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By Mahendra Mallya | 09 Aug 2015 | PUNE

Adam (Trevor Patel Up), winner of The Pune Bookmakers' Association Turf Club Trophy (Gr.3)

The Pune Bookmakers’ Association Turf Club Trophy (Gr3) had a very open line-up as a tough bunch of 14 runners were in the fray and at least half a dozen of them had their own chunk of following. Adam however, was the favourite, quoted at 7/2 at race time.

Each of the 14 jumped out smartly and it was Polydences who showed good early speed to set a scorching pace from stride one. Royal Salute was right next with Victorious March, Quick Fire, Dancing Prances and Adam closely huddled together. The rest were not too far from the action either.

Once they straightened from home, Royal Salute easily got past Polydences, the latter showing little gumption to take the battle any further. Adam, with Trevor astride, quickened nicely to challenge Royal Salute with about 300 to go. At the distance post, these two were up and away and none from behind, Dancing Prances included, looked threatening.  

At one point, inside the final furlong, it appeared that Adam was going to step it up and account for Royal Salute easily. However, Royal Salute displayed his fitness from his recent successful Bangalore campaign and began to match Adam stride for stride, sticking by Adam all the way to the wire. It was indeed an electrifying finish and although Adam was hailed for his win, Royal Salute was valorous in defeat.

Imran Khan lodged an objection against Trevor for striking him on the hand with the whip therefore he was inconvenienced. The stewards after due deliberations overruled the objection.

Knight of Ke caught the eye while coming from behind to finish a blazing third, getting past a good bunch. Trance too made considerable ground and did well to figure in the frame. Another one, who finished off the frame, but looked on the improve was Rosie Sunshine (ended 6th). Rosie Sunshine can take a few pluses from this hard race and now looks better prepared. The filly bears watching over a shorter sprint.

The above grade III race was supported by the Star Supreme Double Sakes, another contest with excitement written large all over it. Sure enough the finish was a close one and Himalayan Queen (Captain Rio – Maid of Artois, Hazara) made a bold, dramatic bid in the dying moments of the race to snatch the race from Classic Moment, a stride shy of the winning post.

Full Moon and Hidden Asset were quickest out with Fibonacci Sequence alongside. Another Conquest, the favourite was close behind with Classic Moment on the outside. Himalayan Queen had Gangnam Style trailing by a couple of lengths and that’s the order in which they turned for home.

Both Hidden Asset and Full Moon ran out of steam as Fibonacci Sequence took charge briefly. Classic Moment arrived with a good run and shot into the lead approaching the distance post. Inside the final furlong, Classic Moment seemed to have sealed the deal, however, in the final fifty or so, Himalayan Queen lit up and jockey Kamlesh made his bid from the wide outside at just the right moment to peg back Classic Moment narrowly at the finish. Fibonacci Sequence looked fit and would probably find another furlong more suitable, while Another Conquest found he class II bunch a bit too tough o handle. Unlike in her earlier races, Another Conquest did not find it as easy to stay up with the scorching pace and was caught struggling a bit in the mid-bunch, ending a tame fourth.

Polished Chrome (Arazan – Miss Danehil, Villoo’s Greenfield Stud) made ample amends to her last start failure and held on grimly to thwart the challenge from Valentino. Accompanying Ashrafie right from the start, Polished Chrome surged into the lead early in the straight and did well to sustain the momentum all the way to the wire. While Ashrafie fell back, Valentino gained places to set up the chase. Joleene and Hudson Hawk could not match up to the top two.

Polished Chrome held on to the early advantage and Zervan ensured that she never let her guard down. Valentino provided a game challenge but never looked a grave threat. Polished Chrome galloped on to win convincingly, while Valentino ended a good second.

Sweeping Star (Arazan – Sweeping Success, Exhilaration Stud) showed a clean pair of heels and ran away to a stylish start to finish victory, capitalising on the weight advantage and a nippy start. She played ‘catch me if you can’ as she piled on a healthy lead through the back-stretch and maintained it all the way through. Zana, the public fancy, did not find the right kind of assistance from the saddle. Apprentice jockey G Santosh too put it mildly rode an ordinary race. While Sweeping Star had worked up a fine rhythm, Zana was ridden well off the fence and taking the final turn rather wide. Sweeping Star was relentless in her finish and stayed clear of Zana, who had to even fight for the runner-up spot with rank outsider Presence. Both His Highness and Spade ran woefully below par. Spades was up with the pace but called it a day a lot sooner than expected. His Highness was never in the hunt.

Enthralling (Phoenix Tower – Bratz, Manjri Sud) returned a fluent winner justifying the heavy support she received in the betting. She took off well from the gates and travelled nicely all the way into the straight. Multinational, her closest rival was stalking Enthralling all along and one was bracing for a keen duel that was not to be as Enthralling sped ahead zestfully and never gave any chance to Multinational of getting past. Jorell disappointed, while Batman ended a good third.

Phoenix Fire (Phoenix Tower – Star Qualities, Manjri Stud) shook off her maiden status with a fluent start to finish victory, keeping close rival Magnum Opus at bay in a close finish. The fight began soon on turning for home. Phoenix Fire had the early advantage and Suraj egged her on. Magnum Opus joined in with about a furlong to go. The duo battled hard but Phoenix Fire always held a slender upper hand and rose to the occasion to drive home that advantage. Magnum Opus was gallant in defeat and will live to fight another day.

The concluding race was Lucky Pineapple (Phoenix Tower – Miss Danehil, Villoo’s Greenfield Stud) pulling off an easy win, beating raging favourite Babylon to third. Lucky Pineapple entered the straight and unleashed an electrifying run to sail past the leading favourite effortlessly. Babylon led them into the straight and failed to sustain. Aeolus Maximus kicked on to beat Babylon for the runner-up berth.

For the professionals, jockey Suraj Narredu was the lone pro to carve out a double.