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By Mahendra Mallya | 11 Oct 2014 | PUNE

Mrs Bakhtawar B Chenoy & trainer Bezan Chenoy leading Congressional (P S Chouhan Up), winner of The Hyatt Regency, Pune Trophy

Bezan Chenoy trained Congressional (Razeen – Kerataka) bred at the Usha Stud, put in a commendable performance to score his second victory in as many starts establishing his credentials as a juvenile of high quality. Guided by jockey P S Chouhan, Congressional was up with the pace over the mile trip, sitting a close second behind the hot pacing Sansani. Halle just didn’t settle down and within the first furlong went mulish and veered out of the competition.

Congressional began his dominance soon on turning for home. He galloped past Sansani without encountering any resistance and soon pulled away from the rest. Chouhan did not even have to go for the whip as Congressional picked up momentum on his own and was speeding nicely towards the winning post. Samba Warrior, a close last at the turn, started improving in the straight and did well to beat the rest. In the final 100, he was gaining on Congressional, but never threatened the winner at any stage. Chouhan, sensing that he had something coming at him, just gave a precautionary tap to Congressional, but even that didn’t seem necessary. Congressional won with a good measure of comfort and looks good to start his Mumbai campaign on a worthy note.

Favourite Moon Shadow (Noverre – Racy Description) bred by Bhaktawar Stud at the Sohna Stud, scored a fluent victory, bagging the Indictment Trophy by an impressive margin of seven lengths. Myla Rose tore away out of the gates to set up a comfortable lead with Rio in second, followed by Dynamo, Moon Shadow and Falcon. The last named was listless right through from the start and the jockey had to work on him all the way without getting anything from the gelding t any stage.

 Myla Rose packed up soon on straightening up as jockey Dashrath Singh lit up Moon Shadow and the gelding responded with a scorching gallop. The Mansoor Shah trainee blazed away, outpacing all and sundry bouncing away to an emphatic victory. Should he race again, Moon Shadow would add to his tally in the kind of form he has run into. Dynamo looked good coming into the straight, but was completely overwhelmed by the winner. Dynamo clearly needed the run and did well to end runner up. Rio ended a fighting third and it would pay to watch him over the shorter sprint.

Dashrath Singh scored again in the very next race piloting favourite Valentino (Kingda Ka – Hazel Morgan, Capricorn Stud) to a come-from-behind victory. Valentino settled in the front bunch, not too far from leader Peppercorn, with Dark William, Seacaucus all huddled closely.

Peppercorn pushed ahead in the straight and was galloping well. Dark William was not giving in either when Valentino arrived with telling strides. Valentino caught up with the duo past the distance post and surged ahead past the stands to score an encore. Pppercorn and Dark William fought on to stay put in the next two slots, while Seacaucus held on to a berth in the frame.

The FA & KA Irani Trophy was universally believed to be a straight fight between Fire Engine and Highlander and boy was that expectation spot on! The pair fought every inch of the homestretch to provide the filled stands some very exciting moments.  

Mufasa set a decent pace and bowed out past the 600. Negotiator never looked in contention. Highlander and Fire Engine took centre-stage at the mouth of the homestretch and were engaged in a grim battle all the way to the wire. In the final furlong, Fire Engine seemed to have wrested the upper hand, however, Highlander fought back trying to claw his way back. Jockeys Ashish atop Fire Engine and PS Chouhan on Highlander went all out battling to the fast approaching winning post. It was a real close battle and in the end, Fire Engine managed to edge out Highlander on the post. Due credit must be given to trainer Adil Daji for keeping Fire Engine (European – Sunlit Moon, Arabesque Stud) fit as the gelding has had his share of setbacks. Fire Engine’s was a brave effort and there is no question about his staying ability.

The first race provided a walk-in-the-park for hot favourite Senorita Evita (Burden of Proof – Si Senora, Kunigal Stud). Trevor got the Shroff trained filly going at the turn and she was in cruise mode while getting past the off-the-bridle Lovable Locks. In the straight, Senorita Evita galloped on fluently to beat the rest without even stepping on it and Trevor enjoyed a sweat-less effort in guiding Senorita Evita home clocking a nippy 1:10: 76 on a tight rein. Quick Angel kicked on to run an inspiring second and showed that spark that’s so encouraging.  Khaleefa and Hoshiyaar took the minor placing without really creating any ripples.

Egyptiana (Chinese Whisper – Natouchka, Paramvir Stud) got to her best in her third start and earned her maiden victory shocking hot favourite Apache. Egyptiana, herself a prime fancy on her debut earlier in the season, made ample amends this time with a clean-as-a-whistle performance. She jumped out quick and led the field right from the start and didn’t allow anyone to take the pride of place away from her.

She entered the straight with a pack of horses snapping at her tail, but she soon quickened to break away from them. Apache, who was in sixth or seventh in a tightly packed bunch, surfaced on the wider outside and looked good at the turn. In fact he was the only one travelling on tight reins as they entered the straight.

Jockey Kamlesh focused on the round in front and urged Egyptiana on to get to the winning post at her fastest. Apache with Derren Williams in the saddle looked confident as he started covering ground with about 300 to go. However, Egyptiana kept the momentum going and didn’t show any sign of weakening doing the full monty. Apache caught a tartar and went down squandering a good opportunity of making it to the winners’ circle. Zumi Zumi was up with the pace and ended up with her personal best, finishing in the money for the first time. Millenium Falcon was a tad slow at the gates and recovered well to take the fourth spot.

Mighty Splendour, who was backed considerably, buckled at the jump out and dislodged jockey Kavraj Singh. Luckily the rider sustained a soft fall and escaped unhurt to even ride in the next race.

Malzie led the field into the straight with Bella Figura looming large on her outside. Bella Figura quickened nicely once into the straight and surged past a reluctant Malzie in the final furlong to post a comfortable win. Golden Wave ran on to end in the money.

The last race provided the perfect appetizer for the Derby day to follow. Trainer Antia’s Mountain Song was very much in tune as she went sailing into the lead and galloped on in the straight. As Good As Gold found his depths in the straight and began to close in on Mountain Song. He was particularly bullish in the final 100 and the pair flashed past the wire together. Jockey SG Prasad ought to take a bow for winning the short-head verdict in the end.

Jockey Dashrath Singh was the lone professional to score a double.