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By Mahendra Mallya | 03 Aug 2019 | PUNE

Trainer Altamash Ahmed leading Princess Annabel (Bhawani Singh), winner of The August Handicap

Lesser fancied Princess Annabel (Arazan – Priceless Glory, Villoo’s Greenfield Farm) made up for her disappointing Bangalore trip with a gutsy win, producing a spirited finish to trounce Mzilikazi close home to land the spoils and claim the August Handicap by a close margin. The Altamash Ahmed trained filly settled down nicely in the mid-bunch as Cliffs of Capri led the field into the straight. Mzilikazi moved up nicely and did well to avoid the sudden outward drift of Cliffs of Capri and managed to zip ahead for his final run. Divine Glory got a good opening along the inner rails and he made some headway there, but failed to capitalize on the fortuitous passage he got at an opportune time.

Mzilikazi got past the leader shaping well and just when it looked like he would accelerate and seal it off, Princess Annabel arrived with a dazzling run to surge ahead and clear in a matter of strides to win stretching away with a well-timed finish. Jockey Bhawani Singh was instrumental in the victory and it was a job well done. Mzilikazi was shocked when it looked good for him, while Divine Glory just couldn’t match up and ended a tame third.

Kingsman (Phoenix Tower – Marquisa, Nanoli Stud) galloped to an impressive victory taking his haul to five wins from eight starts with a hattrick compiled between the two Western India centres.

Valegro strode out freely in front and dictated his own pace and looked comfortable entering the straight. Truly Epic drew closer but could not get going. Jockey Yash Narredu soon got busy and started to level up with Valegro, drawing closer with every stride. He rode out competently and was soon all over the hard-ridden Valegro. It was a matter of time before Kingsman got the better of Valegro and sailed ahead to win comfortably. The Deepesh Narredu ward showed that he is improving with every run and this certainly was his best win yet. Valegro was a capable runner-up and will bide his time to score this season. Zenon did well to improve in the straight and snatch the third place from Truly Epic.

Headway (Arazan – Mazeej, Poonawalla Stud) was the shortest priced runner of the day but did cause some anxious moments to his backers as had to free himself from getting cramped along the rails, make his own passage and then fight hard to earn his second career win, his first at Pune.

Charles Bridge had a good lung-opener as he led them into the straight before dropping out gradually. Soon Jetfire took charge fighting off Quail Hollow in the process. However, before Jetfire could go too far away, jockey CS Jodha manoeuvred Headway between a bunch of horses and made his own passage in the nick of time. The Sunderji ward responded aptly to the jockey’s call and started to accelerated fluently and looked the winner once he was in for the clear run. He sailed past Jetfire to score an authoritative win with his fiery finish. Jetfire yet again had to be content with the runner-up tag. Wilshire pegged back Quail Hollow for the place money.

Nazak Chinoy’s Adele (Phoetix Tower – Mosiac, Manjri Stud) lived up to the promise she had shown in her last start to clip away right on time on this occasion to score a thrilling win with a bunch of horses lunging for the wire. This was her second career win. Piloted by jockey PP Dhebe,  Adele had to fight it out all the way with Xoxo getting dangerous close in the final fifty meters. Dhebe rode with aggression and once he charged ahead, kept the momentum going all the way to etch out a narrow victory. Xoxo ended a ‘head’ second finishing just ahead of Brave and Royston Rock.

Trainer Dallas Todywalla scored a double with Red Fire and Highland Lass both of whom emerged out of maiden ranks.

Red Fire (Burden of Proof – Stellar Affair, Star Born Stud) achieved her maiden win thanks to a good piece of riding by apprentice lad Vinod. He switched lanes just in time to move outward and Red Fire began to pick up speed. Panaraea and Sixth Emperor were fighting in front when Red Fire confronted them and snatched the lead. Lilibeth arrived with  a powerful burst poking through horses, but just failed to nail Red Fire and ended an eye=catching second. Panaraea kicked on to finish third ahead of Sixth Emperor.

Highland Lass had it much easier as jockey Sandesh got going on the filly soon in the homestretch. Highland Lass proved far too superior to the rest as she drew away from them all in no time. She won by five lengths leaving no chance to her rivals to even think about challenging her. Auspicious stayed on ending up chasing the winner, while Navigator ran on to finish in the money.

Trainer Dallas Todywalla was the lone pro to score a double.