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By Mahendra Mallya | 18 Sep 2016 | PUNE

Mr & Mrs Vijay B Shirke, Mr K N Dhunjibhoy & Mr Farouq K Rattonsey leading Germanicus (A Sandesh Up), winner of The S. A. Poonawalla Multi-Million (Gr.3)

It was yet another colourful day at the Pune racecourse as one would expect for the Poonawalla day. The attractive prizes on offer to the general public had drawn good crowd and those manning the contest form desks were over busy.

Germanicus (Whatsthescript – Phenomenale, Nanoli Stud)did look the pick of the lot and although he was the favourite, the odds on him drifted alarmingly to 7/2 at race time. Jockey Sandesh didn’t put a foot wrong and Germanicus shaped well in the straight to conquer his first major race in Pune warding off the late challenger Silken Eyes.

Arak set the tone for the race with Magical Memory close behind, Germanicus with right behind with Silken Eyes for company, followed by Cheerleader and Eternal Sunshine raced in the rear.

Sandesh was in an aggressive move and surely passed it on to his mount as Germanicus upped the ante soon on turning for home. He sped away to build a handy lead and accelerated at a good clip. Magical Memory was the first casualty dropping out of contention. Arka too was going all out to stay in contention but getting nowhere. Silken Eyes provided the anxiety in the final furlong, eating up grown at a brisk rate and gaining considerable ground on Germanicus. However, Sandesh confidently rode out the Vishal Gaikwad ward to stay on ahead and win by a long neck.

Germanicus will now target the Pune Derby and with more than just hope. He showed the class factor and the fact that he won giving weight to the rest also raises his credentials. His career graph is certainly soaring in the right direction and trainer Vishal Gaikwad too is progressing well as a trainer of substance.

Vishal Gaikwad saddled another winner in the very next race with Book Thief stealing the show over a shorter sprint which she attempted for the first time. Always sent over seven furlongs or more, Book Thief slipped into the lead soon on start and displayed good initial speed to be in command and finished even better to ward off a couple of challengers.

Book Thief (Archipenko – Touch My soul, Exhilaration Stud) led them into the straight and soon fired away to build a healthy lead. Arakawah slipped in through the rails but could not find much, his heavy saddle also a factor that bore him down. Ladislaus with Trevor on board put up a spirited run and made it seem like Book Thief would have to slog for a maiden win. That was not to be as Ladislaus could only muster enough momentum to beat Arkawah for the second spot and fell a length short of Book Thief.  

Captain Courage (Admiralofthefleet – Celestrella, Kunigal Stud) dished out his best performance yet and won the Mysore Race Course Trophy toying with the opposition. He stretched away in the homestretch leaving the rest struggling far behind. This was one of his best performances and he accomplished the task without being extended at clocked impressive timing of a minute and ten-plus for the six furlong sprint, by far the best on the day and impressive considering the wet underfoot condition; add to that the manner in which he won the race and here is a potential champion sprinter, a candidate to watch out for in the prestigious DR SC Jain Sprint Championship and Sprinters’ Cup to follow.

Minstrel Heights (Rebuttal – Maripasoula, Hazara Stud) showed amazing improvement over his last run to pull off a runaway win. He shot into the lead with jockey PS Chouhan in the saddle and had Shogun tailing him close behind until the turn.

Once in the straight, Minstrel Heights quickened very well and drew away from Shogun, looking the winner long way from home. The Karthik ward won the Villoo Poonawalla Gold Trophy with absolute ease earning his first win and promising more in the near future.  

Imtiaz Sait trained Fast Lady (Khelef – Lightning Speed, Sohna Stud) swamped the opposition with a dominating performance to clinch the Rao Saheb Kedari Gold Trophy with a good measure of comfort. Jockey Trevor was in the front bunch with Fast Lady and had Seacrets and Vixen for company.  

On entering the homestretch, Fast Lady had to shake off Seacrets and they fought for a couple of strides approaching the distance post. Trevor used the whip hand well and got Fast Lady to respond at the right juncture. Fast Lady picked up momentum and was son sailing clear and bounding gamely towards the winning post. Cool Runnings made good progress to end second. Daishonin’s run was noteworthy as he was way behind in the last but one position and was seen finishing on with steam. Over a longer trip, Daishonin looks ready to strike.

Aspen (Royal Gladiator – Quiet Fancy, Pratap Stud) posted his second win on the trot over the 2400, distance and he did it in style. Sitting last of five Aspen was switched off as Imperial Heritage set up a true pace for the distance. Imperial Heritage bowed out at the turn and June, who was in second most of the way lost pace to be last at the final bend.

Savage Beauty led them in and Aspen moved along the rails to challenge the new leader. Miracle of Love was also moving up on the wider outside. However, Aspen ruled in the final furlong as he stormed ahead of Savage Beauty to romp home a clear winner. Miracle of Love kicked on to take the second ahead of Savage Beauty.

Synchronicity had to bear the agony of having stripped of the first place and relegated to second as a result of Stewards’ enquiry. It was a hotly fought race with Shape The Scape trying the runaway tactics and leading comfortably on entering the straight. Jabble started to close in and soon Synchronicity arrived to make it a three-way finish. There was a bit of jostle as Synchronicity came alongside Jabble (Samhoon – Cherokee, AB Stud) inside the final furlong. Shape The Scape drifted outward and made it even worse for Jabble as he got stuck between two horses close home. Synchronicity’s all out effort win in a close finish came to a naught after the Stewards awarded the race to Jabble ruling that Jabble was the fastest moving horse between them and that skirmish made the difference and hindered Jabble’s chances of victory.

Favourite Jarama failed to oblige in the day’s opener as Swaraj (West Virginia – Blue Fin, Nakul Stud) showed a lot of resolve and equal fighting spirit to pip Flashy Wings on the post. Speedo led until the turn and soon Flashy Wings started to warm up. Jarama got a lovely rail run but squandered away a good opportunity.  Swaraj arrived from the wide outside and he was picking up speed with every stride. Flashy Wings was hard ridden yet Swaraj managed to mount a strong challenge to get Flashy Wings on the post for a very thrilling finish.   

Wonder Story (Sharp Attack – Ankle Bracelet, Gee Stud) put in her best performance yet to score a facile victory in the concluding race of the day. Sitting in fourth behind Zion, Starry Image and Super Icon, Wonder Story arrived with a sustained gallop early in the straight to simply storm into the lead and stretch away clear of the rest. Jockey Kishore Kadam had little to do as the Ivor Frenandes trained filly proved too good for the rest. Zion failed to quicken and fell back as both Starry Image and Super Icon finished on to take the minor placing with even Top Wizard managing to run ahead of him to find a place on the judge’s frame.

For the professionals, trainer Vishal Gaikwad and jockey P Trevor scored a double each.