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Rejuvenite, Oasis Star Compare Nostrils for Chantilli Challenge

By North-End | 21 Sep 2008 | PUNE


Two top horses from Western India Autonomy in the SAP Million and Oasis Star in the Chantilli Challenge the past two Sundays diluted their records somewhat but not their reputation. Barely had the debate over Autonomy's narrow loss had settled down racing patrons were fed a new one this time with another angle to it as to which one was narrower! Oasis Star and Rejuvenite fought over every blade of grass on the monsoon track and the margin at the wire was even thinner than the thickness of the blade. This is racing at its best! Oasis Star, making an appearance for the first time this season in Pune, looked formidable despite having to carry more than 60 kg as per the terms of the race. He looked a picture of fitness in the paddock and few would have foreseen what was in store. The other contenders too looked impressive as they should in a field of horses rated in three figures (only Ming, Pepe Junior and Call To Arms were rated below 100), but one look at Oasis Star and one would dismiss the thought of wagering on any other runner. As the starter got them off, Lady One was quick to take the early initiative closely followed by Escravos. Oasis Star came next and was tracked alongside by Rejuvenite (TirolLiebestraum). The others were in close attendance in a tightly packed bunch. At the turn, Lady One was gasping and Oasis Star appeared to the fore and barely stepped on the gas when a spirited Rejuvenite came along to question his superiority. The pair was engaged in a classic battle with Oasis Star holding a paper-thin advantage for all but the last stride. Both Wayne Smith and KPG Appu put in their best and ended in a blinder of a finish, split seconds off the course record. The judge announced Rejuvenite the winner a hundredth of a second separating the two! Many in the stands were confounded by the judge's verdict but one man stood out in his personal judgment. Deepak Rajpal, the race caller, stuck his neck out and called Rejuvenite may have got Oasis Star on the post!Without the luxury of a slow-mo replay, this indeed was a commendable and a brave call. The gent has been more right than wrong and considering he has only the split second to make his call, this was an outstanding sense of judgement and definitely praiseworthy. Ruben Star is knocking on the doors and in both his starts this season has made his presence felt. He ended a good third and Cotswold Arms too was a good fourth assisted by Ms. Lisa Jones in the saddle - a last minute change for the indisposed Rajendra. Ikaria (Juniper Symphony) strode to an impressive victory in the Fair Heaven Trophy and at healthy odds at that. Sea Princess the 7/4 favourite never looked threatening at any stage. Socaroro did reasonably well to end up second best. Spitz, who was well up all the way, did try and make a race of it and was fighting till the post. Ikaria who was racing well off the early pace (was 7th early on) improved steadily and waited till the distance post to shift into top gear. Malesh tore through between Socaroro and Spitz and coasted to an untroubled victory. Ikaria was impressive and a hat-trick is not out of reach for this Dhunjibhoy gelding. That the day was not going to be easy for followers of money was announced loud and clear by the winner of the first race itself, the name 'Itsracingafterall suggesting it all. Only two first favourites, Katania in the second and Star Impact in the seventh, obliged in the eight races slated for the day. Itsracingafterall (AlwaysARainbow Asprilla) a 12/1 shot from Dr. Anil Kumar's yard hit the front soon on start and darted ahead to a sizable lead by the turn. In the straight, Star Luxurious came alongside and looked like making a fight of it, but Itsracingafterall had still a lot left and jockey Baria pushed for home towards the closing stages to win by a comfortable length and a half. Recardo the favourite though third was most part never really looked prominent and ended so. The word was that Recardo threw his bit, the bridle loosened and a hapless Rajendra could do little justice to the mount. Barbara too was not up to it and retired far too early to finish a detached last. Not her true run and this run is best ignored. Katania (Duja Shanavi) made light of the heavy weight she was carrying to win from the word 'go' without undue fuss. Although Mypethoney was matching strides with her all the way, Katania finished on well to surge ahead soon on turning for home and posted a comfortable victory. Mypethoney ensured that no one else passed her. Borzu Again did well to grab the place money coming in from the rear to end ahead of Discover. Rubaiyat reportedly bled during the race. Brad, after his close finish third last Sunday was strongly fancied in this bunch. Excellent Gift and Hava Nagila (Young Senor Premier Possession) were the joint leaders and had Alohamora close behind. Brad took his time but improved gradually; Zen was caught between horses soon on start and never really settled down, while Fighting Fantasy was also seeking a clear run all the time. As they straightened for home, Hava Nagila went clear leaving little doubt that she was at her best. Alohamora was getting nowhere nearer. Brad began to gallop and started to cover ground and only managed to narrow the margin as Hava Nagila went past the winning post in style. Brad, I reckon, will need at least a furlong more and that will give him more ground to assert himself. The Red Rufus Trophy wore an open look. The top-weighted Beyond Therapy hit the front and worked up a handy lead. The Brave Heart, Firefoot and Balthazaar followed close behind. Wafadar and the rest were not too far back. Star Girl was slowly off and worse, had to encounter further traffic problems. Beyond Therapy led the field homewards but was soon passed by Balthazaar who was moving nicely along. Once Balthazaar (Alnasr Alwasheek Lome) took charge there was very little others could do. Balthazaar kicked on for an authoritative win. Generalissimo came from a long way back to end a noteworthy second and looks better off over six furlongs. Wafadar had a decent run to figure in the frame. Beyond Therapy is also to be watched for in near future. Star Impact provided some respite to followers of money who were having a hard time. Appu thankfully did not create any suspense and forged ahead straight away, but was soon passed by Expensive Affair who then led till they turned for home. Once in the straight, Star Impact (Major Impact Starafar) bounded forward and looked a winner long way from home. Expensive Affair once again found one better and this is the fourth time in a row that she has ended up as a runner-up. Kapathos who was always behind the pair ended so to claim place money. Star Impact was impressive and looks good for more. Frangipani (ConcordialGolden Future) provided a fine treble for trainer Altaf Hussain and won fluently. Hitting the front soon on start Frangipani out classed the opposition to canter to a 7-length victory. He was never tested and the rest were nowhere near. Jolteon got past a couple of horses to end a tame second and Sudden Impact saved the place money. Frangipani impressed and will be a live force in his next start as well. Trainer Altaf hussain had a memorable day saddling three good priced winners while jockey KPG Appu scored a good double. Hava Nagila fetched a whopping Rs 1,166 for a tenner on the totes.