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By Mahendra Mallya | 13 Oct 2018 | PUNE

Trainer Imtiaz A Sait leading Raees (C S Jodha Up), winner of The Suresh Mahindra Trophy

Trainer Imtiaz Sait achieved a huge personal landmark on Saturday leading in his 2000th winner and becoming the first trainer from western India to cross the 2000 mark. Raees (Sedgefield – Perfection, Jai Govind Stud) fought his way in the homestretch to strike it rich for Imtiaz Sait while winning the 3200m Suresh Mahindra Trophy (Gr3).

Frivolous, Vulcan and Raees shared the market trends and a close finish was always on the cards. Square Moon the rank outsider among the four runners, set the early pace and led comfortably until well into the backstretch. The others started closing in gradually and when they turned for home, Vulcan and Raees began their duel. Frivolous, who lost about five lengths at the start had tailed the field all along and started to inch closer to the fighting duo after turning for home.

Vulcan and Raees raged a tough battle in the first half of the straight and it was the top weighted Vulcan who blinked first. Just as Raees, with jockey CS Jodha in the saddle, surged past Vulcan, Frivolous began his assault. He was bridging the gap briskly and finishing on the fastest. It looked touch and go with just about 50 to go, but Jodha managed to get everything out of Raees to stay ahead at the wire, thwarting the late bid of Frivolous in the nick of time. Raees prevailed by a neck eventually, while Frivolous was applauded for his gallant effort over the gruelling distance. Raees successfully defended his title having won this race last year as well.

Intense Stylist (Western Aristocrat – Spica, Ruia Stud) won his second race on the trot with as much ease as he did the last time. He ambled along to settle in the fourth spot as Orion’s Bet led them into the homestretch, with Angle’s harmony and Flower Dust in tow.

Jockey CS Jodha made smooth progress with Intense Stylist and grabbed the lead soon on turning for home and then stretched out fluently to add distance between him and his rivals. Celestial Light had dropped the rider (who escaped unhurt) at the gates, came right across Timeless Deeds at the distance post, hampering the filly’s progress just a bit as jockey Zeeshan managed to check his mount and then progress to finish runner-up, finishing comfortably ahead of Angel’s Harmony. Intense Stylish won fashionably and should be followed the next time out as well, which may well be early Mumbai.

Jockey PS Chouhan reaped rich rewards for Jaydev Mody donning the owner’s silks and scoring a fine treble. They started off with a win in the opening race with Nirad Karanjawalla trained Zanzibaar (Chevalier – Delta Port, Ruia Stud) providing a winning start for the day.

Settling in third behind leader Lambretta and Royal Ace until the turn, Zanzibaar poked through between the two to take charge soon on turning for home. Once in the lead, Zanzibaar galloped gamely to stay ahead all the way to the wire. Hope and Glory and Artus both tried hard to catch up, however, Zanzibaar sustained the momentum all the way leaving no chance for either to stump him late in the race. Artus progressed to finish on the tail of the winner and Hope and Glory laboured hard to finish third.

The next conquest was immediate in the second race with Lorraine (Mull of Kintyre – Fourpenny Lane, Sohna Stud), the winner coming from trainer Mansoor Shah’s stables. Wilshire lost a lot of ground at the start while Godsword kicked away to establish a healthy lead right until they turned for home. Lorraine chased the winner into the straight and still had to cover over three lengths. She picked up speed and soon it was clear that she would get past the leader in a matter of strides. Natalma meanwhile, progressed from the fifth spot and was coming hard at the front runners. Lorraine took charge approaching the distance post and soon stretched away to score a comfortable victory, her first career win on her eighth start.  Natalma ran on to finish second best, but this run would have done her a lot of good. Godsward kicked on to finish in the money.

PS Chouhan then drove Pokerface (Stern Opinion – Silk Runner, Pratap Racecitement) to a tidy win to make it a very fruitful day for Jaydev Mody. He was up in front soon on start just behind Slam Dunk all the way into the straight. Riquewihr was right behind, but did not show the zip he did last time out. Enchanted too was never in the hunt and finished in the rut.

Pokerface charged ahead past Slam Dunk after facing a bit of resistance from the early leader and once he got past, he sped away to score comfortably by close to three lengths. Slam Dunk ended a good second, while Gold Field beat Riquewihr for the place money.   

Debutante Tasawwur (Multidimensional – Transformation, Greentree Stud) had to fight and fight again to secure his debut win both on the turf where he lost by a nose, and then took the battle to the stewards’ room with jockey Sandesh lodging an objection against Trevor atop Mystic Flame, the original winner. Sandesh contested that he was hampered by the drift of Mystic Flame and had to check his mount at a crucial stage. The Stewards viewed the incident and considering the close verdict seemed right to have reversed the verdict and declared Tasawwur the winner.

Royston Rock (Mull of Kintyre – Tekindia, Sohna Stud) lived up to her promise she had shown in her previous outing and got one better to achieve her maiden success on her 12th start. She followed Fire Flame all the way into the straight and zipped past quickly to establish a handy lead. Jockey Zeeshan rode the Mansoor Shah ward all the way without encountering any danger and won well by a decent margin too. Bay of Love made good progress along the inner rails to finish a good second; Shakin Stevens improved to peg back Fire Flame for place money.

Masterofbalantrae (Multidimensional – Botswana, Usha Stud) picked up his first victory in Class II with a fine performance after he was found wanting in his last couple of runs. Jockey P Trevor settled the Vishal Gaikwad ward in third position behind Bunting and Star Councillor until they straightened up for home. Once into the straight, Masterofbalantrae accelerated quickly to surge ahead working up a good pace and building on the lead. He looked home and dry coming into the final furlong, but Trevor kept egging him on playing it safe and secure keeping the late finishing Star of Thea at bay. Queen Credible yet again came in from the rear to finish third.

Texas Gold was worst affected in the straight as he got squeezed between horses and could never find clear passage. At one stage it even looked like the jockey would fall off as he got severely unbalanced approaching the distance post. This run of Texas Gold is best ignored.

Dance of Fire (Phoenix Tower – Koh Samui, Manjri Stud) produced her best when lest expected and made a telling charge soon on entering the homestretch. Jockey C Umesh got going and kept the pressure on all the way. That ploy came in handy as the late challengers were indeed late and missed catching up with Dance of Fire who ran away to notch up her maiden win on her 19th start. Dusky Siren was thirteenth at the turn and finished a commendable second, pegging back Julio Cesaro and Sandra while finishing on the haunches of the winner.

For the professionals, jockey PS Chouhan was the star performer of the day with a treble, while trainer Mansoor Shah and jockey CS Jodha scored a double each.