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By Mahendra Mallya | 27 Aug 2016 | PUNE

Mr Dinsha P Shroff & trainer Dallas Todywalla leading Phenomenal Memory (S Zervan Up), winner of The Her Majesty Trophy

The ante-post favourite Heather found a lot more support at race time and the Shroff trained filly was backed down to 6/10, while the odds on Phenomenal Memory drifted alarmingly from less than 2/1 to 13/4 at stalling time. The race panned out contrary to the betting trends as Phenomenal Memory with jockey S Zervan in the saddle, booted home the low weight advantage to romp home a clear winner.  

Caesars Star led in the early stages before The Ministerian took over in the back-stretch to set a steady pace for the mile-and-half race. Heather was in third with Phenomenal Memory and Rodeo in that order.

Heather started to make progress past the 800m and joined the two in front. Zervan had a watchful eye on the favourite and got the Dallas Todywalla filly closer to the trio in front approaching the turn with Rodeo also showing urgency.

Phenomenal Memory then found her way between horses and sailed smoothly into the lead soon on turning for home. She cruised ahead and it was all over. Heather didn’t quicken as expected and the weight she was carrying seemed a burden. Phenomenal Memory simply drew away and won easing up. Rodeo did well to get past Heather clinching the runner up berth, Heather ending a tame third.

A race earlier, The Champ (Kodiac – Mink Glove, Sohna Stud) showed his fighting qualities yet again while scoring his fifth straight win. It was all sedate and sombre as Vixen led them until the home turn with The Champ, Few Dollars More and Traherne following closely. Just as The Champ began to get the measure of Vixen, Few Dollars More tried to surprise him and move up aggressively to even head The Champ. Trevor may have had to change plans and go for the charge earlier than expected and The Champ too was up to the task. They battled hard in the final furlong, going stride for stride until Few Dollars more blinked. The Champ, who is trained by Pesi Shroff, finished on a lot more strongly and earned his fifth straight win in a hard-fought battle.

Pesi sent out San Martino (Admiralofthefleet – Sans Pareil, Kunigal Stud) who looked a completely different horse this time round. For his last disappointing run, San Martino made ample amends as he pulled off a successful start to finish essay winning it untroubled.

San Martino led the field setting a leisurely pace and settled down beautifully right from the start. Sumaaq and Highland Breeze followed close behind with Jeanine in fourth. San Martino entered the straight on a tight rein and when Trevor asked him for an effort, San Martino didn’t fizzle out like he did last time, but showed plenty of class and ability to sail away from his opponents. He looked the winner even a furlong away from home and duly earned his maiden win in good style. Highland Breeze impressed too, while ending a worthy runner up. Jeanine was clearly a run short and although she filed to make an impact, she needs to be given another chance. Multyglory ran a close fourth and it could pay to keep an eye on him.

Sky Mine (Mull of Kintyre – Landmine, Sohna Stud) displayed utmost fitness while showing a clean pair of heels to produce a fashionable start-to-finish victory. The Imtiaz Sait trained filly looked in perfectly good nick as she jumped out smartly and sailed smoothly ahead to lead by a comfortable margin right from the start. Lord Grantham, the other fancied runner, was pushed and plodded way before the turn and raised little hope.

It was Sky Mine all the way as Sandesh urged the filly on and sped away from the rest. It was surprising to see Sandesh punish the filly repeatedly with his whip hand even though she was well clear and there was no danger in sight. Sky Mine won by a whopping seven lengths! Fringe Benefit ran on to finish second ahead of Rapid Girl. Pierce Arrow improved to find a place in the frame.

In the day’s first race, hot favourite Mariska (4/10 on) fell short by a head as Silk Baby (Noverre – Silk Suivante, Sohna Stud) drove home the advantage of a sizable lead she had amassed in the homestretch. Jockey Yash Narredu who has improved considerably after his stint in Ireland this summer, got away to a good start and capitalized on the quick start. Silk Baby galloped at a crisp pace all through and got even stronger on turning for home. She was well ahead of the rest with a bunch of horses huddled together a few lengths behind Silk Baby. Mariska was one of them, hugging the rails and Trevor guiding the Shroff trained Mariska between horses to move ahead in the second bunch t the mouth of the straight.

By then, Silk Baby had stolen a march and was galloping away toards the winning post. Trevor and Mariska had to bridge a gap of nearly five lengths and with Silk Baby showing no intentions of slowing down, it was an uphill task for the favourite. However, Mariska came alive and quickened for home. She covered ground briskly and even thought Silk Baby was still far ahead, she looked under threat. Mariska cut the lead down and was getting menacingly close with each stride. However, the winning post came to the rescue of the winner as Silk Baby held on to win by a head. Mariska is bound to improve in her next and on this run, Mariska ought to be given the proverbial winner-when-saddled tag.  

Jarama (Gaswar – Acciacatura, Sohna Stud) justified the support her received in the betting and secured his maiden win with clinical efficiency. Good Memory charged to the front and led them into the straight, while Jarama was in sixth or seventh amidst a tightly huddled bunch.

Jarama made good progress to come alongside the leader Good Memory as they turned for home and Synchronicity also improved to begin her chase close behind Jarama. Jockey J Chinoy left nothing to chance and he confidently rode out the Mansoor Shah trained filly to stay comfortably ahead of Synchronicity and seal the victory in the final furlong. Synchronicity ended a good second and Fast Future improved positions to take the third spot.

Dallas Todywalla trained debutante Motherland (Arazan – Indistinto, Poona Stud) registered her first win with a neat start to finish run. She had Princess Athena for company until the turn, but once they entered the straight, Motherland left her companion behind and surged ahead with a good gallop. Motherland never seemed to be in any bother even as a semblance of a challenge came when Firebolt started to come at her in the closing stages. Jockey Yash Narredu had a firm grip on the race and easily warded off the challenger.     

A lot of hope and faith was pinned on Poets Song after his debut run a fortnight back and she almost got there, until Captain (Express Wish – Delicia, Mebajeona Stud) spoiled her party. Poets Song did everything right as she jumped out smartly and held the joint lead with Riot of Colours until he turn. Captain at that juncture was at least two-three lengths away. Poets Song went past Riot of Colours easily and was shaping up well to bring about her first win when Captain started to inch closer. Captain started to loom large with a 100 to go and they fought a grim battle. There was also a slight contact between the two as Captain finished on strongly to peg the favourite back at the winning post. An objection ensued but the stewards unanimously overruled the objection and Captain, trained by Faisal Abbas kept the race and brought about his maiden victory that came following a pitched battle. Poets Song will live to fight another day.

Trainer Vishal Gaikwad struck in the last race of the day with his filly Miss Saigon (Rock of Gibraltar – Lothian Lass, Nanoli Stud) scoring an emphatic win on debut. Jockey J Chinoy first had to start right from the wider draw and he got to settle in the rear of the front bunch of about 7 or 8 horses. Isinit was up in front with Aliboxer in chase, then there were a bunch of horses jostling for positions, with Swaraj, Cicitalia, Way Ahead, Godsent, Bulldozer, Miss Saigon galloped on the wider outside and also took the turn wide.

Isinit kicked on gamely after straightening up and was working hard to keep her lead. While the rest were going all out, Joy Chinoy arrived with Miss Saigon producing a dazzling turn of foot to floor them all and run away for the sweet taste of a first victory. Cicitalia ran on to finish second which was a good job while Isinit too ended a good third.

For the professionals, trainers Pesi Shroff and Dallas Todywalla saddled a double each, while jockeys P Trevor, Joy Chinoy and Young Yash Narredu scored a double each.