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By Mahendra Mallya | 31 Aug 2014 | PUNE

Circle Of Bliss (S Zervan Up), winner of The Threptin Fillies' & Mares' Stakes (Gr.3)

Circle of Bliss (Singspiel – Dubai Spirit, Nanoli Stud) cantered to victory clinching the Threptin Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes (Gr3) with authority. The Shroff trained filly, who has been shy of winning races and feeling the agony of finishing second best on several occasions, finally came into her own while galloping gamely to get back to winning ways.

Jockey Zervan switched Circle of Bliss off and ambled in the rear as stable mate Belvedere played the pace maker’s role to the hilt. At one stage Belvedere was over en lengths ahead of the rest, with Scarlet O’Hara in second, followed by Victoria Falls, Trance, Starry Eyes and Circle of Bliss. However, Belvedere, as expected, faded out at the turn and the rest had all closed in by then.

Circle of Bliss produced a scorching gallop soon on turning for home and the race was as good as over the moment she arrived. She galloped fluently and Zervan didn’t have to move a muscle. Circle of Bliss stretched out with giant strides to make it a no contest. Starry Eyes was simply not up to it and was completely overwhelmed. Trance showed some resolve and managed to wrest the second spot from Starry Eyes.

Owners M/s Vijay Shirke, KN Dhunjibhoy and Berjis Minoo Desai and trainer Pesi Shroff contributed half of the stakes earned to the Bombay city Red Cross. The RWITC donated a cheque for Rs 250,000/- while trainer Narendra Lagad contributed generously to the collections.

The General Rajendrasinghji Million, the added attraction of the day had a small field that went to the gates, but the finish was pretty much exciting. Tatiana set a leisurely pace with Quasar and Flashing Chieftain ambling behind. Quasar took off on entering the straight and left it to the others to chase him down. Tatiana fought on all through, but simply could not match up. Flashing Chieftain, who looked good coming into the straight, warmed up far too late and fell short of piping Quasar by a narrow margin.

Quasar put in a good show considering he only had a mock race as prep. He was short of a run certainly and this run should strip him fitter. Quasar (Seeking the Dia – Belle Jour, Hazara Stud) had to stay alert all the way and Suraj Narredu did just the right things and moves to steer Quasar to a thrilling win.

Adam (Multidimensional – Adesina, Usha Stud) attracted as a good bet going by the betting ring trends at race time. The Pesi Shroff trainee maintained his winning streak and scored an easy victory in what looked a hard race. Brynhill set a scorching pace as he darted to the front soon on start and kept a good momentum going. Caruso was in the mid-bunch while Adam was pacing leisurely, closer to the rear end of the field.

Brynhill threatened to run away with his lead as Caruso and company were making little impact on Brynhill. Set To Fly was improving well but it was Adam who outclassed them all. Adam, with Trevor in the saddle, gained ground briskly to sail past Brynhill to log his third successful victory without dropping sweat.  He certainly looks good for more. Superlicious, who was languishing in the last position, came with a rush to finish an eye-catching fourth, alongside Set To Fly and Brynhill.

Desert Wings (Ace – Desert Lightning, Exhilaration Stud) with Dashrath Singh in the saddle, made light work of favourite Mine Forever and the rest to score forceful win to claim the BK Lagad Memorial Gold Trophy. Mine Forever led them early on and then failed to quicken, finally finishing in the rut. The last start winner in Mumbai looked rusty and needs time.

Desert Wings flew in the straight passing new leader Basic Life midway in the straight and then launching a fierce gallop in the final furlong to draw away. Ice Stakes ran on to end in the money.

Jockey Sandesh simply cannot stay away from the limelight and after drawing a blank through the first 70 percent of the card, he blazed away scoring in the last three races.

Stiletto (Declaration of War – Crystal Slipper, Chhatari Stud) was the one who got Sandesh into the winning groove. The front bunch was crowded as Earth Tamer shot into the lead with Stiletto and Affirmation close behind. Stiletto surged into the lead past Earth Tamer soon on turning for home. Affirmation was hard at work but simply couldn’t make any impression on Stiletto who had started to break away. Sandesh surged the Sanjay Kolse filly on and Stiletto responded well to gallop further away to look the winner in the final furlong. Durer warmed up far too late, implying he needs distance. Durer eventually did well to pip Affirmation for the runner-up slot carrying all of 62 kilos. Over a longer distance, Durer is sure to score.

Troppa Bella (Mull of Kintyre – Troppa Freska, Pratap Stud) had been knocking on the door considering she had not done too badly in her last two starts. This time she benefited from Sandesh’s amazing form and made it to her first win in her third career start.   

Apache was guilty of shifting out alarmingly and that cost him dearly. He came into the straight with a handy lead and was expected to capitalize on this leeway. He however, drifted out soon on turning for home and ended up on the stand side.

Troppa Bella, who was a close fifth coming into the straight, poked through between horses to surface to the front. Sandesh kept her going straight as an arrow and the Narendra Lagad trained filly picked up speed to pull off her maiden win in good style. Sweet As Honey is getting into the groove and will have her day. Eternal Royalty too showed some zest early on, but needs to improve on her finishing, while Egyptiana disappointed.

Polar Zone (Sharp Attack – Oceanic Zone, Gee Stud) proved a tough nut to crack as he put in a determined effort to provide a third straight win for Sandesh. Sitting in second behind leader Ice Gate, Polar Zone shot into the lead soon on turning for home. There was pressure applied by Startsonboard early in the straight, but Sandesh had the Sanjay Kolse trained Polar Zone going at a good clip. He soon stretched further away to have the race sewn up in the final 100. Ancient World ran on to snatch the second spot from Starsonboard.

Young Yash Narredu is steadily climbing up his career ladder and his consistency is helping him build a reputation of maturing into a reliable jockey. He rode out to return with an impressive double on Sunday to end the weekend on a happier note after a blank Saturday.

He drew blood in the day’s first race atop Classy Dancer (Carnival Dancer – One Uttama, Deshmesh Stud) a long-shot. Cut Diamond once again failed to justify the status of being the favorite.  The Trevor ridden filly went out like a bulb when the race came to a boil. Amaya, another one courting longer odds Surged ahead in the straight with Classy Dancer breathing down on her neck. Amaya tried hard as there was the connections’ money she was carrying in a subtle coup. However, Yash moved aggressively and caught Amaya in the final furlong and stormed home to her maiden win in her sixth start.   

Yash in the very next race partnered the tried and tested Zoe ((European – Sacred Dreams, Arabesque Stud) to a splendid win, a just reward for Zoe’s recent consistency. Zoe was quick to settle behind early leaders Yardstick and Windsor Queen. Mr Morrison was net up and the well backed Passion Prince too far behind for a scurry.

Zoe took charge soon on turning for home and Yash got into pushing the mare aggressively to dart away. Mr Morrison was gaining gradually while Windsor Queen was giving it all to stay in contention. Zoe galloped on gamely and none could catch up with her. Mr Morrison got closer but Passion Prince with a late blitz managed to snatch the runner up slot from Mr Morrison. Zoe won a race she had to keep going all the way through. Passion Prince came from a hopeless position to make a good dash towards the end. Mr Morrison too was lively in his finish.

Pepito (Kingda Ka – Accentuate, Nanoli Stud) was another one to gallop to his maiden win and this was his sixth start. Jockey Darren Williams seemed in no hurry as he settled Pepito in the sixth spot among the eight runners for the six furlong sprint. Ocean Dream, Sweet As Honey and Golden Lilly were up in front with Soul Centric lurking close behind.

Into the straight, Ocean Dream couldn’t last long as Sweet As Honey got past with ease. Pepito shifted lanes to mount his challenge from the outside. Sweet As Honey fought hard but Pepito gained ground at a good rate to push his way past Sweet As Honey in the final fifty.

For the professionals, trainers Pesi Shroff, Narendra Lagad and Sanjay Kolse saddled a double each. Sandesh has made it a habit to notch up a treble, while Yash Narredu scored a brace.