command for most of the homestretch. Constantine packed up without showing any fight. Paurus gathered momentum approaching the distance post and had warmed up to the task in the final 100. Jockey Trevor got him going past the Grand Stands and he just managed to time his run to perfection to get the final verdict on the post. Lohtse ran on to end third. Paurus (Oath – Pupa Fiorini ) is owned by M/s Sudhir Chauhan & Subhag Singh, bred by the Capricorn Stud farm and bred at the Pratap Stud.

The lower division of the Radio One Run saw debutante Lord Jim installed the firm favourite. His mock race victory over the classy Mariinsky perhaps was what attracted attention on him. All the pre-race predictions went for a toss and Frankanella (Razeen – Haedi) product of the Usha Stud Farm, reaped a rich harvest on a well-planned race.

Frankanella jumped out quickly and soon settled in the third behind Chase The Ace and Smart Raider. Lord Jim took his time settling down and progressed gradually past the 800. Frankanella then stole a march as she quickly darted to the front soon on entering the straight. Sandesh urged her to work up a sizable lead that held in good stead. By the time Lord Jim warmed up, it was way too late. Tinogona did well to finish close alongside Lord Jim as he was tailing the field for most part of the journey.

Quizzical and Cha Cha Cha hogged most of the betting in the Division I of the Rosmini Trophy. In fact they were the only two in the betting, with the rest at ‘asking’ odds.

Wiki Wiki and As Good As Gold entered the straight a couple of lengths ahead of the rest. Both battled in the first half of the straight when apprentice Bhawani Singh arrived with Abderus (Ace – Cilldara) a Poonawalla Farm produce with a striking finish. The Altamash Ahemd trainee picked up speed after being prominent all through the race, and trounced the opposition pulling off a stunning upset. The tote payout of Rs 917/- for a tenner is the highest recorded so far this season. Mountain Wind blew in from the mid-bunch to pip another outsider Beyond Horizon on the post, leaving the Tanala, Forecast and Quenilla pools unsolved!

Soothsayer buckled and sat down inside the gates and was withdrawn. Pretty Hot (Mull of Kintyre – Breno / Amanali Stud) seized the opportunity to score her maiden win in her ninth start.

Pretty in Patpong shared the lead with Skyjet until the turn before dropping out. Skyjet shot into the lead briefly before In Time took charge and threatened to run away. Pretty Hot arrived with a powerful run to storm ahead in the last 100 meters and push In Time to the runner up slot. Straight Six gained ground in the straight to end in the money.

Grenadine (Amadeus Wolf – Hekayaat / Nanoli Stud) scored an encore and showed that she relished the distance. Sandesh rode in typical style keeping Grenadine well off the place tailing the field of nine by some measure all the way until they approached the entrance of the homestretch. Pumba had led from the 1600 meter-marker with Open Offer and Fleetwood Mac following close behind.

Once into the straight, Fleetwood Mac had barely taken charge when Sword of Honour got to him. They fought a brief while before Sword of Honour surged ahead. Grenadine took the widest way in and started to devour ground at a brisk pace. She covered a lot of ground and caught up with Sword of Honour with a hundred to go and then drew away to win comfortably.  

Born to Win (Senure – Autocop / Manjri Stud) was one of the few favourites to oblige on a day that lesser fancied horses ruled. Born to Win pulled off a neat start to finish essay causing little alarm to his large number of supporters. He had Flynn breathing down his neck for most of the way and they entered the straight together, well clear of the rest.   

Once they entered the straight, Flynn could not match strides for too long and Born To Win started to accelerated away from Flynn.  Ulrika quickened well but her effort was not good enough to bother Born To Win. TS Jodha rode out confidently and had something to spare while zipping past the winning post. Remarkables came in late to earn some place money.  

Dark William (New Famous – Temple Quest / Yervada Stud), the 4 year old dark bay gelding from trainer M.K.Jadhav’s yard who had remained a maiden after ten starts finally displayed plenty of speed to win the Al Dente Plate. Dark William was the quickest at start to head the field but settled well in second when Rising Angel rushed to get to the front within the first 100 metres. As they turned for home Dark William went ahead easily and stretched out well to extend the lead. Stormy day began to bridge the gap towards the closing stages but the winner was comfortably home. Spear of Trium finished third.     

The day started off with Faisal A Abbas schooled Exactly (Arabian Gulf – Lyrical Star / Manjri Stud) pulling off a stunning upset in the Royal Princess Plate, the opener of the day. The filly still a maiden going into the race, looked to be on a stroll again, held up towards the rear in second last till approaching the last 600 metres. She then improved quickly to take the gap towards the inside and manoeuvring her way, shot ahead on top of the straight and drew away to win by almost a street. The favourite Bethpage was a mere spectator in second and On The Quest finished third another distance behind. 

Nosher Cama trained Westphalia (Bushranger – Peace / Equus Stud) completed a hat-trick in fine style in the Specialist Plate, the concluding race of the day. Having won over 1200 metres in her second start at Bangalore, the filly had repeated that performance over seven furlongs early this month at Pune and now was sent off as the second favourite at 4-1 over the mile trip. Racing towards the rear initially, Westphalia improved gradually to be in about tenth position turning for home. Haunting Moments took charge on top of the straight and looked to be pulling it off when Neeraj Rawal shifted gears on Westphalia. The filly responded with a blistering gallop to bridge the leeway that Haunting Moments had established and sped past inside the last 50 metres to win by a length and a half.

For the professionals, trainer AltafHussain saddled a double, while jockey A Sandesh kept up his good form scoring a fine treble.