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By Mahendra Mallya | 10 Sep 2016 | PUNE

Mr Ashok Ranpise, Dinsha P. Shroff & Solomon F. Sopher leading (A Sandesh Up), winner of The Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy (Gr.3)

The race leading up to the feature event, The Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy (Gr3) took a horrific turn as Talon lost footing and buckled forward resulting in jockey Kavraj Singh plunging to the turf. Those following close behind were caught unawares and jockeys R Anjinkya and Amyn Merchant also toppled to the ground in split seconds.

Kavraj Singh, it appeared was the worst hit as it looked as though he had been trampled over. It was as ghastly as it was freaky when seconds later Chily Chily veered abruptly approaching the stands throwing jockey Yash Narredu off the saddle. Yash went tumbling down, rolling over and over again.

It was later learnt that Amyn Merchant had dislocated his shoulder and jockey Yash Narredu, whose fall did not look as dangerous as the first three, fractured his wrist. Yash was operated last upon late in the evening. While both Amyn and Yash will be out of action for rest of the season, jockeys R Ajinkya who walked back looked safe and Kavraj Singh who limped back to the jockeys’ room after being examined by the Club’s doctor have both been placed under observation.

Meanwhile, oblivious to the mishaps behind, Charming and favourite Shaoqing (Arazan – Deraasaat, Poona Stud) were fighting for supremacy as both were going all out. Shaoqing produced a much better finish to get past Charming in the final furlong and earn her maiden success in only her second outing. As for Charming, she did well for a debutante and is most likely to earn her winning bracket soon.

Dancing Prances (Ace – Dancing Greens, Poonawalla Stud) returned to winning ways with a courageous performance to clinch the Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy warding off late challengers Adam and the surprise challenger Congressional.

Dancing Phoenix and Solomon were the early leaders with Strategic Move, Brnhil and Dancing Prances close behind. Congressional and Adam were a tad away from the thick of the action until the turn.

Dancing Phoenix fought grimly to keep the lead, but when Dancing Prances drew alongside, it was clear who would dominate. Dancing Prances stretched ahead with Sandesh riding hard when Adam and Congressional started to close in. Dancing Prances had to dig deep to keep the duo away and he did so winning the trophy with a narrow margin. Congressional managed to pip Adam for the runner-up berth.

Trainer Altaf Hussain had a very fruitful day at the office sending out four winners including the feature race, the Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy (Gr3). He started off on a good note winning the first race of the day with Scarlet of Hope (Alnasr Alwasheek – Arabian Lady, Yeravada Stud). The six year old mare showed plenty of speed as she shot into the lead soon on start. With five-kilo claimer Akshay Gaikwad in the saddle, Scarlet of Hope galloped gamely all the way and once they turned for home, she was gaining on momentum keeping a safe distance from her rivals. She romped home unchallenged to score by a good four length margin justifying he overwhelming support she received and thrilling her supporters in finishing off in a dominant fashion. Secret Oath came from the rear to finish a good second fighting off Dusk N Dawn, who too ended a notable third. 

Altaf Hussain led in yet another winner in Alectar (Ace – Pleasure Hunt, Poona Stud Farm) his second of four winners. Logano had led them into the straight but soon was passed by Sindbaad. The Nirad Karanjawalla ward shaped well and looked on course until Sandesh arrived with Alectar. Sandesh was confident and relied on his pushing and got Alectar to accelerate smoothly to finish strongly and win comfortably. Sindbaad ended a good second, while Fast Future kicked on to take the place money.

Jockey Sandesh matched trainer Altaf, also garnering four victories. While he won three for Altaf, he secured another while guiding Severus (Cockney Rebel – Love Emerald, Nanoli Stud) over the 2400 m Macchupicchu Trophy.

Severus travelled off the pace in second last position as Caesars Star set a decent pace. Cha Cha Cha was in second with Square Moon in tow, Uncle Scrooge bringing up the rear.

Uncle Scrooge brushed up past the 800 and Severus found himself in the last position at the turn. Cha Cha Cha led them in but was soon challenged by Uncle Scrooge. Sandesh produced Severus he widest of all and when he gained momentum, Severus stormed ahead with a spirited gallop to vanquish them all with ease. Uncle Scrooge ended a tame second more than three lengths away.

Narendra Lagad’s Riot of Colours (Varenar – Selerina’s Song, Equus Stud) showed a clean pair of heals to score her maiden win in her seventh outing. She got off to a quick start and led the field going at a good clip. Jockey DS Daman had built a handy bank entering the straight and he pushed for home with a clear advantage. Riot of Colours galloped on all the way and looked the winner long way from home. Zion warmed up late to cut the margin of victory but still finished two lengths adrift. Generous Lady fought hard to earn place money thwarting the late attempt made by Isinit.

Narendra Lagad recorded his second win with Eiger’s Tiger coming good to beat favourite Costa Semralda with ease. A change of tactics this time to settling well back from his usually front running ritual proved fruitful for Eiger’s Tiger. Coast Smeralda jumped out nicely to lead briefly before Artificial hurried off to the front and set the tone. Eiger’s Tiger was in the rear bunch and started improving positions passing the 1000m mark.

Costa Smeralda led them into the straight after Artificial faded out, but soon had Eiger’s Tiger looming large. Approaching the distance post, Eiger’s Tiger with Dashrath Singh on board took charge swiftly and soon put the issue beyond the rest. Eiger’s Tiger galloped away to earn his first winning bracket and just like his stable-mate Riot of Colours, this was his seventh attempt as well. Olly Boy finished on strongly to beat Costa Smeralda for the second. Palatial too flew towards the end but just fell short of beating Costa Smeralda and ended a close fourth.

Normandy was the hot on-money favourite to win on debut but didn’t look too convincing in the paddock. She certainly wasn’t looking as sharp as an on-money favourite ought to, and this might have led to the slight drift in odds from around half-money ante-post to 80/100 at race time.

Ridgewood Star led them into the straight with Milwalkee up close; Normandy was working hard to make an impact while Dolphin was warming up on the outside. A couple of lengths behind Travieso was making his move along the rails while Gregorian Chants too was picking up speed. Into the final furlong, it looked like a melee with half the field charging towards the wire. Jockey Joy Chinoy saw a gap between horses and went for it instantly. Travieso also moved in to take the same gap and there was a jostle between the two. Joy rode out aggressively and Katrak’s ward Gregorian Chants responded with a fiery finish. Joy Chinoy moved in for the kill and brushed aside his opponents with panache and landed the spoils in a dramatic fashion. If one would rewind the race to near 800 m, few would give the winner a chance!

Gregorian Chants (Charmo – Chant Royal, Vikram Greenlands) covered considerable ground and was outstanding in his finish. However, the tiny skirmish did not escape the eyes of the astute and zealous stipendiary stewards who were quick to call for a stewards’ enquiry.  After the mandatory enquiry, the judge’s placing remained unchanged.

The day belonged to trainer Altaf Hussain and jockey A Sandesh who picked up four winners each. Trainer Narendra Lagad pulled off a lucrative double.