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By Mahendra Mallya | 20 Aug 2016 | PUNE

Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla & Trainer leading M Narredu leading Unforgettable You (Yash Narredu Up), winner of The Pune Mirror Salver

Dr Cyrus Poonawalla-owned filly Unforgettable You (Arazan – Change of Luck, Villoo’s Greenfield Stud) powered her way to the finish to quell the threat posed by Never Say Never and win the Pune Mirror Salver with a measure of comfort.

Lippe was off to a tardy start as Never Say Never jumped and the others jumped out well as Furiosa showed a spark of speed to lead them for a brief while with Never Say Never close behind. Double Nine and Aurora Australis came next with Sherlock with them, Unforgettable You settled a couple of lengths further behind this bunch with only Sir Desmond and Lippe behind her.

Furiosa packed up way too early and Never Say Never took off nearing the turn to build a handy lead coming into the straight. Young Yash seemed confident as he nursed the Malesh Narredu trained filly to improve positions. However, he had to move to the outside and skirt around the bunch in front to ensure a clear passage, the extra ground to cover notwithstanding. Never Say Never charged out in front and was shaping well when Unforgettable You started to cover ground briskly. With a furlong to go, Never Say Never still held the sway but he got under pressure once challenged by the favourite, even shifting out and even bumping into Unforgettable You. Jockey Yash Narredu simply shook off the leader, relying on his strong pushing without ever having to go for the whip. Unforgettable You surged past Never Say Never in the last 100 meters to win drawing away. She looked good going for the winning post and it would be safe to presume that she would relish the middle and longer trips.

Don Corleone (Tariq – Eubee, Equss Stud) lived up to the promise he had shown in his last start and this time he ensured there were no last moment surprises. He darted out of the gates and took charge with Desert Rage in second; Cezanne was up close behind these two with the rest following in close order.

The Sanjay Kolse ward Don Corleone skipped further ahead on turning for home and accelerated smoothly to steer clear of the rest. Cezanne warmed up under the stick and started to inch closer, but never looked a live threat at any stage. Don Corleone, ably ridden by apprentice S Amit, who incidentally is the cousin of late jockey DK Ashish in whose memory the DK Ashish Trophy race was run, won easing up allowing Cezanne to cut the margin of victory. Palace Girl did well to earn the place stakes.

Shyam Ruia’s Chef D’Oeuvre (Iffraaj – Aliwiyya, Equus Stud) produced a strong finish to offset Kandinsky’s spirited run to win the battle for the Gamble for Love Trophy close home. Kandinsky led them into the straight, Airco, always in second, just could not raise a gallop and looked the first casualty even as they entered the straight. Bullrun showed spark of old, but failed to gather momentum and his flash was gone as quickly. Chef D’Oeuvre was the one warming up nicely approaching the final furlong, but had Commander breathing down her neck. Kandinsky was battling hard to hold on to his diminishing lead with Trevor going all out. Chef D’Oeuvre made a final surge to manage to crane her neck in front to win in a narrow three-way finish, Kandinsky barely managing to nose out Commander. It was a thrilling finish and one’s admiration went for the old-timer Commander who was giving chunks of weight to his younger rivals yet fought brilliantly to go down narrowly.

Apprentice Jockey DS Daman had his most fruitful day, ending up with three wins and a good second off his four mounts in the day. His first two successes came atop long-shots. He pulled off an amazing start-to-finish win partnering trainer Adhirajsingh Jodha’s Seacrets (Sakhee’s Secret – Ph Bej Oh Bej, Vikram Greenlands Stud).  

Seacrets was off to a good start and always maintained a couple of lengths lead. Mythical Sunrise and Magic Vision were in chase, with Quatro and Replica forming a pair behind these two. Sail Past followed another two lengths behind with Porto Banus tailing the field after a slow start.

Seacrets galloped merrily in front as they turned for home and always was at a safe distance from his opponents. Mythical Sunrise tried hard to catch up but could never make it. Replica ended up third ahead of Magic Vision.

Daman then guided Magan Jodha’s ward Square Moon (Sedgefield – Shining Force, Jai Govind Stud) to an equally sensational victory in the 2400 m Saint Emilio Plate. Daman rode a well judged race over the tricky mile-and-half distance and timed his final run to near perfection.

He sat well behind with Square Moon as Cha Cha Cha set a true pace for the race. Komandant made quick progress in the backstretch to get one behind the leader. Starry Brooke came next with Korol in tow. Square Moon had Sabiq and the favourite Uncle Scrooge at the rear.

Square Moon made progress past the 800 and was ready to strike at the final turn. He had to take the turn a lot wider than he might have liked, but Square Moon was on the button unleashing a powerful entry into the homestretch. Cha Cha Cha was not one to give up easily and although Square Moon had slipped into the lead, he did not let Square Moon skip away. He galloped on but Square Moon kicked away to strike it rich. Cha Cha Cha held on grimly to stay in second while top fancy Uncle Scrooge appeared too late on the scene to make any impact, finishing a short-head behind Cha Cha Cha. However, Uncle Scrooge ought to be given another chance especially over such longer trips.

Apprentice Daman was in full flow on the day as was evident when he shot ahead with prime favourite Jacknife (Mull of Kintyre – Bukat Timah, Pratap Stud) and added the finishing touches with panache. Quickly off the gates, Jacknife maintained a healthy lead throughout the race.  He got stronger once into the straight and played catch-me-if-you-can building a winning lead in the homestretch. The Katrak trainee pulled off his maiden victory clean as a whistle and promised a couple more in the kind of form her is now beginning to show. Wonder Story came from behind to nose out Zabrok for the runner-up berth.

‘You just can’t beat a Lagad’ seems the right quip a la Bajaj, if one goes by the run of Magical Dancer. The four-year-old gelding floundered at the start and worse, jockey Dashrath Singh was seen urging and plodding Magical Dancer all the way. He was lagging behind for most of the short six-furlong journey and even at the turn, he was widest out.

Meanwhile, Lucky Strike, who had taken a good jump fell back to fifth or sixth as a bunch of horses zipped past her. Star Highness led them at the turn with Orla ready to pounce on the leader. Orla did just that the moment they straightened up and the challenge was just beginning when Seacaucus and Lucky Strike were lurking close behind. All that came to a naught as jockey Dashrath Singh waved a wand and presto...Magical Dancer appeared out of nowhere to stun the fighting bunch and vanished again out of sight (read range) of his rivals at the blink of an eye. The Narendra Lagad ward zipped away to amass a huge lead to win in a sensational manner. Orla recouped to take the runner up spot while the heavily-backed Lucky Strike recovered from the shock to save the place money.

For the professionals, it was easily apprentice jockey DS Daman’s day the young lad returning his best ever result with a treble.