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By Mahendra Mallya | 08 Aug 2015 | PUNE

Mr. Dinsha P. Shroff & Mr. Munchi P. Shroff leading The General (Yash Narredu Up), winner of The Strengthtostrength Trophy

With a benefit of a run under his belt and a hefty pull in weights, The General (Phoenix Tower – Sunshiner, Manjri Stud) led from the front and was never headed. Aquamarine chased the leader in vain; however, she did pose a challenge in the final furlong. Aquamarine looked a trifle rusty and may have needed this run to blow away the cobwebs of the longish layoff. The General on the other hand, was smooth in taking over the running and piled on a handy lead right though to sail away in the end and clinch the Strengthtostrength Trophy in style.

Jockey Trevor had a good start for the day winning the first two races comfortably. He piloted popular fancy Via Amoris (Royal Gladiator – Callisto, Pratap Stud) to a fine start to finish victory giving her supporters no cause to worry. Via Amoris had Reality for company until they straightened up, after which, Via Amoris looked solid in her finishing effort. Reality failed to sustain the advantage and feel back. Rain Dance was looking good in the final furlong and did well to take the runner up spot quite easily, though clearly behind the winner. Sanam too improved towards the end to fill the frame.

Trevor then guided El Camino (Rebuttla – Empress Jessie, Hazara Stud) to a well-earned victory. Sitting last of four, El Camino played the waiting game and moved up past the 800. Zodiac found himself in front as there was no taker for the early lead. When the race took a serious turn, Zodiac packed up alarmingly and failed to even raise a fight, finishing a dismal last. Rule Downunder came purposefully and made El Camino work hard to gain an advantage in the straight. The latter however, once he got into his rhythm, won drawing away. More victories are in store for the Pesi Shroff ward, going by this showing.

Suraj Narredu however, compiled a neat double in the following races atop Traherne and Continental for the Mistry camp, both scoring facile victories. Although Suraj enjoyed an armchair ride atop Continental, he had to work hard to get the measure of Forever Young well into the straight, before stretching out to finish nicely. Forever Yours capitalized on a good start and led them into the straight. She fought grittily until Traherne essayed her challenge and gradually wore her down. Traherne (Phoenix Tower – Caborig, Manjri Stud) has shed her maiden status in her second run and looks a good type.

Continental (Rip Van Winkle – Samsa, Manjri Stud) was easily the pick of the day and looked a winner even before the turn! She settled beautifully and wherever she liked. Night of Stars made the early running only to escort Continental into the homestretch. Once in the straight, Continental came charging in and swiftly sailed past them all, to runaway fluently and score her second win from two starts. She certainly looks one for the Classics. Pearl Secret clearly lost to a better filly and did well for herself coming in with a late dash to pip Night of Stars for the second spot.

Yash Narredu too added to his victory on The General and secured a double when he rode veteran trainer SS Shah’s ward Turf Dancer (Diffident – Encouragement, Yerwada Stud) to a solid victory. Favourite Godsent had a terrible race as he was hanging throughout and Trevor had a tough time controlling his erratic ways in the straight. Godsent led from the start and even entered the straight with a handy lead. However, he took the turn slightly wide and then drifted further out in the straight to end up closer to the outer railing and squandering away a good start. Turf Dancer got going the moment they entered the straight and sailed past Allee Bleue to grab the lead and go surging ahead. He sustained his momentum all through the straight and won readily. Victorio improved towards the end and snatched the runner-up berth from Godsent.

Strategic Move (Dancing Forever – Springbreakmistake, Hazara Stud) scored an encore and was even more impressive this time out. He defied the raise in class and the penalty and brushed off his opponents with disdain. The key to this was to ensure a good jump from an outside draw. Sandesh duly did just that to perfection. Once out of the gates, Sandesh had him up in front on the haunches of early leader Ramesses.

Into the straight, Strategic Move did not need any assistance as he galloped resolutely to pull away from Ramasses. Strategic Move was dominant in the straight and once he began accelerating he looked even more convincing. His manner of victory implies that he could go on and compile a hat-trick as well.

The concluding race of the day saw prime fancy Belgian Blue (Acclamation – Bea Bea Three, Nanoli Stud) put in a bullish run to register his maiden victory in style. He justified the favouritism, jumping out smartly and then accelerating well to establish a good early lead. Once in the straight, DK Ashish had little to do as the Vishal Geakwad trainee bounded forward eating up ground at an alarming rate. He won without losing any steam and blew away the field completely. Blue Flame was unlucky to have found an opponent in this mood and ended a tame second ahead of Royal Sapphire and Cold Play.    

For the prsfessionals, trainer Pesi Shroff saddled a double, while jockeys P Trevor, Suraj Narredu and Yash Narredu drove home a double each.