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Rains Stop Trains But Not Horses

By North-End | 10 Aug 2008 | PUNE


Persistent rains may have played havoc and thrown the Central Railway schedule haywire, however, the racing action in Pune went on regardless, barring the cancellation of the Strengthtostrength Trophy. All trains originating from Pune to Mumbai were cancelled even on the morning after, leaving thousands stranded in Pune station. Race goers who travel back to Mumbai had a tough time returning as the road transport were flooded with people wanting to get home. Heavy overnight rains and no let up in the morning cast doubts over the holding of races. The track was examined a couple of times and after a final inspection a little after 12 noon it was announced that races would be held as per schedule. The Jockeys, meanwhile, sought to meet the stewards and voice their concern about their personal safety and the safety of the horses. Jockey Malesh Narredu said " In a going like this the muck that hits you from the horses in front can be very trying. The slush flying on you can hit you or the horse in the eyes blinding you in the process. The visibility also is poor. The soggy underfoot conditions can be tricky at the turns and one nervous horse/jockey can trigger a terrible mishap. Considering all this we called upon the stewards to view the situation". The stewards had a talk with some owners as well before deciding to go ahead with the races as per schedule. The Strengthtostrength Trophy (5th race) however, was cancelled, as the main track was deemed non conducive for racing. The 1200 m starts from the chute and there is only the main track, as the monsoon track circles around from the 1600 m towards the winning post giving the chute a miss. The decision to hold races was a bold one and the gentlemen concerned deserve a pat on the back as the races were incident free and as interesting as in normal conditions. In fact, The Hurricane won the main event in record timing! Shaktiman (Concordial – Golden Wish) won as he liked in the day's opener, dictating the terms right from start. Settling well after a lightning start, Shaktiman (SS Baria) accelerated even better after the turn and stretched away to win with a good measure of comfort. His rousing form could well see him pick another race in the season. Sudden Impact improved to finish runner up but could not really bridge the gap and barely held on to the 2nd place sparing just a short head to Discover. Modesty and the rest failed to make any impression. Medthias Pride hit the front and initially built a good lead. Expensive Affair settled into second and gradually cut down the lead. Siberian Siren was well off and was closer to the last horse than the leader. Red Cloud was keeping company to his stablemate Palermo. Gold Biscuit, who ended third, was in the last position. Expensive Affair took charge in the straight and looked like pulling it off. The heavily backed Siberian Siren (Diffident – Mae West) seemed too far back for the comfort of her backers, until she came into the second position and began her chase. Expensive Affair was challenged at the distance post and she quickly surrendered to the terrific finishing gallop of the Hosidar trained mare. Gold Biscuit was heavily whipped to finish third. Siberian Siren (Pradeep) impressed and did ample justice to the support she garnered. The heavily backed Golden Kingdom who was to make his debut was withdrawn at the gates. Fighting Fantasy and Forbes List (Royal Kingdom – Housewarming) were the market fancies thereon. As the gates flung open, Mypethoney and Sophie were disputing the lead with Forbes List (M Narredu) and Fighting Fantasy in striking distance. In the straight, Sophie was fighting hard to keep her presence but the blazing gallop of Forbes List was proving too hot to handle not only for Sophie but even for Fighting Fantasy. Forbes List forged ahead and kept going to win comfortably. Fighting Fantasy could only beat Sophie who ended a decent third. The rest were simply not up to it. Forbes List is an interesting proposition and needs watching. Fighting Fantasy, though fairly beaten here could improve to make an impact during the season. Golden Kingdom is for your memory. The debutant was heavily fancied and attracted a lot of betting. The fourth race saw three horses withdrawn at the gates including the firm favourite Princess Ruby. Blue Blaze (Burden Of Proof) who was next in demand capitalized well and made this opportunity count. Leading from the start, the Shroff trained filly never relented, though under pressure from Need For Speed and Aegina in the straight and won with a little to spare. Need For Speed and Aegina both mounted their challenge together, but did not make much impression on the winner who was strongly assisted by Rajendra. Aegina managed to pip Need For Speed for the second spot. Nuncio was the best of the beaten brigade. The Club Solaris Turf Club Trophy (Gr 3) had a tough bunch facing the starter and even the favourite was quoted in the threes -The Hurricane claimed that status. The Senure _ Untold Story progeny thrilled many hearts as he romped home rewriting the course record timing on the monsoon track for the seven furlong distance. In the mid bunch until the turn, The Hurricane unleashed a fiery gallop and bolted towards the winning post giving no chance to his rivals whatsoever. A confident Suraj Narredu was clinical in judging the pace and saving the best of the Katrak colt till the final two furlongs. The Hurricane was resolute in his victory. A mention of Aquilo's efforts is called for here. Not in the best of positions as the strong field of runners settled down, Aquilo bided his time and improved gradually, looking for room all the time. He took the turn wide to ensure a clear passage and started warming up nearing the distance post. His final burst was eye catching though he managed only the third spot. That he pegged back Beyond Belief in full flight was note worthy. He ended on the haunches of Hugo who ran a good second. Aquilo clearly needed more ground and looks ready to strike over a longer distance. Go Guzzi Go (Senure – Ghazwat) was simply brilliant and put in an inspired run to clinch the Mayor's trophy in style. Suraj Narredu was in his elements and won both the trophy races back to back. Despite not being the fastest out, Suraj improved rapidly and Go Guzzi Go was soon settled alongside Bourbon Queen in box seat. Western Challenge, the favorite was close behind with White Hart Lane and Manege following not too far away. Go Guzzi Go travelled beautifully and looked very comfortable as they turned for home. Here on, it was Go Guzzi Go all the way and none could match up to her fluent gallop towards home. For owner Shapoor Mistry too, it was the second winner for the day and the second Trophy going to him as well. Go Guzzi Go finished full of running and distance appears to be his forte. Sara Jahan from Asad Siddiqui's yard created a flutter in the concluding event. Mubarras and Black Warrior were the market fancies. Mubarras led the field all the way till the final furlong. Black Warrior was in striking distance and Sara Jahan was not too far behind. As they turned for home, Mubarras was joined by Sara Jahan who was gaining ground. Just when Black Warrior got into a rhythm, he took an awkward stride when he saw a lighter patch which runs across the track, which is the 'crossing passage' area a tinge brownish and different from the lush green track. That, I reckon may have slowed him down a touch and whether that cost him the race is debatable. Sara Jahan survived an objection too, as he moved in sharply under pressure causing Mubarras a check in the dying moments of the race. Since Mubarras was already beaten at that stage the stewards rightly overruled the objection. Black Warrior almost caught up with Sara Jahan and should be in the reckoning in his next outing. Jockey Suraj Narredu was the only professional to score a double claiming both the Club Solaris and the Mayor's Trophy for his owner Shapoor Mistry.