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By Mahendra Mallya | 05 Sep 2015 | PUNE

Mr Dinsha P. Shroff, Mr Munchi P. Shroff & trainer M Narredu leading The General (Yash Narredu Up), winner of The Highland Rule Trophy

Strongly fancied The General (Phoenix Tower – Sunshiner, Manjri Stud) galloped to expectations while winning the Highland Rule Trophy with a measure of comfort, in command, for most of the 2400m journey. He got off to a steady start and led the small field until Al Shamsheer made an attempt to scoot away and trick The General. However, The General did not fall for this ploy and did not let Al Shamsheer go too far ahead, once the latter got past him past the half way stage. The General, with Yash in the saddle, galloped strongly once they turned for home and had little difficulty in sailing past Al Shamsheer to pocket the trophy without any fuss. He stayed well and was finishing full of steam. Al Shamsheer lost to a better horse for the distance and ended a decent second. Caesars Star raised no hope to finish third, a distance ahead of Okavango, who showed no zip at any point.

Mind of Madness (Mathematician – Perfect Rhythm, Sans Craintes Stud) proved too fast for the rest to clinch the Radio One Run in an emphatic manner. She shot off the blocks with alacrity and kept the momentum going all the way. She was followed a couple of lengths behind by Chote Nawab and favourite Phoenix Knight. Godstouch was sluggish at the start, but made progress to take the place money.

Mind of Madness quickened well soon on turning for home and within split seconds had bounded forward to shut out the opposition. Jockey SJ Sunil just gave her a reminder at the turn and that was all that was needed. Mind of Madness surged forward readily and looked the winner long way from home. Pierce Arrow ran on improving places to end chasing the winner.

Trainer CD Katrak and jockey Amyn Merchant pulled off a double with hot favourite Red Bug (Noverre – Just Julie, Sohna Stud) and 8-1 shot Melinda (Dancing Forever – Superlative, Hazara Stud) for owner Mr Maloji Bhonsle.

Red Bug galloped to his maiden victory in clinical fashion.  Merchant settled him in second behind leader Grand Vitesse well into the straight. When given the go ahead, Red Bug quickened nicely to easily surge ahead and kicked away for a victory without dropping sweat. Grand Vitesse ran on, but was beaten to the second by Believer, who would have tuned in well for a promising next outing. Sawgrass was too far back to make an impact, as was Studiofiftytwo, the latter managing to find a spot in the frame.

Melinda won a real thriller. Although she was consistent right through in Mumbai, Melinda was neglected in the betting, probably for an ordinary last run. Well, she made them all pay as she arrived with a scintillating late run that was timed to a nicety by jockey Amyn Merchant.

Melinda was way back in the mid-pack as Golden Belle dictated the early pace, going at a good clip. Favourite Dramarama was right up next as they turned for home. Golden Belle accelerated well to keep the hard ridden Dramarama at bay, although the latter was breathing down her neck all the time. Moussaeif was right behind, but could not dig any deeper. Melinda made her run from the outside and was covering ground briskly. She easily got past Moussaeif and Dramarama, but had to give it all to peg back Golden Belle a stride from the wire to snatch victory from Golden Belle.

Sunny Sea floored the pool hunters with a flashy run to not only overhaul favourite Abigail but also ward off a serious late challenge from Phoenix Fire. Jockey TS Jodha led briefly at the jump and then settled close behind Abigail until the turn. Joleene, Abbey and Phoenix Fire were a closely huddled and the rest were too far away.

Sunny Sea made a decisive surge on entering the straight and Abigail looked short of run. He was beaten before he received a check and fell considerably back to finish in the rut. Joleene showed some spirit as she progressed to challenge the leader, however, it was Phoenix Fire who finished on fastest to get closest to Sunny Sea, who held on to win narrowly.

Pure Bliss (Placerville – Praise of Folly, Villoo’s Greenfield Stud) reproduced her winning performance in Mumbai after a no-show in her season opener. The victory was even more sensational as Pure Bliss took a sluggish jump and lost a couple of lengths at the start. Majestic Light tore away from the field and was way ahead of the rest. However, he ran out of gas as quickly and petered out at the turn.

Fireproof went for the lead soon on turning for home, but was constantly challenged by B Fifty Two. Dancing Lord was taking his time finding his rhythm and he had to skirt around the horses in front as well. He finally broke free and just when he looked to take charge, Pure Bliss arrived with a strong gallop from the wide outside. Apprentice Ajinkya confidently urged the Sunderji ward who responded brilliantly to carve out a big win. The well supported Fireproof wrested the third spot from B Fifty Two.

Enthralling (Phoenix Tower – Bratz, Manjri Stud) lived up to the top billing he received to post back to back victories. She was quick on the jump and rookie jockey Raghuveer Singh didn’t put a foot wrong. He led all the way and once into the straight, he was off hands and heels pushing Enthralling ahead and away from Zahrazan who was in chase all through. Enthralling galloped on smoothly to score easily, Zarhazan simply could not catch up. Seven Seas did well to take the third spot. In this form, Enthralling looks in line for a three-in-a-row.

Sweet As Honey (Arabian Gulf – Radiating, Manjri Stud) scored a first win in Pune and added to her solitary win which came in Mumbai last. She looked fit and ready and that showed clearly in her stretch run. Favourite True Heir carried on after a good start and was leading in the homestretch. Sweet As Honey started to devour ground approaching the distance post. When challenged, True Heir had little to offer and he surrendered tamely. Sweet As Honey zipped past easily to score a comfortable victory. Sofia’s was a run to note as she arrived from a long way back to end a steaming in third ahead of Cavalia.

June (Alnasr Alwasheek – Delta Port, Manju Meadows Stud) carved out a clean start to finish victory in the concluding race of the day. She took a good jump and surged ahead fighting off Oreius for the lead and soon favourite Intelligence joined in with the front runners.

Once in the straight, June kicked on gamely while Intelligence came under pressure. Jockey DK Ashish rode his heart out, but simply could not get to June who had Yash Narredu astride. It looked a close battle, but in the final moments, June clearly looked in command closer home. Oreius ran below expectations ending a tame third.

For the professionals, trainer CD Katrak saddled a double, while jockeys Yash Narredu and Amyn Merchant scored a double each.