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By Mahendra Mallya | 28 Oct 2017 | PUNE

Mr K N Dhunjibhoy leading Bateleur (A Imran Khan Up), winner of The General Rajendrasinhji Million

The penultimate day of the Pune Season 2017 saw form hold good through the day as most of the prime favourites emerge clear winners. There were several impressive performances on the day and  the picks of the lot were Bateleur and debutante Desert Pride both of whom won their respective races with distinction.

Bateleur (Western Aristocrat – Al Khazneh, Nanoli Stud) raced in the rear of the five-horse field until the turn with Orion’s Belt leading them until the turn. Daughterofthesun took charge soon on turning for home. Neither Texas Gold nor Gallant Knight were finding much, while Bateleur progressed well as she took the gap along the inner rails and scooted through to pull away in the final furlong without encountering any resistance. Bateleur won pulling up and surely have a successful Mumbai campaign as well.

Two year old Desert Pride (Strong Suit – Sheika, Manjri Stud) ran a very mature race and outpaced her three fellow-debutantes completely while coming out with flying colours on her debut run. She was out quickly from the gates and galloped fluently all through. Iconic was a couple of lengths behind the leader and had Art Manoeuvre close behind. Masar was tailed off last lagging by about four lengths.

Once into the straight, Desert Pride displayed an impressive turn of foot and stretched out nicely to add distance between herself and her rivals. She was all alone in front and jockey Suraj Narredu eased up the Altaf Hussain filly well before the winning post and she won on cruise mode, implying that she is one of the more talented filly and begs watching over in Mumbai.

Nascar (Phoenix Tower – Starlit Princess, Manjri Stud) produced a top notch performance to runaway with the Delhi Race Club Trophy shooting off the gates to lead all the way home. The speedy mare galloped on gamely all through in the straight giving no chance whatsoever to her opponents. Champagne was hard-ridden to improve places and end runner up. Super Sunshine caught the eye, coming from a long way back to end a good third.

Take Five (Excellent Art – Pandora, Poonawalla Astonish Stud) was another on-money favourite to win without causing an iota of anxiety. She was up second behind Frosted until the home turn and then unleashed a strong run to score a facile victory, coming in well ahead of the rest and without needing to go all out at any stage. You can expect her to do well in Mumbai too after her taste of victory. Frosted ran well within herself and ended chasing the winner, while Lilac Time improved in the last furlong to beat Saffron Flower for place money.

Zenon (Champs Elysees – Questa Nova, Nanoli Stud) showed no sign of any rustiness returning to the race track after a gap of about 100 days. He settled down nice and early as Arabian Storm shot ahead at the start, with the rest following close behind.

Zenon took charge as they swung around the final turn and then simple strode away smoothly leaving the rest far behind, adding ground with every stride. There was none who could produce a worthy challenge to the hot favourite and Zenon never needed to stretch himself at any stage. He won by close to four lengths without dropping sweat and this augurs well for a fruitful career ahead for the Shroff trained colt.

Timeless Deeds (Varenar – Elegante, Equus Stud) did well to sign off the season on a winning note after a few ordinary performances. She was right on the money on her last start for the season and raced among the front few until they turned for home.

Once in the straight, Timeless Deeds powered ahead with a strong thrust and kept the momentum going all the way to the wining post scoring a bright victory with two lengths to spare over the fast finishing Marvel, the latter surging well to pip Sumaaq for the runner up berth.

Multistar (Multidimensional – Star Perfection, Usha Stud) galloped to her maiden victory on her ninth start and made it an easy one beating her rivals convincingly with a good burst of speed in the homestretch.

Multistar was off quickly from the gates and sat alongside Tareef in the lead and the pair had a fairly handy lead coming into the straight. While Tareef faded out, Multiglory warmed up nicely to shoot ahead leaving the rest to catch up if they could. She was all alone in front in the final furlong and none could get any closer to Multiglory and the Shiraz Sunderji trainee kicked on gamely to score comfortably. Emotionless improved positions in the straight ending a decent second ahead of Sarrazin and Alfonso arrived with a late run to fill the frame.

Cosa Nostra (Rebuttal-Hiddenaway, Hazara Stud) pulled off a stunning upset with a pillar to post victory in the Golfing Plate. Faisal A Abbas trained Cosa Nostra that had not finished on frame in all its four starts so far paid a whopping Rs.1211 for win on tote for a tenner. The gelding shot to the lead as the gates opened with Star Of Thea and Aggregated racing close behind followed by the rest. The gelding continued to stay clearly ahead entering the straight and kicked on gamely with Aggregated rallying in second. Star Of Thea held on in third from Tanjo.

Vinay Lagad trained Knight At Arms (Tariq-Razamandi, Manju Meadows Stud) that was winless from 16 starts finally broke the ice in the concluding race of the day. The chestnut gelding raced to the front from an inward draw and brought the field into view on the home stretch. As the winning post neared Highland Princess and Adele came closing up from the outside and the three sped past the post together. Knight At Arms had held on by the proverbial whisker from Highland Princess. Adele was third another neck adrift.

For the professionals jockeys A.Imran Khan and T.S.Jodha rode a brace each.