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By Mahendra Mallya | 26 Aug 2017 | PUNE

Trainer Altamash A Ahmed leading Alaindair (A Imran Khan Up), winner of The Pune City Gold Cup (Gr.3)

‘Age is just a number’ they say and Alaindair proved the adage right as he showed a zestful brilliance at the business end to collar old foe Your Royal Majesty at the wire to snatch victory and bag a rich purse for the Pune City Gold Cup (Gr3) with a whirlwind of a finish. You Royal Majesty had shaped like a winner as he assumed charge soon on entering the homestretch. B Fifty Two, hitherto in command tried hard to stay in contention but failed to match the top speed of Your Royal Majesty. Alaindair (Multidimensional – God’s Grace, Usha Stud) meanwhile, was looking to improve positions but had to wait for the gaps to make his move and that was consuming crucial time as he had Phoenix Tiger, Congressional and Traherne right in front of him approaching the distance post. Jockey Imran Khan somehow made his own way and surged between horses to shake off the trio and go for the leader. Alaindair responded with his old fiery gallop and arrived with a terrific run to pip Your Royal Majesty in a cracker of a finish.

Palatial (Pivotal – Pink Palace) was rewarded for his consistency but had to fight hard yet again to win the Her Majesty Trophy. Settling in second behind Winter Renaissance early on in the race Palatial dropped to third as Mekong Delta made a surprising surge forward at the half way stage. Mekong Delta then bounded forward at the turn trying to pull the runaway tactics, but jockey Neeraj Rawal atop Palatial was right up to the task and never let Mekong Delta to get away from him. Palatial found his rhythm midway in the straight and galloped resolutely to peg back Mekong Delta to carve out a narrow win.

Debutante Bateleur (Western Aristocrat – Al Khazneh, Nanoli Stud) belied his not-fully-tuned paddock looks and that makes his victorious debut even more admirable. He surely looked as if he could lose some pounds but then on the track he moved swiftly to take a handy lead entering the straight. He galloped smoothly to stay ahead all the way without exactly firing on all cylinders, which is why Admo managed to cut the margin to under a length. With this run behind him Bateleur should strip fitter and seems certain to provide an encore.

Stallone (Express Wish – La Chicaluna, Mebajeona Stud) earned his maiden success with a game gallop in the homestretch to beat more fancied opponents with ease. Stunner and Ascension, the two top fancies were out in front at the turn. Stunner tried to stick on to the lead, staying marginally ahead of Ascension. Stallone arrived with a big gallop in the final furlong and sped away from the battling duo to earn his first taste of victory. Stunner disappointed yet again barely managing to keep Ascension at bay.

Vistana (Dancing Forever – Kabubina, Hazara Stud) that had not seen the winning post for over 2 ½ years rallied strongly to lift the Jaidev Plate. Bezan Chenoy’s 6 year old mare came out well from the outermost line up and quickly joined the bunch in front. As they rounded the bend the lead changed and Free Speech shot ahead to take it up. Vistana covered ground from the outside and overhauled the leader inside the final furlong and kicked on well even as Streetjammer warmed up late to be the runner-up. The Civilian got the better of Free Speech for the third place.

Karthik Ganapathy trained Regal Shot (Mull Of Kintyre - Six Stars, Sohna Stud) dropped a bombshell while opening its account in the division I of the Star Wish Plate. A rank outsider among the dozen runners for the seven furlongs race, Regal Shot jumped out nicely from the innermost draw and stayed well in third while Rapid Girl and Way Ahead disputed the lead. On entering the straight Regal Shot found an inviting gap along the rails and did not waste time in going for it. Travelling the best among the three Regal Shot hit the winning post first followed by Way Ahead and Rapid Girl.

Jockey P Trevor who had reached the landmark of 1000 wins a day earlier at Mysore continued with his quest with Knight’s Queat (Arazan – Mystic Quest, Exhiliration Stud) in the opening event of the day, the lower division of the Star Wish Plate. Powerhaus was on a start to finish bid and came in with a clear lead into the home stretch. Trevor had started to get his mount into rhythm turning for home and the bay gelding from trainer Narendra Lagad’s stable sped past the fancied stable companion. Huzzah’s Grace was third further behind.

Trainer S Waheed’s Super Icon (Noverre-Arhaaff, Sohna Stud) that had met one better in the last two starts this season came good to score an impressive victory in the Golden Edition Plate. Travelling about three away from the inner rails all the way Super Icon shot ahead with a furlong left with Adele in tow in the second place. Lilac Time and Royal News finished third and fourth respectively.

The day ended with another rank outsider Ainra (Placerville – Refresh, Poona Stud) from trainer M K Jadhav pulling it off in the Marinsky Plate. The 7 years old shot to the front from the innermost draw and made every post a winning one over the sprint trip. Silk Baby, that was in chase right from the start tried hard to collar the leader but failed in its attempt and finished second from the fast finishing Divine Solitaire.

For the professionals only jockey A Imran Khan managed to complete a double.