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By Mahendra Mallya | 28 Jul 2017 | PUNE

Mr Jaydev M Mody & trainer Dallas Todywalla leading Selfie Star (P Trevor Up), winner of The Antonios Trophy

Punters took body blows in the first few rounds before staggering back to their feet in the latter half of the card to stage some sort of a comeback late in the day, although there were no shockers among the winners. Champion jockeys Trevor and Sandesh who drew a blank on the opening day, opened their accounts and young jockey Prashant Dhebe who has impressed on his home turf Bengaluru, made his mark on the Pune track with a double. His rise has been quick and he only enhanced his reputation with some flawless performances on the day.

Among the trainers, it was Imtiaz Sait who had a good day at the office. He sent out three winners, starting off his winning run with Mr Jaydev Mody owned Drogo (Rebuttal – Gertie Laurie, Hazara Stud) entrusted to competent jockey Joy Chinoy.

As they took off from the gates, Harmony and Wildhorn tore away from the pack building up a huge lead until well past the half way stage. Jockey Chinoy moved to third and kept a vigil on the two in front and eased closer wiping off the sizable gap astutely. Komandant was right with Drogo most of the journey, but failed to quicken when it mattered. Respect was further behind and although he and Olly Boy did rally around a bit, it was Drogo who surged ahead in the straight to gallop away and score a facile victory.

Imtiaz next succeeded with Carbonara (China Visit – Al Dente, Usha Stud), second in demand after Pugnacious in the betting ring. Carbonara was piloted by Prashant Dhebe and both registered their personal first wins at Pune. Carbonara had won all his races coming from way behind and all his three victories hitherto were at Mumbai, the long homestretch proving to be to his liking. However, Dhebe seemed to have done his homework right when he set Carbonara alight turning for home.

Ladislaus led them all the way into the straight and as they entered the homestretch, Dhebe was right up behind the leader. Ladislaus battled for a couple of strides, but could not stop Carbonara from wresting the lead. Valentino arrived with a late bid from the wide outside to throw in his challenge, however, Carbonara kicked on to stave him off and score a well-earned victory.

Summer Rays (Phoenix Tower – Donttellmewhattodo, Manjri Stud) was without doubt Imtiaz’s best candidate on the day. After the anxiety of a victory shaken off, jockey Prashant Dhebe was a lot more confident astride Summer Rays. He quickly latched on to the leader Goldie’s Pet for the six-furlong sprint and tagged along all the way into the straight.

Summer Rays changed gears quickly and with about 300 to go, started to accelerate well and soo took charge shaping well in the final furlong. Goldie’s Pet was persistent and battled on, but Summer Rays was toying with his and the Imtiaz Sait ward pulled off a handsome victory over Goldie’s Pet. Sassy Lass ended a faraway third.

Selfie Star (Excellent Art – Maharanee, Exhilaration Stud) justified the heavy support she received in the betting ring. The Dallas Todywalla trained grey filly was a picture of fitness and she relayed that on the turf as well.

Wild Fire led them into the straight and Selfie Star was always in striking position. Jockey P Trevor didn’t wait too long and flashed past the leader showing blinding speed to seal the race long way from home. Sweet Music made steady progress at the business end, but only when it was all over. Selfie Star should repeat and Sweet Music may not have to wait too long for shake off her maiden status. Man of Word edged out Ice Dancer for the place money.

Vishal Gaikwad trained Nelsons Blood (Whatsthescript – Champagne Cocktail, Highgroove Stud) pulled off a neat start to finish victory accounting for on-money favorite Frivolous. Nelsons Blood hit the front soon on start and galloped at a good pace leading them all the way into the straight. Frivolous found himself in a tough position from the start as he was stuck to the rails with a wall of horses right in front of him until the straight.

Nelsons Blood galloped on gamely on entering the straight and capitalized on the early run and a decent lead. He stepped up momentum and ensured there were no last minute blushes. Frivolous progressed in the straight sticking on to the rails, but was left too much to do and ended a disappointing second.

Odessa (Tiz Wonderful – Silvery Star, Hazara Stud) ridden by apprentice jockey Ayyar pulled off a neat coup for the Malesh Narredu camp. Ayyar would have had butterflies in this stomach as he had to skirt around the bunch all through racing wide hence taking the turn wide as well. On this shorter and tricky Pune straight this is not the assured way to success. Having said that, due credit must be given to Ayyar who showed nerves of steel. He arrived with a terrific run to zip past a bunch of good horses in full-flight mode and dash for home with something to spare. Gran Paradiso looked good when she took the lead, but only until Odessa showed up. Allegria fought well to end up a good third.

Indian Serenade (Sedgefield – Bl ue Jay) won start to finish untroubled with Dashrath Singh in the saddle doing a clean job of it. He settled to lead the field with Rider on the Storm in second. Zambian whipped around at the gates forcing the rider off.

Indian Serenade kept the momentum going and looked hard to down past the distance post. Rider on the Storm chased the winner all the way. Magnum Opus ran on to take the third spot.

Generous Lady (Varenar – Generous Grey, Equus Stud) won the first race of the day capitalizing on a good start. Sitting in second behind Tareef, Generous Lady surged ahead soon on straightening up and then galloped away from the rest in a trice. She was all alone in the final furlong and won unchallenged. Super icon made good progress in the straight to peg back Rich N Rare for the runner-up berth.

For the professionals, trainer Imtiaz Sait saddled a treble, jockey Prashant Dhebe was the lone jockey to score a double.