- india's first & foremost horse racing portal


By Mahendra Mallya | 15 Aug 2019 | PUNE

Mr Shiven Surendranath & trainer Adhiraj S Jodha leading Lucky Luciano (A Imran Khan Up), winner of The Mayor Baburao Sanas Memorial Independence Million powered by SRS Group

Adhirajsingh Jodha trained Lucky Luciano (Rebuttal – Aksinya, Vikram Greenfield Farm) put in a fluent stretch-run to win the Mayor Baburao Sanas Memorial Independence Million, the feature race of the day. Settling quickly in to third spot, Lucky Luciano made a decisive forward move as jockey Imran Khan picked up speed while turning the bend and made an aggressive forward surge. At that moment, with the field huddled together, it seemed he had hurried off a tad too soon, however, Lucky Luciano stretched out nicely to quell all anxiety of his connections as he galloped away all through the straight leaving nothing to chance. He looked the winner even as they approached the distance post and Imran Khan had the luxury of easing him up a couple of strides from the winning post. Benevolence ended up chasing the winner while Star Silver edged out the fast finishing Brazos to save the place money.

Veteran trainer SS Shah was in business scoring a lucrative double on the day. His ward Xoxo had showed plenty of finishing speed last time out when he just missed to knock out Adele by a narrow margin to claim the Dr PK Sardeshmukh Maharaj Trophy. This time however he fought harder and held on for a positive result at the wire.

Angel’s Harmony led the field into the straight with Arabian Storm and Ame close behind. Xoxo moved up from the outside, while favourite Super Mario got an opening along the rails. Arabian Storm was a touch unlucky as he got stuck between Angel’s Harmony and Xoxo t a crucial juncture. Xoxo was in full flight and shot ahead with about 100 meters to go. Super Mario too made a good charge towards the winning post, but failed to quicken adequately as Xoxo kept the momentum going all through to notch up victory in a close finish. Super Mario was a gallant second, but had his chances alright. Arabian Storm fought his way through to ensure the place stakes.

Trainer Shah then saddled Flying Dragon (Tariq – Divine Elegance, Yeravada Stud) and jockey M Ayyar rode his heart out to emerge victorious. Whoopsidaisy faded out soon after leading them until the turn and Allegria was slightly ahead as they straightened for home. Flying Dragon soon joined Allegria and tackled him easily. He shot ahead compiling a handy lead coming into the final furlong. Gandalf slipped through the rails while Romantic Eyes, Dragonmoss and She’s A Tiger were all hard at work snapping at the leader’s tail. Flying Dragon however, kicked on gamely to score comfortably in the end. Gandalf took the second spot, while She’s A Tiger edged out Romantic Eyes for the place money.

Gazino (Surfrider – La Joconde, Ruia Stud) produced a superlative thrust when it most mattered and did commendably well to pip Flaming Martini on the last stride. The Noshir Cama trainee was way too far behind just before the turn and it took some speed to rally from that distance. Wild Fire led them into the straight with favourite King Khalil right behind. Before King Khalil could even think of surging ahead, Flaming Martini zipped through from his outside to storm ahead. Flaming Martini shaped well as she seemed to have amassed a decent lead, however Gazino, with Neeraj Rawal in the saddle had other ideas. He whipped up enough speed from Gazino and the five-year-old unleashed a terrific burst of speed to pip Flaming Martini right on time to win by a narrow margin. Excellent Gold came with a late finish a faraway third well ahead of King Khalil.

The well-backed favourite Nightfall (Strategic Prince- Onlybythenight, Vikram Greenfield) scored a confident victory, adding to his solitary win that was logged two years back. Entrusted to ace jockey Sandesh, Nightfall settled in fourth as Forever Free led them all the way into the straight. Forever Free galloped strongly on entering the homestretch, but soon Nightfall started to wear him down. He caught up with Forever Free soon on entering the final furlong and the surged past easily to score a comfortable victory. Forever Free ended a good second, while Cray Cray ended a tame third ahead of Vitesse.

Trainer Narendra Lagad scored a back-to-back double at the start of the day. His ward Abraxas (Roi Maudit – Flaming Ruby, Country Stud) fought stablemate and favourite Godsword for the lead right from the start and these two completely outpaced the other runners.

A long-drawn battle began as soon as they turned for home with Abraxas fighting hard to thwart the looming threat posed by Godsword. The pair fought out the length of the homestretch with both going stride for stride. Abraxas held on grimly to carve out victory by half a length. Teodor Monte ended a tame third.

It was an even closer finish in the very next race with Lagad’s stable-mates yet again involved in a fierce fight. This time it was Brave who surged into the lead soon on turning for home and favourite Julio Cesaro (Diffident – Bayberry, Yeravada Stud) setting up the chase. Brave seemed to have the slight upper hand going into the final furlong, however Julio Cesaro produced a sustained gallop to pip Brave on the post by the shortest of margins. Windsor Fortune ran on to finish third.

For the professionals, trainers SS Shah and Narendra Lagad and apprentice jockey Aniket Karande logged a double each.