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By Mahendra Mallya | 29 Jul 2016 | PUNE

Trainer Faisal A Abbas leading Holy Smoke (Suraj Narredu Up), winner of The Fair Haven Trophy

Impressive Holy Smoke (Phoenix Tower – Little Treasure, Manjri Stud) continued from where he signed off in Mumbai to log his fifth straight win between the two centers. The odds on Holy Smoke which opened at little over evens, saw it rise to nearly 6/4 at race time before being backed down once again. Persian Prince was the only other contender to receive good support and the rest were completely neglected in the betting ring.

Persian Prince was out quick and set the tempo for the race with Holy Smoke settling just behind the leader. Remember Me was slow at the gates and lost a distance at the start. Persian Prince led them into the straight with Holy Smoke and Suraj Narredu ready to pounce on the leader. No sooner they entered the straight, Holy Smoke got along side Persian Prince and in his keenness to storm ahead, he brushed Persian Prince in his hurry and then zipped away to score with a measure of comfort. That skirmish gave jockey PS Chouhan the chance to lodge an objection on technical grounds of bumping , but it held no water with the stewards who overruled  the objection unanimously.

Trainer Faisal Abbas would be proud to have seen his ward’s consistency and keeping him in such fine fettle all through the year is an admirable achievement.  

Faisal went on to notch up a highly fancied double with Rosella (Champs Elysees – On The Wind, Hazara Stud) scraping home in a keen finish to oblige a large number of supporters in the last race of the day.

Star One did well to be up with the leaders getting out from draw 14. He was just behind Scarlet of Hope and Pablito. Rosella was further behind in the mid-bunch and Captain Abdon followed another couple of lengths away.

Star One was quick to grab the lead on turning for home with Pablito fading out gradually as did Orla after being a prominent fourth along the rails. Star One headed the bunch with a furlong to go when Rosella started to warm up. Captain Abdon had hampered his chances as he took the turn widest of all but he too was gathering momentum and looked a danger to all. Rosella however, ridden strongly by jockey CS Jodha pushed hard at it to scrape through in a three way finish. Captain Abdon will rue a missed chance as he fell short by half a length, but managed to peg back Star One for the runner up slot.

Pesi Shroff trained Captain Courage (Admiralofthefleet – Celestrella, Kunigal Stud) put in a late impressive burst to first down favourite Arabelle and then get past the rampaging Rider On The Storm who had threatened to run away with the race at one point.

Rider On The Storm shot into the lead soon on start and put in a lively pace. Golden Belle tried to match strides with Arabelle and Via Amoris a length behind. Captain Courage stuck close behind this pair. Rider On The Storm picked up further as they entered the straight with Golden Belle trying hard to keep pace. Arabelle looked in trouble and it is learnt that she bled during the race. Captain Courage, ridden by NS Parmar, arrived with giant strides and looked good coming into the final furlong. He made quick work of the lead Rider On The Storm had amassed and flew towards the end to flash past them all and score a fairly easy victory.

Trainer Narendra Lagad chipped in with a back-to-back double winning the second and third races. Royal Sapphire (Stardan – Black Sapphire, Rolli stud) was the tote favourite and jockey Dashrath Singh got the mare quickly to second behind leader Good Memory. Royal Sapphire shot into the lead soon on turning for home and galloped away leaving no chance for the rest even hope for a late bid. Royal Sapphire won pulling away. Dusk N Dawn and My Freedom fought out for the runner up berth with Dusk N Dawn doing well to pip My Freedom on the post.

Secret Flame (Chevalier – La Joconde, Ruia Stud) held on grimly and was rewarded for Dashrath Singh’s skillful handling and timing his advance to perfection. Sitting right up among the front runners, Secret Flame darted ahead coming into the straight and Dashrath rode all out to establish a handy lead. Unico Corazon went out in chase while Sanam had to improve positions, making his bid from the wider outside. With 100 to go Secret Flame could bank on the lead even as both Unico Corazon and Sanam appeared to be catching up rapidly. In the end, Secret Flame held on to win in a close three-way finish with Unico Corazon and Sanam breathing down her neck. Sanam in particular was the fastest in her finish and could be the one to strike next time out.

Malesh Narredu trained Lord Arazan (Arazan – Blurr, Poona Stud) won the day’s opener fairly comfortably. It looked a bit concerning for his backers when he was stuck wide past the 800 and when in the straight Indus Prince stole a march in the straight. However, Yash got Lord Arazan going midway in the straight and once the Malesh Narredu trainee got into his final rhythm, he looked the winner. He sped past Indus Prince to score decisively. Carralisa lost all her chances by going wide at the turn and finishing closer to the outer railing. She did well to end in the money though and will enjoy success on her day soon. Aeolus Maximus ran on to finish in the frame.

Art Deco (Stern Opinion – Al Dhahab, Pratap Stud) handled astutely by jockey J Chinoy got off to a tear-away  start from the outer-side draw and made it a clean start to finish run to success. The Dallas Todywalla ward showed zest and focus while darting into the lead and maintaining a safe distance from the rivals all through.

Chinoy had it all in control the moment they jumped out of the gates and was in command leading by a good margin. On entering the straight, Chinoy had little to do as Art Deco galloped gracefully ahead shutting out the opposition without any trouble. She gifted to victory and surely looks good for more.

Glorious Angel (Ace – Lindsay, Poonawalla stud) won a closely fought race with Dubrovik coming with a lively challenge.

Apple Betty and Firebolt led the bunch into the straight but soon Glorious Angel moved swiftly from the outside. Dubrovik was unlucky to get a check at a crucial juncture but once he got the opening Yash rode out aggressively to challenge Sandesh ridden Glorious Angel.  The pair battled hard in the final furlong and Glorious Angel just got the better of Dubrovik in the closing stages. Firebolt held on to the third while Copenhagen improved positions and did well to find a place in the frame.

Veteran trainer SS Shah’s Turf Dancer (Diffident – Encouragement, Yeravada Stud) surfaced from the rear of the front bunch to make a striking forward surge in the final furlong to win handsomely. Jockey CS Jodha maneuvered his way from the rails to the outside and once he got a clear passage there was no stopping him. Cannonball Run gave way to Stardom Calling early in the straight and just when it looked Stardom Calling would make it, Turf Dancer arrived with a dazzle to storm ahead and win drawing away, beating Stardom Calling to second. Incentio arrived with a late dash to pip Ancient Glory for the third.

 For the professionals, trainers Narendra Lagad and Faisal Abbas saddled a double each, while jockeys Dashrath Singh and CS Jodha scored a double apiece.