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By Mahendra Mallya | 20 Sep 2014 | PUNE

Trainer Faisal A Abbas leading Spider Man (Y S Srinath Up), winner of The Tattersalls Million

Spiderman (Glory of Dancer – Miyamoto) bred at the Nanoli Stud Farm, lived up to his last start promise and put on a game show to clinch the Tattersalls Million warding off strong challenger Solomon.  The race was expected to be a real close encounter, however, Spiderman showed commendable improvement and even though the verdict was a narrow half-length, he looked the winner from the moment he took charge.

Despite turning out for the first time on the Pune track, Classic Moment was backed down heavily to run the first favourite.  There was a speedy dash for the early lead as the three-year-olds flew out of the gates. Classic Moment didn’t take too long to lead the bunch with Polydences and Spiderman right on her tail. Solomon and Full Moon were right up next, while the others too were clinging to the front group.

Classic Moment clearly felt the long break from races and failed to quicken at the turn. Polydences showed some spirit and surged past Classic Moment, but had Spiderman looming large on her outside. YS Srinath, the jockey known for his big race temperament, got Spiderman going the moment they straightened for home. Spiderman responded well showing quick reflexes and surging acceleration. He had just headed a fighting Polydences when Solomon started to warm up. Spiderman had only to sustain the momentum to thwart the mounting threat as Solomon was gaining on the leader.  Srinath ensured that Spiderman held on to the firm clasp he had grabbed early in the straight and strode out all the way to land an attractive trophy and pocket a rich purse in stakes.

Trainer Faisal Abbas deserves a pat on the back for keeping Spiderman in top condition and getting the best out of him consistently.

Classic Moment clearly needed the run and should strip fitter after this outing. Solomon showed considerable improvement and is one for the note books. Polydences did her best and lost to better rivals. Full Moon ended a good fourth and the top weight she was carrying was her undoing. She was giving weight to some well performed runners and that told on her.

Veteren trainer Janardhan trainee Reynolds (Glory of Dancer – Highland Ghillie, Nanoli Stud) rose from a precarious position at the turn to rally on brilliantly and down the spirited Okavango a stride away from the wire. 

The Highland Rule Trophy saw a thrilling finish with top weight Okavango threatening to pull off a start to finish win. He looked right on course until into the final furlong of the mile and half trip, which is when Zervan made a sensational appearance as if playing to the galleries.

Okavango had headed every post right from the start all the way into the straight and it certainly appeared she would go all the way, particularly when the on money favourite looked too far back in the short Pune straight. Both, The Ministerian and Caesars Star, the ones closets to Okavango, were panting to keep pace with Okavango. Jockey S Zervan may have been a touch guilty of overconfidence, but the talented lad got Reynolds going to arrive with a scorching gallop to pull off a truly dramatic win. He had switched Reynolds off for most part of the journey and alerted him a tad too late for the comfort of the large number of the hot favourite’s followers.   The ferocious roar from the crowd screaming “REYNOLDS!” could have been heard miles away.

The popular Shroff-Zervan combo claimed the Cardinal Trophy, winning with a good measure of comfort with Thoughts of You (Oasis Dream – Tartouche, Greenfield Stud). 

Strawberry Crush made the running, leading comfortably in the front with Presence in tow. Thoughts of You settled well behind these two. Strawberry Crush led them into the straight and had a handy lead. Presence wilted under pressure and faded out. Thoughts of You then came charging in and sailed past Strawberry Crush still on cruise mode to pull away in the final furlong. Thoughts of You lived up to the promise on her last start where i felt she was ridden to the ground then, carrying top weight and rushing to the front. This time however, she was well off and showed a lot of gas in the tank at the business end.

Young Yash Narredu who partnered Okavango and nearly created a flutter had a rewarding day with a double, picking up the last two of the nine-race card. He piloted dad Malesh’s Delightful Lady (Dancing Forever – Queen Consort, Hazara Stud) with a truly delightful ride, clichéd as it may sound.

Last start winner Al Shamsheer tried the same tactics and shot into the lead soon on start. Paurus got off to a disastrous start and lost a distance and his chances right there. Delightful Lady settled in fourth spot with the favourite Speed King and Armel ahead of her. Speed King sped past Al Shamsheer soon on turning for home and just when he started to make his final dash, Delightful Lady arrived at top speed. The pair had pulled away from the rest approaching the distance post and both matched strides as Speed King was making a fight of it. Delightful Lady however, got stronger at the finish and drew away to score a convincing victory.

The last race proved a real cracker with a lively three-way-finish. Yash was in charge of the favourite Zander (Phoenix Tower – Merwaha, Manjri Stud) who was making a first appearance on the Pune track. The race took a lively turn in the straight as Earth Tamer swung into action and took charge early in the straight. Pepito, going all out for an encore, pounced on the leader about the same time as Zander moved to challenge Earth Tamer. The trio was locked in a grim battle and it was a matter of nerves, both on the track and in the stands. It was a finish to behold and Yash Narredu displayed guts and character to manage to keep Zander’s nose right in front at the wire to clinch the verdict by the shortest of margins.

Lucky Pineapple went down to surprise Wind and Stars (Noverre – Zeta Jones, Sohna Stud) in close finish. Apprentice jockey SG Prasad sent Wind and Stars ahead coming into the straight and built a handy lead. That held them in good stead as Lucky Pineapple had to do all the catching up. Lucky Pineapple and Lucky Charm went all out in chase but with Wind and Stars galloping on gamely they stood little chance. Wind and Stars prevailed by a narrow margin with Lucky Pineapple and Lucky Charm finishing close behind.

Square Moon (Sedgefield – Shining Force, Jai Govind Stud) produced a sizzling finish yet only managed to nose out Bethpage in a close finish. King Glorieux escorted the field into the straight and his challenge ended there. Elaheh took charge briefly as he was soon accounted for by Square Moon with jockey Kavraj riding aggressively. Bethpage warmed up midway in the straight and flew towards the winning post, poking through the gap and mounting a serious challenge from the insde of Sqare Moon. Kavraj rode his heart out and held on by a neck. An objection was later lodged by the rider of Bethpage, which the stewards overruled within a short time, seeing no merit whatsoever. Hallelujah veered out near the 1600 meter marker and took no further part in the race.

Archimedes (Ace – Victory and Gold, Poonawalla Stud) finally galloped to a maiden win on her 11th start, winning the opening race of the day. Cha Cha Cha tried hard to earn his and entered the straight well on course to do so. Archimedes soon joined Cha Cha Cha but took a while to get into top gear. However, once he found his feet, he accelerated well to go clear in the final furlong to win by a good margin.

Dishkyaon (Warrshan – Starry, Ruia Stud) also produced his first win in the second race of the day and this was a ‘no whip’ race. Sandesh guided the gelding to the front and entered the straight with a solid cushion of more than three lengths. Wind of the Hills tried to get closer but could not quicken. Copperglow improved in the straight but could only manage to get past Wind of the Hills and had to be content with the runner-up slot.

For the professionals, trainer Pesi Shroff sent out a double, while jockeys S Zervan and Yash Narredu returned with a double each as well.