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By Mahendra Mallya | 23 Sep 2018 | PUNE

Trainer Imtiaz A Sait leading Caprisca (A Sandesh Up), winner of The Indian St Leger (Gr.1)

Ace jockey A Sandesh bagged a rich haul on Leger day botting home three winners including the Indian St Leger (Gr1), the main event of the day. This year’s edition for the Indian Classic did wear an open look and Caprisca (Steinbeck – Xisca, Greentree Stud) was neglected in the betting, particularly on her last run in the lead-up race, the Idar Gold Trophy (Gr3) won by Sana, where Caprisca packed up and finished last of the five runners over 2400m.

Sagittarius set a decent pace as they strode out past the Grand Stands for the first time with Kambaku alongside and keen to get away, with Sana in third as they swung past the winning post with the entire circuit to go.

Kambaku soon took over and dictated the pace with Sagittarius and Sana not too far away, the rest followed a distance away with Caprisca sitting well off the pace – detached last. They all closed in bridging the gap past the 800m marker and at the turn the field of eight were within striking distance of one another, but for the tiring Sagittarius and In It To Win It, both lagging behind.

Sana closed in on Kambaku as they turned for home and jockey Srinath got to work on her as she got past Kambaku and led briefly. Favourite Dancing Dragon had the opportunity when he improved positions to be right up close to the front runners approaching the distance post, but he simply could not step on it, ending a tame fourth, just about beating Kambaku for the slot in the frame.

Caprisca and Sandesh arrived with a big gallop emerging midway up the straight and Caprisca took charge, galloping at full steam. The Imtiaz Sait ward ran the best race of his life. He took one’s breath away with the way he dominated the final furlong, leaving even the likes of Sana far behind with an electrifying finish, one which not many expected. Caprisca won the Indian St Leger in style beating the rest comprehensively. Reunion, who had finished behind Desert God in the President of India Gold Cup (Gr2) recently, with Hyderabad sensation Akshay Kumar in the saddle, did well to beat Sana for the runner-up berth.

Governor General (Phoenix Tower – Dancing Highness, Amanali Stud), from the stables of trainer MK Jadhav won at lucrative odds as favourite Glyndebourne failed and finished in the rut. The race, named after Late Magan Singh P Jodha, was an exciting one with top class sprinters in the fray. Abbey led them into the homestretch and soon Holy Smoke got past to take the lead. Holy Smoke shaped well but Governor General dashed all his hopes as he produced a scintillating gallop at the business end to zip past and sail away to score by more than two lengths clocking a quick time of less than 1:10 seconds for the 1200m sprint. Another ‘old timer’ Congressional beat the younger sprinters to claim the third place ahead of Clymene, the latter ending a tame fourth.

La Magnifique (Shamardal – Ajaweed, Equus Stud) produced sheer brilliance in the homestretch to outclass her rivals while claiming the CA Kuts Trophy, a six furlong affair for class III horses. Slam Dunk led them all the way into the straight and then kicked on as long as he could. There were a bunch of horses snapping at his tail and the moment La Magnifique got the opening she was anticipating all the while, she pushed through and darted ahead with a flourish to draw away from them all. She too clocked under 1:10 which is commendable and looks good to pick a couple more in the near future. Queen Credible covered a lot of ground and improved considerably from last to finish a good second ahead of Miss Moneypenny and Slam Dunk. Bottega Louie finished off the frame but you got to ignore his run. He got stuck along the rails and was hopelessly surrounded by horses and got a severe check at a crucial stage putting paid to all his chances. He needs to be given another chance.

Excellent Ella (Excellent Art – Aemilia) achieved her maiden success on her first run at Pune and her second career start. Trained by Deepesh Narredu, Excellent Ella was up in front alongside Fanfare and they entered the straight together with favourite Eagelinthesky a length or two behind the pair. Excellent Ella got the measure of her companion and surged into the lead. Gandalf forced his way between horses to challenge Excellent Ella. Eagelinthesky was erratic and not coming to terms despite the jockeys efforts. Excellent Ella up in front was ready for the challenge and fought hard to ward off Gandalf and win by a narrow margin. Honourable Eyes took the third place ahead of Fanfare.

Mount Olympus (Win Legend – Integral, Dashmesh Stud) scored a fluent start to finish victory without encountering any threat at any stage. The Narendra Lagad trainee shot ahead on start and kept a safe distance ahead of the rest even as they turned for home. Once into the straight Mount Olympus picked up momentum and drew away from his rivals to win by a healthy margin. Favourite Charles Bridge was ridden out but could not match up to the winner. He ended second ahead of Oriana.

Bushtops (Archipenko – Etroubles, Nanoli Stud) brought about his maiden win in a very impressive manner and overcame a bit of an erratic start while taking time to settle down as well. Jetfire strode out well to the front and led the field home. He had a handy lead and Bushtops had some leeway to cover. Jetfire fired away past the distance post when Bushtops warmed up and arrived with a scintillating burst of speed. He just sailed past Jetfire and galloped majestically to win in an emphatic manner. In this kind of form, Bushtops looks certain to add to his tally. Jetfire was overwhelmed but did well to pick up the runner up berth behind a good horse. El Comandante ended in the money and will live to fight another day.

Shivalik Skies (Rebuttal – Well Rehearsed, Hazara Stud) won in a thrilling finish and was well ridden by SG Prasad for trainer Vijay Kasbekar. Grand Chieftain got past Whoopsidaisy and stormed into the lead entering the homestretch. Gold Magic came in with a fast gallop to draw closer to the leader. Shivalik Skies inched his way closer and made a valiant bid from the outside and jockey SG Prasad rode his heart out and came in strongly to pip Grand Chieftain on the post with Gold Magic adding to the thrill in an exciting three way finish to conclude the day on an enthralling note. For the professionals, jockey A Sandesh was the star of the day with a treble that included the feature event, the Indian St Leger atop Caprisca, while trainer MK Jadhav saddled a lucrative double.