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By Mahendra Mallya | 22 Sep 2018 | PUNE

Trainer P Shroff leading Cambridge (Neeraj Rawal Up), winner of Pune City Gold Cup (Gr.3)

Cambridge (Burden of Proof – Chemerique, Kunigal Stud) scored his biggest win yet with a show of quality, class and temperament. The line-up for the Pune City Gold Cup (Gr3) was top class and it seemed anybody’s race when the starter pressed the button. B Fifty Two set the pace with You Royal Majesty in second, Perfect Star and Auburn followed closed behind with Cambridge in fifth galloping alongside New England, while Supreme General and Whomakestherules at the rear.  

B Fifty Two ran out of gas surprisingly early and soon Your Royal Majesty took charge with the competition ready to pounce on him. Auburn got closer but could not quicken well enough, Cambridge, with Neeraj Rawal in the saddle, made quick headway to get past Auburn and challenge the leader. Cambridge put in a spirited gallop and shot past Your Royal Majesty with ease and looked in control. New England put in a late but strong bid, however he came in far too late as Cambridge kicked on well to stay ahead at the wire and warded off the late challenger by a narrow margin. Your Royal Majesty ended a good third while Auburn finished a tame fourth.  

Desperado (Win Legend – Integra) arriving from Bangalore based trained Neil Darashah’s yard, scored an impressive victory, leaving the local competition far behind in the straight. Jockey Arshad Alam settled Desperado in second behind early leader Gloriosus and sailed smoothly ahead soon on turning for home. Arshad Alam just needed to niggle the strapping bay gelding and Desperado showed clean pair of heels to speed away from Barbaresco and company compiling a huge lead along the way, without actually extending himself. With this fluent win, Desperado comes under the spotlight as one of the top contenders for the Pune Derby coming up next month. Barbaresco found one too good and galloped well within himself to take the runner up berth. Sassy Lass ran on to save place money.  

Falconette (Ravel – Gatling) took off well from the gates and jockey Sandesh settled in second as Whitewalker got past her to lead them into the straight. Actionable veered out at the start and lost some ground and Marianella too was tardy at the start and was at the tail end all the way into the straight.  Falconette snatched the lead back from Whitewalker soon on entering the straight. Whitewalker fought hard to stay in contention but Falconette simply got stronger in the final furlong and won drawing away by a comfortable margin to achieve her maiden success. Whitewalker ran on to finish second, while Marianella progressed in the straight to finish third ahead of Actionable.  

Gold Bold (Dean’s Kitten – Sharatila) with Dashrath Singh in the saddle drove the low weight advantage to the hilt, staying on after taking charge in the homestretch to hold on from the fast finishing top weight Frivolous by a narrow margin.  Zanara led all the way into the straight but didn’t last it out as she did earlier. Lord of the Sea shaped well this time, but failed to sustain when Gold Bond came to challenge. Frivolous who was the last one into the straight, took a while to accelerate, but when he did, he came with a fast gallop but was a stride too late to peg back the winner.  

Golden Weaver (Tariq – Venus Arising, Nanoli Stud) won the first race of the day with an awesome late dash to pip Tenerife on the post. Tenerife hit the front soon on start and galloped at a good clip. Hudson followed the filly into the straight and tried hard to pose a challenge. Tenerife however, kicked on gamely and thwarted Hudson’s attempt. Golden Weaver came alive when Tenerife was being hailed as the winner and arrived with a scorching burst to hit the wire in the nick of time to pull off a thrilling victory on the last stride.

Outstanding (Phoenix Tower – Oasis Gold) produced a blistering finish and put in an electrifying run to first outpace Bee Quirky and then fight off the late challenge that came from Rising Concert. Bee Quirky had stolen a march coming into the homestretch and had had even shaped up well approaching the distance post. Zervan atop Outstanding slipped in through the rails and outstanding started to heat up for the final furlong. She picked up momentum in the last 150 or so and arrived with a speedy gallop. About the same time, Rising Concert too picked up speed and both zipped ahead of the hapless Bee Quirky. Outstanding was clearly finishing better and eventually won by over a length.