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By Mahendra Mallya | 14 Apr 2019 | MUMBAI

Dr Ram H Shroff & Mr Jaydev M Mody leading Gallantry (P Trevor Up), winner of The Stylecracker Million

The Mumbai Season ended on a glorious note with veteran trainer SS Shah completing 50 years of training thoroughbreds and leading-in close to a 1000 winners. Shah has been extremely popular over the decades and most of all has been a gentleman to the core. He maintained a high reputation and was one who was rooted to the ground despite several highpoints in his long and illustrious career. He also enjoyed a decent career as a jockey before taking up his trainers’ licence in 1969. He has a rare distinction of winning back-to-back Indian Derby titles with Hotstepper and Antonios. Shah had also the pleasure of leading in Amorous Knight who won the Indian Derby and the Invitation Cup. He however, may not have won as many classics as he may have wanted to, but he has been prominent among the trainers’ list all through the 50 year of his long presence. 

The RWITC thoughtfully acknowledged his achievements and presented him with a plaque and a shawl in a gesture of appreciation. The Trainers’ Association too felicitated Shah and that made up for a pleasant presentation with a large crowd happily cheering the ceremony. 

On the racing action front, Gallantry (Kingda Ka – Vittoria, Nanoli Stud) showed out by putting in a splendid performance to win the StyleCraker Million. Gallantry had it ease once he settled down to lead the four horse field. He came in charging in the straight and soon skipped away from favourite Silver Flames. Gallantry, trained by Malesh Narredu and ridden by Trevor, accelerated beautifully and put the rest out of contest as early as a furlong still left to go. Royal Crystal picked up in the latter half of the straight and did enough to peg back Silver Flames and take the runner-up berth. 

Trevor had earlier pulled off a narrow victory atop trainer MK Jadhav’s Democrat (Samhoon – Alamshaara, AB Stud), thereby living up to the promise he had shown in his last run and also vindicated his large number of supporters. He slipped ahead past leader Royal Ace soon as they turned for home and found a game challenger in Royal Ace. Democrat had surged ahead of Royal Ace coming inside the final furlong; however, Royal Ace never let him go too far and fought hard to bridge the gap but Democrat was up to it and held on by a neck to drive the advantage home. Arabian Muktar ran on to finish in the money.

Trevor won his third for the day astride Faisal Abbas trained Rospomare (Mull of Kintyre – Pescara, Sohna Stud) and well-backed favourite made light work of his rivals while compiling his maiden win on his 10th outing. Vitesse provided the momentary thrill making it harder for Rospomare to get past as he hung on to the lead deep into the straight. Rospomare though always looked good and he quickened at his own leisure to surge past Vitesse in the final furlong and stretch away to score comfortably. Cristo Boss put in a late effort to push Vitesse a spot, snatching away the runner-up slot.     

Kimberella (Western Aristocrat – Catherine Linton, Nanoli Stud)  put in a strong finishing run to sail ahead in the final 100 meters and seal the race in the hands of Dashrath Singh. The Imtiaz Sait trainee ambled along at the rear of the bunch until the straight and switched lanes for clearer passage to unleash a powerful run. Patriots Day faded out soon on turning for home as Agrami got past to lead briefly. Kimberella breezed past them all and drew away easily to post a convincing victory sparing more than two lengths at the finish. Agrami finished second, but was well-beaten. 

Faisal Abbas trained Furiosa (Arazan – Because of You, Villoo’s Greenfield Farm)put in a zippy performance to score an easy start to finish victory without encountering any danger at any stage. Jockey AS Peter had everything under control as he spurted ahead with Furiosa to take the lead soon on start. He kept the mare going at a good clip once they turned for home and Furiosa looked the winner long way from home, the rest were in futile chase. Furiosa won by three lengths to spare with Romantic Eyes following the winner home. Destined for Glory managed to pip Bee Quirky on the post for the third spot. 

Gentillesse (Varenare – Si Gentille, Equus Stud) was superbly ridden by jockey SA Amit and the lad was instrumental in providing a second win this season to the Sanjay Kolse ward. Gentillesse was the last one to turn for home and had a long leeway to cover. Cormorant had stormed ahead past the front runners in the straight and was shaping well until Excellent Sorrento emerged on the scene.  Excellent Sorrento fought hard and looked good to last when he collared Cormorant with not much to go, but he had barely taken charge when Amit brought Gentillesse on the scene and in a flash of a run managed to peg back both Excellent Sorrento and Cormorant to snatch victory which a few seconds back looked improbable. 

Champion jockey A Sandesh signed off the day with a good double. He first partnered Vinesh trained Alpine Express to a neat start to finish victory. Taking off at a brisk pace Alpine Express (Rebuttal – Pinkchuchi, Hazara Stud) come into the straight hard held and once Sandesh opened up just that bit, the six-year-old mare responded with a fiery gallop to shut the opposition even before they thought of putting up some fight. Alpine Express won in cruise mode and by a long margin clocking a fast time too. Ame wrested the second spot from Cezanne and Royston Rock, the trio finishing on closely for the minor slots. 

Sandesh duly won the concluding race of the season astride Laburnum (Top Class – Violet Sky, Mukteshwar Stud) helping the Sanjay Kolse ward notch up her maiden win. This one too was a no-contest as Laburnum sailed ahead after leading them into the straight and kicked on gamely to draw away from the field. She won by more than five lengths without being extended. Regal Shot followed the winner home. Shivalik Skies improved considerably to take the third place. 

The Champions of the Season were awarded for their commendable performances and the winners are as follows:

Champion Owners – Villoo Poonawalla Racing and Breeding Ltd

Champion Trainer – Pesi Shroff

Champion Jockey – A Sandesh

Champion Apprentice Jockey – AS Peter

Champion Jockey Claiming Allowance – AS Peter

Champion Stud Farm – Usha Stud Farm