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By Mahendra Mallya | 04 Sep 2016 | PUNE

Trainer Rehanullah Khan leading Safdar (NS Parmar Up), winner of The Baburao Sanas Memorial Million powered by SRS Group

The feature event of the day was the Baburao Sanas Memorial Million powered by SRS Group. The line-up saw 11 face the starter and the bookie ring prices indicated that this was an open affair. Thor of Asgard, Cyclone and Safdar were the ones receiving most of the support. The six furlong sprint was flagged off and there was an immediate rush for the lead which was grabbed by Safdar (Ace – Flaming Glory, Exhilaration Stud) on the rails with Cyclone matching strides with him. Zinfandelle was stalking this pair and the order remained the same as they turned the final bend.

In the straight, Safdar and Cyclone fought out a hard battle with both jockeys stretching their wards to the maximum. Safdar eventually prevailed at the post by about half a length and Cyclone was truly gallant in defeat. The winner from Rehanullah Khan’s yard was ridden by N.S. Parmar who judged the pace and timed his spurt to perfection. Zinfandelle who finished 3rd caught the eye, and will benefit from this run. As such he is one for the notebook.  

In the Dr P.K.Sardeshmukh Maharaj Trophy Div I, Glorious Angel was the public fancy based on her last start victory and was quoted at 17/10. Pablito (Kingda Ka – Bravissima, Nanoli Stud), from trainer Vishal Gaikwad’s yard was next in demand at 3’s. N.S. Parmar astride Pablito who was beaming with the confidence of the million under his belt decided to try another start-to-finish tactic. Pablito jumped from the widest draw, yet readily showed enough early speed to get to the front and settle in along the rails. Parmar then controlled the pace, and turning for home had only Star One alongside to challenge. Star One had rookie apprentice Vishal Bunde astride and although he put in every effort, Pablito prevailed at the wire by a short-head. Star One missed out narrowly, while Anvill Star ended a good third. 

In the lower division of the race, Judicious was backed confidently with the odds on her hovering between evens and 5/4 at race time. Judicious flattered to deceive. Despite being prominent all through the race, Judicious simply did not quicken and squandered away a good chance. She was right up in front flanked between Speedo and Asahi in the homestretch but just could not offer anything worthwhile. Speedo and Asahi were fighting at top speed, when Crackling Rosie (Phoenix Tower – Noloom, Manjri Stud) with Suraj Narredu in the saddle arrived with a booming gallop. The Faisal Abbas trained filly showed admirable finishing efforts as she produced a scorching run to blow away the opposition and score an impressive victory. Asahi did extremely well to end second ahead of Speedo.

Bullrun did all the hard work and gave it all away in the last stride much to the disappointment of his large number of supporters. He settled well behind Vixen while Magnificence stayed in the last position following a stutter at the start.

Bullrun got past Vixen coming into the homestretch and looked like he had it covered as he came into the final furlong with a handy lead. He was ridden all out and was tiring towards the finish. Magnificence (Arazan – Burning Fire, Exhilaration Stud) was the last one to turn for home and he came charging in to get Bullrun in the nick of time. Magnificence had a troubled race throughout yet he managed to score in the end. He was off slowly and then languished in the last position, took the turn wide and finished on widest towards the finish. In the end, it was all fine as he scored his second victory on the trot, this time in the higher class.   

Midnight Run (Noverre – Storm Sparrow, Sohna Stud) pulled off a facile win in the last race of the day. Jockey NS Parman, was already 'high-on-confidence’ with a double already under his belt and surely must have passed on some of it onto his mount. Midnight Run was the beneficiary partner as Parmar guided him through a large field of 16 runners not very prominent in the early stages, but never too far back either. Bullion Express jumped out smartly and set a good pace for the early part. Parmar had his ward settled in about 6th or 7th and switched off. In the run-in, a few horses jostled to take over but weren’t really going anywhere. Midnight Run was produced halfway up the straight and in a matter of strides had the race all sewn up. Centaurus ran on late to finish second and should find a winning bracket soon. Midnight run is trained by young upcoming trainer A.M Jadhav.

The 4th race of the afternoon saw Flying Dragon (Tariq – Divine Elegance, Yerevada Stud), who had fairly consistent form behind him coming into the race, benefit from a peach of a ride by T.S. Jodha. Flying Dragon jumped the smartest from the gates and then settled beautifully in about 5th along the rails letting the others pass him by. Starry Brook took over the running and ensured that it would be a fast run race with Mekong Delta and Joss keeping tabs on the leader. Starry Brook was the first to throw in the towel, and Mekong Delta readily took over the running as they turned for home. Flying Dragon had travelled sweetly until this point, and was poised in Mekong Delta’s slipstream. As jockey TS Jodha showed his mount daylight, the response and acceleration was instant and simply too good as Flying Dragon galloped away to win by a widening margin of about 5 lengths. Mekong Delta gamely held on for 2nd place and Samba Warrior finished on from the rear to take the third spot. The S.S. Shah trained winner was quoted at 15/1 in the books!

Pollyana (Noverre – Perfect Polly, Sohna Stud) won the first race of the day with ease and justified the cramped odds offered on her. The Katrak filly stormed into the lead and galloped away to post a facie win without encountering any challenge. She looked the winner entering the straight and kicked on gamely to score her maiden win with a healthy margin. Pretty Angel was ridden out to take the runner-up berth from Galtero.

For the professionals, jockey NS Parmar was the star of the day firing away three winners.