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By Mahendra Mallya | 25 Oct 2014 | PUNE

Mr Partab Lala & trainer Dallas Todywalla leading Greek God (Neeraj Rawal Up), winner of The Delhi Race Club Trophy

The weather Gods seemed to be in a generous mood, blessing the Pune racecourse with the pleasant pitter-patter precipitation that did not in any way interfere with the racing action, but provided a welcome chill in the wind that the horses too would have enjoyed. The hill-station weather experience was simply too good and the Saturday outing for those at the Pune racecourse ought to have been a boon after a spell of recent warmer days.

Greek God (Chevalier – Pas de l’Argent, Ruia Stud) owned by Mrs Laxmi, Pratap & Gautam Lala made the most of it and rallied through the rails to fight his way through and smother a lively challenge that Mint Approach threw at the business end of the race.

Way Out led the closely knit bunch early on and entered the straight with a slender lead. She shaped well and looked the one in charge approaching the final furlong, particularly when Victorious March was not making much impact on the leader. However, Way Out had to confront a dual challenge, one from either side as Mint Approach started to wear her down with about 100 to go. Greek God who had stuck on close on the inside rails, shot through a narrow gap and zipped ahead in the final fifty. Jockey Neeraj Rawal was sharp and nailed the favourite the moment he got the chance to surge through. Greek God’s finish was electric and this special effort richly deserved a fitting reward. Greek God and Mint Approach fetched trainer Dallas Todywalla the top two placing in the Delhi Race Club Trophy. Way Out raced in her customary style, only this time she could not sustain all the way and finally had her winning streak arrested.

Former India cricket captain Chandu Borde received a warm reception from the racing patrons when he consented to present the trophy to Greek God’s connections.

Adil Daji trained Zander (Phoenix Tower – Merwaha, Manjri Stud) followed his last start narrow win with a comfortable victory this time round to claim the Kejriwal Trophy Div I. Jockey YS Srinath settled behind leader Peppercorn in the front bunch before piloting Zander to the front at the turn. Zander took charge and then accelerated fluently to pile up a hug lead, thus could afford to ease up in the final 100 meters. He quickened readily showing that his last run surely had stripped him a lot fitter. Zander won far more convincingly this time outpacing the rest and looking the winner long way from home. Quick Fire did well to beat the rest and finished on late, indicating that she could go one better on the Mumbai track. Cosmic Dancer yet again was in the thick of things and ran a prominent third ahead of a finishing Valentino.

Shania (Top Class – Acquisition, Mukteshwar Stud), trained by Nirad Karanjawala, won the lower division of the race with a timely sizzle to collar the runaway leader Presence close home. Presence shot out of the gates in a flash and drove in that advantage to lead them all into the straight. Once in, Presence powered ahead and worked up a handy lead. Hidden Asset, Umarkot and Quest for Love fell by the wayside as Presence galloped purposefully towards the winning post. Shania warmed up past the 300, but had some ground to cover. Past the distance post, the sway was still tilting towards Presence, however, Shania, ridden powerfully by jockey DK Ashish responded with a cracking finish to peg back Presence a stride before the winning post. Hidden Asset kicked on to run in the money. Dyna could not come up with any worthwhile challenge and ended one off the frame, well behind National Pride.

Jockey PS Chouhan rode out a solid double with both his winners receiving steady support. He first guided trainer B Prakash’s Gascony (Glory of Dancer – Rubyanne, Nanoli Stud) to a facile victory beating close rival Ensign out of sight. Gascony was matching strides with leader Ensign right from the start until the turn. Once into the straight, Gascony darted ahead and left Ensign far behind. Gascony won pulling up after stretching clear of the rest in the early half of the homestretch and looked the winner the moment she got past Ensign. Spanish Saga ran on to improve positions and end second. Moneywise put in a splendid late dash to snatch the third spot and for one who was detached from the field, this effort was a note worthy one.  

PS Chouhan the partnered Zadmal Singh’s Providence (Alnasr Alwasheek – Dancing Image, Exhilaration Stud) to a fine victory, steering clear of the fast finishing Desert Wings. Domingo led the bunch most of the way and faded out at the turn. Honest Pleasure moved up along the rails and led briefly before Providence came alongside between horses and grabbed the lead. Providence quickened for home and build a healthy lead past the distance post and was travelling smoothly too. Neither Honest Pleasure nor Fortune Hunter came up with any resistance. Desert Wings made a late charge from the widest out, but by then Providence had more than a useful lead. She won comfortably although the verdict showed only half length.

Hot favourite Mystic Romance (Placerville – Mystic Dancer, Exhilaration Stud) was the only on-money favourite on the day and boy did she oblige! Mystic Romance was quick to settle behind Star Lightning with Flying Trigger and company some distance away. Star Lightning fought on briefly in the early part of the straight, but Mystic Romance was looming large and moving a lot better. She surged past Star Lightning approaching the distance post and then sailed away to claim her maiden success in style. Star Lightning found one better and Flying Trigger ended a tame third.

Aquamarine (Mastercraftsman – Pilgrim’s Way, Nanoli Stud) was another filly that shook off maiden status in style. The Shroff trained filly had had only one outing in Mumbai and came out late this season. She looked fairly fit for the fray though going by her paddock looks. She delivered graciously showing good blend of speed and stamina while winning the 2000m trip on her Pune debut.

The lead changed a couple of times as His Highness led soon after the jump. Soon Cumbre Viyeja took over and then Khaleefa tried to pull a fast ‘un as she darted ahead to pile on a huge lead past the have way mark. That trick failed to work and Khaleefa ended her campaign on a disappointing note.

Aquamarine was always prominent and settled nicely all the way. She looked good a jockey Akshay eased her to the front soon on turning for home. A couple of cracks and she sped away from the mounting challenge coming from favourite Savage Beauty early in the straight. In the final furlong, Aquamarine grew stronger and pulled away from Savage beauty to log her first victory with a measure of comfort. Savage Beauty ran on well to finish runner up and will bide her time. She should earn her success early in Mumbai.

Adams Wing (Sedgefield – Sunwing, Jai Govind Stud) finally tasted success in her 10th attempt and she won impressively by a widening margin. Adams Wing settled nicely in fourth as Star Prince made the early running with Starriano and Guns N Roses in tow. Dream Yuga faltered at the start and never got going.

Adams Wing worked her way up to be second at the turn and then sailed ahead raising a fluent gallop inside the homestretch.  Within strides she was up and away and looked a winner long way clear. She won drawing away and without any effort from jockey Kavraj Singh. The Magan Singh Jodha ward showed out in the straight and left the field cold to bring about her maiden success.

Grand Gibraltar (Multidimensional – Blue Ridge, Usha Stud) made his late appearance count and won a well-fought race with Ocean Dream to win an engaging battle. Sitting second behind leader Peppercorn, Grand Gibraltar with Bhawani Singh in the saddle shot into the lead soon on turning for home.  There was a lot more to do as barely had the Altamash Ahmed trainee grabbed the lead from Peppercorn, Ocean Dream started to apply pressure. The duo battled hard all through the final furlong and Bhawani Singh rode his heart out in keeping the strong challenger at bay. Grand Gibraltar held on grimly to score his first career win with a gritty performance. Ocean Dream made a brave attempt and just failed to nail the winner. Trending ran a good race too, improving positions and finishing in the money.

Egyptiana (Chinese Whisper – Natouchka, Paramvir Stud) from trainer Hoshidar Daji’s yard scored an encore winning the five-furlong scurry in an emphatic fashion. She wound her way to the front from an outside draw (17) in the big field which was reduced to 19 as favourite Ravello misbehaved at the gates and was withdrawn.

Egyptiana slipped into the lead past the 800 and had As Good As Gold snapping at her tail. Once into the straight, Egytiana kept the momentum going and started to draw even further away from As Good As Gold. Jockey P Kamlesh kept his stranglehold on the race and added the finishing touches to etch out a second successive win for the promising filly. As Good As Gold once again failed to capitalize from a good position and ended runner-up for the fifth time off nine outings. Fast Lady ran on from behind to end a decent third.