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By Mahendra Mallya | 24 Jul 2015 | PUNE

Trainer Adhirajsingh Jodha leading Gold Bag (A Sandesh Up), winner of The P Hadow Trophy

Jockey A Sandesh came on strongly after drawing a blank on the opening day to boot home three winners, each of whom were well-backed in the betting ring. Followers of favourites though, suffered for the second day running, as the previous day’s trends of long-shots coming through with regularity.

Prime fancy Star of Babylon (Oath – Arthi, Pratap Stud) was Sandesh’s first win of the season and the SS Shah ward looked battle ready in the paddock parade. He settled quickly along the rails in the mid-bunch but well in touch with those in action at the front.

Dhanyavaad led them homewards with Mighty Splendour and Sansani close behind. Sandesh improved positions to lay fourth as they turned for home. Dhanyavaad stayed comfortably ahead on straightening up. Neither Mighty Splendour nor Sansani were up to the task. Sandesh produced Star of Babylon from the outside and the bay gelding put in a strong gallop to pass those in front effortlessly and score a fluent victory. Dhanyavaad ended second with Sansani and Mighty Splendour in tow.

Gold Bag (Sedgefield – Blue Jay) bagged the P Hadow Trophy with a fighting run, breaking through a bunch of horses vying for the trophy in a charging finish. Ice Zone, Hidden Asset and favourite Egyptiana were matching strides at the turn with the rest, Gold Bag included, a good three lengths away.

Hidden Asset asserted himself and shot past the two alongside him. Egyptiana was ridden out, but failed to accelerate. Apache made his move from very wide outside and Gold Bag began to catch up at the distance post. Once Sandesh unleashed the Adhiraj trainee, Gold Bag surged forward as though relishing the panned out field’s challenge and put in a strong finishing gallop. She picked up speed at a good rate and got past the opposition that was galloping at full steam as well. Gold Bag won convincingly with Fortune Favours doing well to make the runner-up grade. Apache, almost brushing the outer rails, headed out Remember Me, the latter too making good progress to end a close fourth.

Jockey Sadesh then guided Karthik’s Strategic Move (Dancing Forever – Springbreakmistake, Hazara Stud) to a authoritative victory and this was perhaps his easiest ride of the day. Sandesh hit the front and never looked back. It was even easier in the straight as Strategic Move galloped on gamely right through, looking the winner even as they turned for home. Mount Rushmore, the joint favourite with the winner, chased the leader all the through the straight, without any hope. Royal Sapphire just managed to take the third spot from the fast finishing Balchandra. The latter was guilty of a lethargic start, yet he managed to end the fourth spot.

Fearless Nadia (Oath – X Factor, Pratap Stud) galloped resolutely to down hot favourite Velvet Amari. The latter seemed to be travelling sweetly in front and even looked good turning for home. That equation changed in a matter of strides, as Fearless Nadia with Trevor on board produced an electric burst and bounded forward readily to stun the on-money favourite. Velvet Amari ended second well ahead of Pearl Secret. This run should strip her fitter and i wouldn’t write of Velvet Amari just yet. She should be watched in her next.

The Malesh-Yash duo made ample amends for the loss on Velvet Amari and struck in the very next race with Another Conquest (Phoenix Tower – Star Conquest, Manjri Stud ). Settling in the third spot, Another Conquest followed favourite Christmas Eve and Itscaro into the straight. Yash, having unsuccessfully tried to squeeze between the two front runners causing him a check at a crucial juncture, bounced back commendably to skirt around the horses and mount a steady challenge. He surged past Itscaro to post a scintillating victory, pulling away from the runner-up in the final few strides. Christmas Eve fell back and finished in the rut.

Zodiac (Pheonix Tower – Gobelin, Manjri Stud) posted a runaway victory stunning the opposition with a scorching gallop in the homestretch. Zervan looked totally confident as he allowed his mount to settle as he liked and looked to have assessed the situation well. Domingo faded out after leading the field home and Golden Belle was quick to take charge. However, even before her supporters could shout her on, Zodiac arrived with gigantic strides to thunder ahead within moments and stamp his authority in split seconds. Zodiac looked class apart and strode out majestically to imply that he is in top form and could muster an encore before long. Golden Belle, although looking fit, had no answer to this Zodiac-blitz but will live to fight another day.

Lucky Charm (Chamo – Madame Commish, Singh Stud) came like a bolt from the blue to blow away the field with surprising ease. He took off at a break neck speed and held a position of strength on turning for home. Bidstone Hill, who was closest to Lucky Charm at the turn, just could not raise a gallop. Veni Vidi Vici too failed to accelerate. Alderley Edge and Blue Flame improved towards the end to take the minor placing far behind Lucky Charm. Make way For me was withdraw at the gates. The other ante-post favourite Imperial Princess was never in the hunt.

Blavatsky (Steinbeck – Psychic Light, Mehra Stud) moved from behind in the early stages and was constantly on the improve, particularly when approaching the final turn. By then Soul Centric had stolen a march and left Savage Garden and Romantic Beauty behind. However, Soul Centric squandered a good lead as she failed to sustain and could only watch Blavatsky storm past in the final 100 meters and snatch victory close home.

The concluding race of the day was the most exciting. Aleta (Excellent Art – You Sau I Say, Broadacres Stud) sprung a surprise to deny victory to favourite Multinational the popular fancy. True Heir brought the field home and then fell back as Aleta quickly moved up to take to the lead. Aleta managed to gallop at a steady pace and was stubbornly galloping on even as \multinational arrived with threatening strides. Rookie DM Ayyar displayed nerves of steel as he focused on the task at hand and gave it his best shot. Multination was gaining on him at a fast clip but in the end, Ayyar’s determined effort bore fruit and he managed to score his firs success by the narrowest of margins.

For the professionals, young Adhirajsingh Jodha saddled a double, while jockey A Sandesh scored a treble.