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By Mahendra Mallya | 21 Oct 2016 | PUNE

Mr Sultan Singh & trainer Imtiaz A Sait leading Sky Mine (A Sandesh Up), winner of The General Rajendrasinhji Million

What was short in quantity was amply made up in quality, as two promising three-year-olds – Sky Mine and favourite London battled hard at the business end for the General Rajendrasinghji Million, the feature race of the day.

Sky Mine shot out of the gates and soon settled to dictate the pace for the mile-long race. Comic Timing veered out at the jump but soon came around and joined the bunch. Anteros chased the leader with Star Comrade alongside. London in fourth had Comic Timing and Soverenignsky following him.

Sky Mine (Mull of Kintyre – Landmine, Sohna Stud) skipped way merrily and led them into the straight with something in hand. Star Comrade stepped up to go after Sky Mine, while Anteros could not find anything and faded out. London had to skirt around the trio in front at the turn and that exaggerated curve proved fatal for London. However, Sky Mine put up a gritty show, galloping freely all the way and needed a much stronger finish from her opponent to break the stranglehold she had on the race. Comic Timing also put up a good show briefly when she showed some spark midway in the straight, but did not sustain it long enough. London covered a lot of ground to come around and raise some hope for his supporters. However, he fell short by a narrow margin as jockey Sandesh ensured he added the finishing touches and bag the race in a close finish. Sky Mine is trained by Imtiaz Sait and owned by Mr Gautam Thapar & Mr Sultan Singh.

Rank outsider Flashy Wings (Lucifer Sam – Flirting Fantasy, Sans Craintes Stud) shocked favourite Magical Midnight with a flying finish to clinch the October Handicap with ease. The Karthik trained filly made all the right moves with young Bhawani Singh in the saddle timing his finish to perfection.

Gran Paradiso, on a start-to-finish mission, led them into the straight with favourite Magical Memory waiting to pounce on the leader. Gran Paradiso could not stop Magical Memory grabbing the lead as Sandesh sailed past her fluently. Meanwhile, Flashy Wings moving along the inner rails and was constantly improving positions and was a striking third with about 300 to go. Flashy Wings flew past the two in front coming into the final furlong and drew away to score an authoritative victory.

Champaign (Arazan – Chantale, Poonawalla Stud) scored a commanding victory in the Class II company, finishing off her Pune campaign with an impressive three wins from four starts. The Rehanullah Khan ward settled nicely in third as her main rival Shield of Achilles led the field of five well into the homestretch. Champaign came around from the outside and picked up good momentum to stride past Shield of Achilles approaching the distance post. Shield of Achilles did resist for a couple of strides, but never looked like grabbing back the initiative. Champaign didn’t really need to go all out and jockey Sandesh knew exactly how much he had to press on the gas pedal as he cruised ahead to score a comfortable victory.

Lady Coachman (Kodiac – Bentley’s Bush, Nanoli Stud) showed a lot of class and speed to score her maiden victory in only her second career start, her first at Pune. Trainer Faisal Abbas seemed to have reserved his best for the last weekend of the season as the 6/10 on filly unleashed a smooth gallop to win unchallenged by a healthy margin.

Taking off from the gates in a flash, Lady Coachman got into a fine rhythm staying well ahead of Snowy Peaks and debutante Lady In Red until the turn. On turning for home, Lady Coachman with Sandesh in the saddle unleashed a powerful run and got further and further way from her rivals with every stride. Jockey Sandesh had little to do as his filly amassed a huge lead quickly and he only eased her up a lot early and coasted to post a very impressive win by 6 ¼ lengths clocking 0.58 seconds plus, without really pushing herself at any stage.  Lady in Red did well for a first outing, managing to cover some ground and pip Snowy Peaks for the runner-up berth.

While lady Coachman won the upper division of the Arabian Rose Plate, the lower division was claimed by trainer MK Jadhav ward Monte Greco (Canford Cliffs – Idealistic, Nanoli Stud) and both the winners are owned by popular owners and long time buddies M/s Vijay Shirke and KN Dhunjibhoy.

Monte Greco got past Kitty Hawk and Akki’s Pet to go into the lead and once she hit the front within the first furlong, she sailed away to score by five lengths. Kitty Hawk, almost the joint favourite with Monte Greco, was no match as she toiled hard to keep up initially and then was ridden all out but simply could not gain on the winner. Akki’s Pet ran on to earn place money.

Marvel (Multidimensional – Psychic Light, Usha Stud) posted her second career victory in style. The Sunderji-trained filly had been running over the longer trips after her maiden win over a mile, but she showed a lot of speed while sailing home over the shorter seven furlongs race.

Settling in third behind Jeena and Noble Chieftain until the bend, Marvel with apprentice Ajinkya on board surged ahead soon on turning for home. She unleashed a powerful gallop thereafter, leaving no hope for the others of catching up. Cristo Boss received a lot of support in the betting ring, but the connections’ bold venture came to a naught as he never looked like making it at any stage. Cristo Boss however, managed to improve in the straight to finish a faraway second. Pretty Angel ran on from the rear and did reasonably well to save the place money.

Joss (Arazan – Sprungli, Poona Stud) made the best use of the shortest way in and then accelerated bravely to score a long pending win over the nine-furlong Star Shine Plate for horses in class IV. Baker Street guided the field until the turn and faded out. Vitesse made a forward charge and soon Volantis came around and headed him. The others were closing in rapidly and as the field spread out for a final charge. Joss slipped in through the rails and took charge with jockey Bhawani Singh riding out purposefully. They were travelling well and were finishing on well. Rapid Girl too was gaining ground and looked a potent threat as she was getting closer with every stride, while Atalya was forging her way forward as well. It looked wide open with under 100 m to go, however, Joss held his ground and emerged victorious as the top four finished in a cluster. The winner is owned by current Chairman of the RWITC Mr Vivek Jain in partnership with M/s Rohit Patel, Geoffrey Nagpal & Farrokh Khambata.

Elegant Beauty (Arazan – Entendu, Poonawalla Astonish Stud) from trainer Malesh Narredu’s yard was the raging public choice and gave the railbirds lots to cheer about, considering the thrilling finish. The field was tightly bunched up as they jumped out and Fabio made the pace with Dazzling Dancer in close attendance, whilst Trevor had Elegant Beauty perfectly settled in box position. As the race came to a boil Fabio surged ahead and Centaurus too put in a strong run to join the issue. Elegant Beauty who was hemmed in on the rails got an opening with about a furlong to go, and Trevor pulled out all stops to just about pip Fabio at the wire for a popular victory, while Centaurus was a neck behind in third. 

Goldsmith (Tariq – Lascivious, Equus Stud) was a facile and impressive winner of the 5th race of the card and looks well capable of an encore. Tareef was quickest out of the gates and led the field in this 5 furlong scurry. Tareef brought them round the bend with Rachel in hot pursuit and Goldsmith on the rails was visibly searching for galloping ground. The gap finally opened up with a furlong to go and apprentice S.J.Sunil must be commended for keeping his cool and guiding the obvious winner home with patient panache. Expect Goldsmith to win again on promotion, as he outclassed his rivals in this set and was sighted as the winner, a long way from home. The winner is trained by Hosidar Daji.  

Furiosa (Arazan – Because of You, Villoo’s Greenfield Stud) had reserved her best for the last as she produced a spirited gallop to win the last race of the day from the word ‘go’. He took off from the gates and led comfortably to Mad Hatter and Zion until the turn.

Once into the straight, apprentice G Amit, claiming five kilos, pushed ahead and Furiosa responded with a nippy gallop to surge further ahead from the chasing bunch, leaving no chance for the others. She had sewed up the race even with a furlong to go and Furiosa, trained by Faisal Abbas, stayed well ahead of the rest at the finish. Super Icon kicked on to take the second spot just ahead of Tough Enough, the latter too surfacing from the mid-bunch to do well to run into place money.

For the professionals. Trainer Faisal Abbas saddled a double, while Jockey A Sandesh scored a treble. Jockeys P Trevor and Bhawani Singh chipped in with a double each.