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By Mahendra Mallya | 12 Sep 2015 | PUNE

Trainer Sanjay Kolse leading Confiance (S J Sunil Up), winner of The Macchupicchu Double Stakes

The Pune weather played spoilsport as a sudden semi-deluge which grew heavier by the minute rendering the track un-conducive to hold the second half of Saturday’s races. The horses had left for the starting gates for the fifth race for the day amidst a sharp drizzle that simply refused to stop. Dark clouds gathered quickly while nature’s display of sound and light played to its known fury. Within minutes the track was flooding with the water and the visibility too being worrisome. With no sign of the showers relenting, the stewards cancelled the running of the Dakshin Maharashtra Sub-Area Trophy, hoping that there would be a let-up and the rest of the races could be run per schedule. However, insistent rains and severe wet track condition made matters worse. Jockey-s PS Chouhan and Zervan surveyed the track as did the stipes and estate officer Mr Nanjappa. After taking stock of the situation the stewards decided to cancel the remainder of the card, barring the Idar Gold Trophy (Gr3). The Idar Gold Trophy race now stands rescheduled for the following day (Sunday) and will be the day’s opener at 12:45pm followed by the advertised Sunday card.

The otherwise damp day did show a bright spot when Confiance brought about one of the easiest and fluent victory in what promised to be a close race. Final Encounter was heavily supported and pushed Confiance a rung below on the betting board. Final Encounter was quick to take charge but he could keep his lead only for the first couple of furlongs. Confiance (Varenar – Si Gentille, Equus Stud) sailed past him getting into a floating rhythm. She was on song once in the straight and travelled beautifully all the way to leave the opposition way behind. Even apprentice jockey SJ Sunil could not resist a peep over his shoulder and he thoroughly enjoyed his moment in the ‘sun’ too. Sunil has been showing high learning ability and with proper guidance, has the potential to develop into a competitive jockey in the future. Final Encounter ended chasing the winner and I reckon the heavy impost did him in. Indus Prince did well to snatch the third place in a close finish. The Soprano too improved places. Sea Horse took too long to surface and her report card will show a downward curve.

As for Confiance, trainer Sanjay Kolse can take a bow for having tuned him to perfection. Such awe-inspiring success does motivate the professionals and Sanjay Kolse should be able to get a lot more out of this impressive filly.

 Dr MAM Ramaswamy’s Bold Appeal (Arazan – Bold Bird, Poona Stud) justified the strong support he received and was the only horse backed with high confidence. The race was a close contest between the most fancied runners with the ‘also ran’ pack defeated within the first quarter of the sprint. Magnum Opus led the closely bunched up front runners with Denny Crane, Bold Appeal and Ali Boxer with Armando tagging behind a couple of lengths.

Magnum Opus kept on but soon Denny Crane surged past him. Denny Crane accelerated well, but could not counter the challenge when Bold Appeal started to apply pressure. Bold Appeal took his time to produce that final dash, but when he did, it was all over. Jockey Neeraj Rawal was hard at work and his effort paid rich dividends as Bold Appeal got past Denny Crane in the final 50 meters to score his maiden win on his seventh start.

Toofan (Kingda Ka – January’s Storm, Nanoli Stud) improved from his last start decent effort to bring about his first win in Pune. He had it surprisingly easy as favorite Hoshiyaar failed to live up to his top billing. Toofan was off to a good start and worked his way to the front and set his own pace for the mile race. Jockey NS Parmar took off at the turn and kept the momentum going all the way. He increased the margin with every stride and approaching the distance post, was well clear of the rest. Remembrance of You enjoyed the rail run and entered the straight slipping past Annie and Hoshiyaar. However, that was all the progress she could make, ending just under five lengths from the winner.

Regal (Mull of Kintyre – Terre Blanche, Ruia Stud) in the hands of DK Ashish, won the first race of the day, but not before thwarting a strong challenge from Dia.

Allegiance and Regal were away to a good start and enjoyed a sizable led over the rest. Shown and favorite Simply Shining were next, but more than five lengths behind, Dia was even further behind.

Regal got the measure of Allegiance soon in the straight and Ashish capitalized on the early advantage to go clear of the field. Simply Shining had a lot to cover, and he was not exactly catching up. Dia produced a steady run to as much as join Regal past the distance post. The pair battled hard and jockey Ashish’s superior effort helped quell the challenger.

Sunday’s races now has the added glitter with the addition of the Idar Trophy to a fine day’s racing. Being the day of the Southern Command Trophy, the forces will display unique battle skills of a different kind with choppers and a large range of artillery display that is sure to be breathtaking to the civilian crowd.  Mock war drills and enemy engagements has always been awe-inspiring and one gets to actually witness live military action at the centre of the racecourse! Don’t forget, racing begins a 12:45 on Sunday.