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By Mahendra Mallya | 18 Oct 2014 | PUNE

Ms Monisha Advani receiving The Goel Ganga Group Super Sprint Trophy from Ms MC Mary Kom Olympic Medalist & Asian Games Gold Medalist

Boxing Star Arjuna Awardee Ms MC Mary Kom made a delightful appearance on the Pune turf, her first visit to any racecourse as the guest of honour and presented the trophy to the winner of the Goel Ganga Group Super Sprint, the feature on Saturday’s card at Pune. The five time World Amateur Boxing Champion revealed that she was taken in by horseracing the and thoroughly enjoyed witnessing the thrilling action. “It was an amazing experience and the horses look so fighting fit. We sports persons are also very particular on fitness” she said. Asked about the toughest fight she has faced among several top performances, she singled out her Olympic bronze winning effort as the one. “I had little experience then. Now I am better equipped and looking forward to the 2016 Olympics and my preparation is on course. I shall try my best to win the Olympic Gold Medal for India,” she said amidst a thunderous roar from the crowd.  The western India trainers felicitated the queen of the ring with a bouquet of flowers and the Chairman of the Stewards Mr Champaklal Zaveri presented Ms Mary Kom with a memento on behalf of the RWITC.

Stroganoff (Glory of Dancer – Shockwave, Nanoli Stud) owned by M/s A Rashid, R Rashid & Ms Monisha Advani was universally tipped to win on debut on the sheer strength of his sharp morning workouts. He lived up to the top billing and was ahead of the field right from the start. Stroganoff jumped out quick and went smoothly into the lead with Without Fear doing his best to stay close in second. Flanker, Zambian, Captain Abdon and Beyond Intensity galloped forming a close-knit bunch with Our Girl at the tail end of the field.

Stroganoff got down to serious business soon on straightening up and once he got going, he showed admirable maturity, and shot ahead, leaving the rest behind. Flanker tried his best to offer a challenge in the final furlong; however, jockey CS Jodha confidently rode out Stroganoff and won the six-furlong sprint without giving Flanker and the others even a semblance of a chance. Stroganoff is trained by Faisal Abbas who was confident of his ward’s victory right through. The betting trends, for some strange reason though showed a slight drift in the odds offered on Stroganoff, however, it was his large number of supporters who benefitted from that rise in odds.

Shivalik Showers (Dancing Forever – Sun Shower, Hazara Sutd) justified the cramped odds offered on him and galloped away freely causing no anxiety to those who braved to bet at around 6/10 on.  The Adil Daji ward, ridden by Yash Narredu, won unopposed and shook off her maiden status in style.

Shivalik showers jumped out smartly and got straight down to business leading comfortably all through. Once in the straight, Shivalik Showers drew further away and stretched out fluently to win with a good margin. Berlesque, a good looking filly was given an educative run and finished a leisurely second.

Cha Cha Cha (Verglas – Chibcha, Nanoli) was another one to earn his maiden win on the day. He looked a tad better in the paddock and that perhaps led punters to back him down heavily at race time. The Narendra Lagad trainee hit the front soon on start and kept galloping all the way through. Cha Cha Cha, partnered by jockey Dashrath Singh, had a good momentum going and once they turned for home, Cha Cha Cha seemed on course for a comfortable victory. He was well clear coming into the final furlong and looked a winner, however, Lhotse warmed up late to eat up ground and reduce the gap at a good rate. Cha Cha Cha was ridden out and managed to ward off Lhotse and stay ahead at the all important end by a narrow ¾ L.

Classic Moment (Razeen – Anagram, Usha Stud), the shortest priced runner of the day (10/4 on) just managed to sneak in a ‘head’ verdict to the relief of his supporters.

Classic Moment moved up to fourth as the field settled down with Scarlet of Hope at the helm. Advance to Contact took charge soon on straightening up and went for broke. Classic Moment, with Trevor astride moved up steadily on the outside and started to gather momentum. She took her time but made headway to join Advance to Contact and finally overhaul the challenger close home to snatch a head verdict.  

Earlier, when the body weights of the horses were displayed on the CCTV monitors, Classic Moment was shown to be 23 kilos below her last racing weight. Although such a dramatic reduction in body weight, the filly came into the paddock looking a picture of fitness and won readily without being unduly punished. Considering this was only the third start of her career, she can be expected to add a few more to her win tally in future.

Archie (Muhtathir – Elouana, Poonawalla Astonish Stud) survived a scare when Fortune Favours joined issue with him soon after entering the homestretch. At one point, Fortune Favours also looked like gaining the upper hand on the favourite, however, Fortune Favours faltered and Archie kept going and hung on resolutely under Trevor’s hard riding.

Speed King (Ace – Zarandja, Villoo’s Greefield Farms) improved on his last start second and held on to carve out a win warding off a late charge from Rule Downunder. Speed King, with Sandesh in the saddle, was sent to the front right from the start and he kept a good pace going. Into the straight, Speed King built on a handy lead and looked too far ahead to get past the distance post. However, Rule Downunder came charging in from way behind to easily sail past Dhanyavaad and Spades. His finish was blinding and he nearly dethroned the leader falling short by the shortest of margins.    

Starry Brook proved to be a costly failure for the second time this season and although she looked much fitter this time, she failed to live up to expectations and fell back even before the race came to a boil.    

Mountain Queen and Natalian Express matched strides up in front with Starry Brook in third until the turn. Once into the straight, Natalian Express (Oath – Glenviews Purshase, Pratap Stud) left her companion behind and surged to compile a handy lead. Starry Brook was out of steam by then and was comprehensively beaten. Cool Runnings arrived with a worthwhile challenge and started to cut down the lead Natalian Express enjoyed. However, apprentice jockey SJ Sunil kept the Sanjay Kolse ward going to ensure there was no last stride reversal and held on grimly to score a stylish win.

Backstreet Bay (Verglas – Farmers Swing, Sohna Stud) seems to have developed an extra gear after his last start victory. Drawn on the extreme outside, he travelled on the wide outside too yet when they turned for home, he readily took charge and looked a certainty from there on. He left the others far behind to notch a much more impressive win this time, piling up a seven length victory. Burgundy Rose and Phelps dead-heated for the second, but neither were in the hunt at any stage.

Straight Six (Noverre – Speckled Band,  Sohna Stud) and Mighty Splendour, the two market leaders in the race, have had fitness issues in the past. However, on their past form they seemed to be head and shoulders above the rest.

There was some quite support for Argyle Pink, who flattered to deceive after leading them until the straight. Dishkyaon moved to take charge coming into the straight, but soon had Straight Six surging past him.  

Straight Six shot ahead approaching the distance post with Mighty Splendour breathing down his neck. It looked a close one as both were going all out, however, in the final stages, Straight Six prevailed by a narrow margin. It was reported after the race that straight Six had burst his blood vessels.

For the professionals, trainer Adil Daji saddled a double, while jockeys P Trevor and Yash Narredu scored a brace each.