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By Mahendra Mallya | 03 Oct 2014 | PUNE

Mr Farouq K Rattonsey & trainer Imtiaz A Sait leading Laurita (A Sandesh Up), winner of The Venus Arising Trophy

Imtiaz Sait trained Laurtia (Ghostzapper – Champagne Cocktail), bred by Highgrove Stud and bred at the Nanoli Stud Farm, shook off her maiden ranks while winning the Venus Arising Trophy a mile affair for maiden three-year-olds. Partnered by Sandesh, Laurita, unlike last time, jumped out nicely to hit the front, but soon settled in fourth as Soul Centric shot into the lead. Zabrock moved to second while Savage Beauty made steady headway to be third with about 800 to go.

Soul Centric shot her bolt once they turned for home and both Zabrock and Savage Beauty got past the leader with ease. Zabrock held a slender advantage and was fighting to keep Savage Beauty engaged. Sandesh tried to get past Zabrock from the outside, but jockey Kavraj closed the gap causing Sandesh to switch course. Sandesh produced Laurita from the rails side and he got a clear opening there. Laurita picked up speed and quickly zipped past the duo to steer clear in the final furlong and win impressively.  Laurita had jumped out awkwardly last time out and had lost all her chances. This time however, she was electric all through and reaped rich dividends while downing favourite Savage Beauty convincingly. Savage Beauty, although outpaced, will live to fight another day. Zabrock too had a educative outing and should be in the thick of action when he races next.

Exactly was the hottest favourite of the day, going out and half money in the Versaki Trophy which had three other runners. It came as a shock when Exactly stumbled the moment she jumped out of the gates, right across the Grand Stands sending jockey CS Jodha crashing on the turf. Fortunately, Jodha escaped with minor bruises, though he would be out of action for a while now, as he has been advised precautionary rest for a week. 

Mufasa led his two rivals all the way into the straight. While Ashwa Yodha struggled to keep pace, Square Moon progressed past the 800 m and came up to challenge Mufasa early in the straight. Mufasa resisted briefly but Square Moon got stronger approaching the distance post and surged ahead to score his second successive victory.

Ravello (Ace – Charedi’s Peak, Villoo’s Greenfield Farms) justified the cramped odds offered on him and this time behaved at the gates as well. He looked absolutely bullish as he stormed out of the gates and galloped at a cracking pace. He looked graceful and right in sync despite racing after a long gap. He led them all the way and never looked in danger at any point. Joleene, the second in demand was finding it hard to keep pace with the scorching speed of Ravello.

Ravello, who had Sandeep Jadhav in the saddle, kept the momentum going and was soon out of reach of his opponents. He stretched out majestically to score a ridiculously easy victory, looking the winner long way from home while clinching the upper division of the Giacosa Plate. Play Fair improved in the straight and snatched the second spot from Grey Mist. Among the debutantes, Ensign was the pick. She looked good in the paddock and had a smooth educative run. She progressed in the straight and did well to figure in the frame. I would look out for her in her next.

Lucky Charm (Charmo – Madame Commish, Singh Stud), who has been knocking for a while now, finally produced a fruitful effort to bag the lower division of the race and get the ‘maiden’ tag off him. Jockey Dashrath Singh though, had to urge him on right from the start and was seen pushing the Narendra Lagad ward to stay close behind the trio disputing the lead. Himalayan Dancer, Cold Play and Statuesque were matching strides in front of Lucky Charm and these four were well cler of the rest.

Statuesque moved ahead on straightening up and soon Lucky Charm made his bid from the outside. Cold Play galloped on but was not really surging. Statuesque made a good bid but when Lucky Charm arrived, he had little resistance to offer. Himalayan Dancer failed to quicken and ended a faraway fourth. Lucky Charm after working hard most of the way, was eased up in the last 100 meters and won comfortably.

Cosmic Dancer (Ajaad – Go Out Backwards, Sans Craintes Stud) powered her way to score a third career win making amends for her last start failure. She jumped out smartly and soon settled in second as Extreme Love shot ahead to led the bunch. Thunder Star dislodged the rider on the jump and La Traviata was off slowly.

Into the straight, Extreme Love resisted Cosmic Dancer’s challenge briefly but it was clear that he was fighting a losing battle. Cyclops looked up to it for a little while, but he didn’t quicken as required. Cosmic Dancer, with Sandesh in the saddle had picked up good speed and he surged further away to post a facile victory. Blue Bay ended a tame fourth well ahead of the rest.

Leothefiercehorse (Express Wish – Admiration, Mebajeona Stud) put in a lion-hearted performance to sail away from an impressive victory, his first on his sixth start. He was up in front soon on start and once in the straight, he moved ahead authoritatively and didn’t let anyone from the ranks to topple his well assembled lead. Without Fear ended chasing the winner, without really making any impact on apprentice jockey SJ Sunil ridden Leothefiercehorse. Amaya improved well in the straight to earn the place money.

Rashun (Ajaad – Dancing Huntress, Track Supreme Stud) picked up a welcome victory working his way to the front, ably ridden by jockey PS Chouhan. The Himmat Singh ward was right in the fight entering the straight and once early leader Summer Express paled in his finish, Rashun got involved in a fight with Natalian Express. Pappillon showed some spark midway in the straight, but failed to sustain his challenge. In the final furlong though, Rashun grew stronger and drew away from Natalian Express to score his second career win, his first in Pune.

The first race of the day saw trainer HJ Antia’s hot favourite Blue Flame light up the turf and win pulling back a spirited Royal Sapphire. Blue Flame who initially settled in the fifth spot, but not too far away from leader Rising Angel, improved to third at the turn. Royal Sapphire galloped gamely and sailed past Rising Angel soon on straightening up.  Blue Flame had to switch lanes and made her bid from the outside after slipping into the straight along the inner rails. Jockey SG Prasad rode out and soon had his filly alongside Royal Sapphire. The pair battled hard past the distance post, but Blue Flame clearly was travelling better as they galloped towards the winning post.

Jockey A Sandesh was the lone professional to score a double.