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By Mahendra Mallya | 03 Oct 2015 | PUNE

Mr Sarosh H Modi & Mr Darius B Chenoy leading Phoenix Fire (Suraj Narredu Up), winner of The October Handicap

Jockey Suraj Narredu was at his brilliant best in the saddle riding out four winners on the day, thus joining the party along with Trevor and Dashrath Singh who have been in the headlines for similar feats of late. Form horses ruled the day with the second favourites scoring over the prime fancies in majority of the races. Only one 10/1 shot in Show Biz ensured that there were no major upsets and form held good on the day.

The October Handicap wore an open look with Sea Horse @ 3/1 as the first fancy. Sentimental, Phoenix Fire and Blitzkrieg had their share of supporters as well and the betting trends looked healthy.

Desert Lily got past Phoenix Fire to lead the field but her essay petered out soon in the straight. Phoenix Fire quickened to take charge with Suraj riding the Bezan Chenoy ward vigorously. They soon sailed ahead to a handy lead. Sea Horse took the turn about four horses wide and then tried to catch up with the leader. It was clear that Phoenix Fire would win the race long way from home as Suraj had picked up momentum at the right time and Phoenix Fire too showing no signs of slowing down, winning the race easing up in the final few strides. Sea Horse beat the rest comfortably to earn the runner-up spot. Sentimental disappointed as she failed to quicken when asked for an effort. Blitzkrieg would do best over the scurry.

Suraj started his day with a fluent win atop Square Moon (Sedgefield – Shining Force, Jai Govind Stud). He had the Magan Singh Jodha ward well-settled in third behind favourite Starry Brook and Saker, with Ricochet in tow. They raced in the same order until the turn with Starry Brook enjoying a handy lead with 400 to go. Suraj alerted Square Moon soon on straightening up and got him going approaching the distance post. Square Moon had a lot in the tank as he covered ground briskly towards the end of the 2400m trip. Starry Brook buckled when challenged and Saker looked beat long before. Square Moon got past them both with a measure of comfort and landed his first win this season without encountering any resistance and certainly was the best in the field.

Suraj then partnered Stand And Dance (Sedgefield – Saffron, Jai Govind Stud) with an aggressive stretch-run. Although his victory was impressive, it did lose a bit of sheen as the prime favourite Critics Choice (backed to evens or less) whipped around at the jump and took no part in the race. That can take nothing away from Stand And Dance who scored his second victory this season, this one far better with a widening margin.  

Speed Baby and Chase The Ace were matching strides in front with Chlobud and Stand And Dance close behind and Cold Play too was up next. On entering the straight, Stand And Dance had to wait to get an opening between the duo in front, while Chlobud made his move from the outside. The moment Chase The Ace weakened, Suraj Seized the opportunity and shot ahead between the two. Once he got the gap Stand And Dance galloped resolutely to simply bound forward and leaving the rest far behind at a good rate. Chlobud worked hard to down Speed Baby for the runner-up slot.

Keeping on the rend of winning alternate race continued as Suraj struck for the fourth time with Magan’s Sweet As Honey (Arabian Gulf – Radiating, Manjri Stud). Suraj kept Sweet As Honey in the front bunch, just behind Pretty in Patpong and Imperial Princess, with the favourite Shining Melody close behind. Imperial Princess accelerated well and went into the lead briefly, but the moment Sweet As Honey got going, there was no stopping her. She quickened well and Suraj ensured that she galloped on to quell every aspiring challenger’s threat. In the end, Sweet As Honey carved out her second successive victory by just over a length.

Dashrath Singh kept up his good run with a double on the day. He first guided rookie Show Biz (Arabian Gulf – Liesl, Manjri Stud) to her maiden win in only her second start. Show Biz needed just one educative run to get into the winners’ circle and she brought about her first win without encountering any serious threat. She ambled into the lead easily taking advantage of the inside draw and then set off to a comfortable pace all the way into the straight. Atalya, the favourite followed Show Biz into the homestretch with Alanzo alongside.

Once in the straight, Show Biz stepped on it and sped further away. She did run a trifle green as she shifted out at the distance post, however, Dashrath Singh corrected her and ensured that the slight blemish didn’t cause any concern. Show Biz, trained by Imtiaz Sait, kicked on to win comfortably. Alanzo progressed to second ahead of Atalya.

Dashrath then Partnered Star (Arabian Gulf – Star Princess, Manjri Stud) to a commanding victory and justified the heavy flow of money coming in on Star at race time. Invincible was quickest out and soon Star and the speedy Joleene started to moved alongside and the trio turned for home together. Star poked through from the middle to storm ahead and accelerated sweetly to shatter the hopes of the rest. Dashrath Singh egged Star on and the Narendra Lagad trainee bounded forward gracefully to score a handsome victory. Joleene ended up chasing the winner and Ainra improved over her series of dismal performances to finish with the money.   

Congressional (Razeen - Kerataka, Usha Stud) made amends for his last time loss and scored a much needed victory. Ageless learnt quickly from her last start tardy start and swung into the elad at the jump this time. She led them into the straight but failed to capitalize on the good start. Congressional moved powerfully in the straight to easily get past Ageless and win by a litte over a length.

Jockey P Trevor scored just once in the opening race of the day. Intelligence (Rip Van Winkle – Aurora Aurealis, Nanoli Stud) was second in demand after favourite Jazzmyn and Trevor rode her to an impeccable start to finish victory. Intelligence strode out majestically in the homestretch to win drawing away. Jazzmyn improved to second but failed to match up to the brilliance of Intelligence, ending a far away second.

Simply Shining (Sedgefield – Shining Force, Jai Govind Stud) earned her maiden win in her sixth outing and she had to dig deep to keep Ensign at bay. Jockey J Chinoy got her going in the straight and build up a handy lead midway in the straight. Ensign started to bridge the gap in the final furlong and although Simply Shining always held the upper hand, Ensign was getting far too close for comfort. In the end, J Chinoy gave his all and held on to carve out a win by the shortest of margins. Ensign was a trifle unlucky to miss out on her memorable first success by a split second.

For the professionals, Jockey Suraj Narredu was the shining star with four wins while Dashrath logged a double. The father-son duo Magan Singh & Adhirajsingh saddled a double each while Bezan Chenoy too chipped in with a double.