- india's first & foremost horse racing portal


By Mahendra Mallya | 25 Sep 2016 | PUNE

Mr Gautam Thapar & trainer Nazak Chenoy leading Commander (Suraj Narredu Up), winner of The Southern Command Gold Trophy

In a sensitive and commendable gesture, the RWITC conducted a collection drive in addition to a donation of Rs 300,000/- towards the Army Welfare Fund Battle Casualties and there was good response with owners, trainers and jockeys also contributing generously to the noble cause. General Officer Commanding, Prithi Singh (Dakhshin Maharastra) while paying tribute to the Martyrs expressed gratitude and appreciated the efforts of the Club to respond in the manner it did and applauded the Club for the same as Mr Vivek Jain handed the cheque on behalf of the Club during the presentation of the Southern Command Gold Trophy. A minute’s silence was also observed paying homage to the martyrs who laid their lives in the ghastly Uri tragedy.

One the racing front, punters took a pounding as prime favourites fell, some meekly, a couple of them fighting. The Southern Command Gold Trophy saw a thrilling finish as favourite Congressional shaped well to oblige, but Ms Nazak Chenoy trained Commander (Noverre – Momentarily, Sohna Stud) arrived with a strong challenge and managed to pip him on the post. Congressional shared the lead with top weighted Strategic Move all the way into the straight and then shook the latter off and surged ahead opening up a handy lead. Commander was hard at work even as they turned for home and he warmed up nicely to gain on Congressional in the final furlong. A grim battled ensued as they both battled hard. Eventually, Commander, giving it all he had, pounced on Congressional to snatch victory on the last stride, jockey Suraj Narredu adding the finishing touch with some hard riding.

Jockey Suraj Narredu chalked up a fine treble on the day starting with Daydreamer (Phoenix Tower – Lost In Thought, Manjri Stud) winning the Sweet Memories Trophy. Suraj was right u in front as they bolted out of the gates and controlled the pace to his liking. Daydreamer galloped smoothly all through and once in the straight, he powered his way to draw away and win easing up. Glorious Hymn improved positions and ran on to finish second ahead of Samurai.

Suraj’s third win came astride debutante Quixotic (Stern Opinion – Louvre, Pratap Stud) who was coming off an easy mock race. Quixotic seemed to have learnt well from the mock race and shot into the lead soon on start to race away and win, making every post a winning one. He set off at a good pace and once they turned for home, although a tad erratic, Quixotic stayed well clear of the rest to score a debut win. Firenze ended a tame second ahead of Beneficial.

Jockey NS Parmar also had a good day notching up a double. He partnered long-shot Gran Paradiso (Strategic Prince – Desert Trail, Nanoli Stud) to make a strong bid in the final furlong to peg back hot favourite Art Deco in the closing moments to the race.

Art Deco was shaping well coming into the straight and also fairly ahead in the straight and looked set to score as Altus who was in second was not getting anywhere as was Spear of Trium. Gran Paradiso moved up along the rails and quickened just in time to switch lanes and come charging in, in the final 100 meters to shock Art Deco and win by a narrow margin.

Parmar struck again in the very next race piloting Forward Thrust (Oiseau de Feu – Straightforward, Samra Stud) for trainer S Manglorkar. He was not in the best of positions early on but jockey Parmar made steady progress as Dubrovnik led the field homewards.

Dubrovnik failed to keep the momentum going and had the others gaining on him in the straight. He buckled under pressure past the distance post when facing a dual challenge. Forward Thrust poked through to surge ahead and darted towards the winning post. Trevelyan was also moving alongside but Forward Thrust drew away in the final fifty to score. Firebolt was unlucky to have been hampered slightly in the straight, but when he got a clear run he finished on fastest and just fell short of making a serious impact on the result of the race.

   The first race saw a rank outsider in Bidstone Hill (Mull of Kintyre – Indiscretion, Nanoli Stud) who had neither form nor the record yet managed to confound the followers of form to carve out a narrow win among other more fancied horses.

Bidstone Hill set off on a start to finish mission and led them into the straight. Favourite Motherland jumped out late and jockey Sandesh hurried the filly up to rush up to be a close third within seconds. But when they turned for home, Motherland had probably run out of gas and petered out quickly.

Bidstone Hill was in front by just over a length and Riot of colours was taking time in quickening. Ame came around with a good finishing effort and gained considerable ground, but the winning post came to the rescue of Bidstone HiIl who cracked it by a head.  

Unforgettable You who had shown some promise on her winning debut recently did her reputation little good after going down tamely when challenged by rank outsider Striking Story (Mr Mellon – Strike it Right, Ruia Stud). Unforgettable You improved nicely at the turn to take charge entering the straight. She moved ahead nicely too and just when she was being hailed as the winner, Striking Story arrived to challenge. Striking Story gained on the leader rapidly and in the final fifty, collared the favourite and stormed ahead to notch up a second win for the season.

Valentino (Kingda Ka – Hazel Morgan, Nanoli Stud) pulled off a good win in the last race and the followers of favourites were left crestfallen on a day most felt was notorious for the followers of favourites. The ten to one shot came charging in midway in the straight with favourite Vistana fight hard to stay in contention. My Freedom too had just gotten the measure of Vistana when Valentino made his assault from the outside. He flew past the pair in front to win oblivious of the late dash from Dazzling Dancer. The latter had to check at crucial stage and when she broke free, Dazzling Dancer covered a lot of ground to end just a neck behind the winner.

For the professionals, jockey Suraj Narredu scored a treble while NS Parmar scored a double.