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By Mahendra Mallya | 13 Sep 2014 | PUNE

Trainer P Shroff leading Amazing Grace (Trevor Patel Up), winner of The Idar Gold Trophy (Gr.3)

Trainer Pesi Shroff had another productive day at office walking the aisle thrice to proudly lead in his winners. This included his classy ward Amazing Grace who stretched her winning streak with another solid performance, this time to land the Idar Gold Trophy (Gr3) without any fuss. The 10/9 on favourite gave weight and a convincing beating to her closest rival Circle of Bliss to extend her triumphant run to five on the trot.

It was all smooth sailing for Amazing Grace (Hurricane Run – Efrhina) owned by Dr & Mrs Vijay Mallya. Jockey P Trevor settled her well behind as Belvedere played the role of the pace maker for the 2400 meter trip. Circle of Bliss too was well off the pace and trailed Amazing Grace by a good three lengths all around the course, hoping to turn on the heat in the straight.

That was not to happen. Amazing Grace is far more mature now than compared to when the two fillies last matched strides earlier on even terms, in the Indian Classics. Belvedere galloped freely to lead by more than four lengths for the most of the journey and even entered the straight well clear of the rest. Star of Gibraltar, Astapi, Rodeo and The Ministerian were all crowding behind Belvedere hoping to make an impact. However, Amazing Grace arrived with a fluent gallop from the outside and left them all stranded. Circle of Bliss made a sincere effort to get at Amazing Grace, but simply could not make any impression on the winner. Amazing Grace proved just too good and Trevor had to do precious little to see her through. Amazing Grace is bred by the United Racing & Bloodstock Breeders Ltd and bred at the Kunigal Stud Farm. With the kind of performance she has dished out, she certainly has upped her chances and staked a strong claim for the Indian St Leger later this season. A confrontation with the mighty Alaindair is a lip-licking proposition for the last of the year’s Indian Classics.    

Mr Haresh & Manav Mehta’s three-year-old filly Tiger Tops (Tiger Hill – Cockayne) bred by the Bhaktawar Stud Farm strode out majestically to win the Zephyr Bay Plate run over 2000m from end to end. Zervan, who has returned to form with a bang, took off soon as the gates flung open. The young filly’s gate was majestic and she galloped freely maintaining a healthy lead all the way into the straight. Shivalik Storm the other strong contender of the ‘jodi’ was not far behind when the race came to a boil. Sandesh tried hard to narrow down the gap, but Tiger Tops didn’t loosen her grip approaching the distance post to maintain a clean slate on the western India circuit. Shivalik Storm did well to finish just over a length to Tiger Tops and considering the gelding was giving a good five kilo plus to the winner, Shivalik Storm can take a lot back from this race. He shouldn’t take too long to add to his winning tally.

Shroff’s rookie Ramesses (Tariq – Najah, Equus Stud) owned by M/s Vispi Patel, Zaheer Lalkaka & Dr Mehli Nazir produced a debut winning run to the delight of his connections and supporters. Zervan kept him in the mid-bunch until the turn as Captain Abdon produced a ‘pacey’ start to the race. Ramesses surfaced to the front line at the turn and took charge as he galloped past Captain Abdon.  Once in front, Ramasses kicked on to draw away and posted a comfortable victory. Remarkables ran on from the rear to end a good second. Captain Abdon stayed on stubbornly holding dearly to the place money, edging out Zana in the process. Aleta disappointed. She was the firm favourite, but she struggled to get going and never raised any hope at any stage. She will need time to get into the groove and is best given that time.

Providence (Alnasr Alwasheek – Dancing Image, Exhilaration Stud) unleashed a powerful gallop at the business end of the race to floor her rivals decisively and romp away to win impressively.

Favourite Zadora led the field soon on settling down with Artiste, Ice Affair, Dhunyavaad, Providence, Oriental Rocky and Quick Fire all huddled together close behind. Into the straight, Zadora’s lead looked vulnerable as Oriental Rocky snatch the lead for a brief while. Providence burst on to the scene soon after and simply breezed past them all. He looked far too superior as he tore away from them to score a convincing victory. Quick Fire showed improvement after arriving at trainer Rajendra’s stables and only lost out due to the blazing finish of Providence. He beat the rest to clinch the runner up slot but his day doesn’t seem to be too far away. Titlist nosed out Oriental Rocky on the post for place money.

 Himalayan Queen (Captain Rio – Maid of Artois, Hazara Stud) scored a fluent victory to earn her maiden win in her first run in Pune, her second overall. She had run a good second on her debut on the opening day of the Mumbai season, yet didn’t show any sign of rustiness. She looked pleasing in the paddock and the odds dropped on her even more once she presented herself in the paddock. Expectedly, she galloped fluently and dictated the terms of the race from the word go. She galloped on to win unchallenged and her superiority on the bunch was evident right from the start.

Eduardo had a good educative run and will benefit most from this outing. He settled well and was galloping in fine rhythm. He moved about with purpose and quickened well to claim the runner up berth. I would put some money on him the next time her puts on the saddle.

Umerkot (Hymn – Battery, Jai Govind Stud) from Magansingh P Jodha’s stables scored an encore in the lower division of the Premier Collection Plate, division II. The 4 year old bay colt who had won his last start over similar distance at Mumbai was sent in as the favourite at 18-10. The trainer preferred to claim an allowance and declared apprentice D.S.Daman with 5 kilograms allowance. Racing in mid-field as Pretty In Patpong led the field, Umarkot progressed to be fourth as they turned for home and with a strong gallop from the wide outside sped past the leader. Ocean Star and Dark William warmed up late to be second and third respectively beating the long-time leader Pretty In Patpong to the fourth position. Trending was withdrawn before the race.     

Stormy Princess (Stormello – Superlative, Hazara Stud) pulled off a stunning upset in the Cape Knight Plate. Mansoor Hassan’s trainee was a bit edgy inside the gate and the race was started after she calmed down. Travelling more towards the rear early, Stormy Princess made steady progress, staying away from traffic problems about four off the fence to be in about fifth position as the headed past the club house. Inside the straight the favourite Beyond Horizons got to the lead with Summer Express in hot chase. Stormy Express galloped resolutely from the outside to floor the leaders easily. After a keen fight for the minor places, Summer Express finished second a ‘neck‘ahead of Beyond Horizons.    

Narendra Lagad trained Passion Prince (Intikab – Asaafeer, Sohna Stud) who was still a maiden after 14 starts finally made it to the winner’s enclosure in the higher division of the Premier Collection Plate, the concluding race of the day. The complexion of the race changed completely in the last 100 metres with four runners, Passion Prince, Mohegun Sun, Yardstick and Sunshine Heart moving to the front almost simultaneously and finishing in a line. They ended up in that order with a head, short-head and a short-head separating them.    

The first race of the day provided the closest finish with National Gold (CP West – Star of Light, Galloping Acres) flying home in the dying moments of the race to snatch the race from stable companion Without Fear in the Personified Plate. National Gold, a maiden going into the race was held back towards the rear among the seven runners in the race. Inside the last 200 metres Without Fear had taken charge and was looking good when National Gold picked up speed all of a sudden and came flying in to win by the proverbial whisker. Adams Wing and Leontine filled the judge’s frame.

For the professionals, trainer Pesi Shroff saddled a treble, while trainer Narendra Lagad, jockeys Trevor and Zervan scored a double each.