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By Mahendra Mallya | 16 Aug 2019 | PUNE

Mr Kishore P Rungta leading Square Moon (Dashrath Singh Up), winner of The Highland Rule Trophy

Demure jockey Dashrath Singh who enjoys keeping a low profile off the saddle, was at his aggressive best while carving out a sensation victory astride Square Moon (Sedgefield – Shining Force, jai Govind Stud) in a thrilling three-way finish to clinch the Highland Rule Trophy. Guiding the Adhiraj Jodha ward into the lead from the start, Square Moon cut a steady pace all through. Oriana raced in second, while Frivolous tagged alone a couple of lengths behind.

Oriana inched closer to Square Moon at the turn and drew level soon after. Frivolous too started to bridge the gap and joined the fighting duo midway in the straight. All three runners were giving it all and the suspense was building up with every stride. They were inseparable in the final few strides and jockey Dashrath Singh rode out brilliantly to get that little extra bit that always makes the difference at the end. Square Moon held on to dear life and scored a splendid victory by a short-heat from Oriana with Frivolous just a short-neck away. The field was reduced to three with the late withdrawal of Selfie Star, but the three-horse race turned out to be the most exciting race of the day!

Jockey Dashrath Singh celebrated his fighting success with another victory astride Narendra Lagad’s Impala (Win Legend – Native Princess, Dashmesh Stud). This one was a rousing win in contrast to his earlier one. Dashrath was off with Impala soon on start and led comfortable with on-money favourite Ms Boss struggling to keep up. Ms Boss was clearly exposed as soon as they turned for home with Impala stretching out nicely and drawing away with ease. Impala won effortlessly keeping a safe distance from his rivals. Red Carnation improved well to push a head of Ms Boss by a good five lengths. Ms Boss just managed to stay ahead of Stick to the Plan to finish a tame third.   

Khartoum (Dean’s Kitten – Paradise Royale, Sohna Stud) shrugged off poor showing in recent times and came up with an inspiring performance to raise his third victory from nine career starts. With no recent form shown by the Shazaan Shah trainee, Khartoum was easily available at 20/1 or more.

Khartoum got off to a good start and led the field with Arrowfield close behind, Western Front came next with Fleur De Les and rest. Arrowfield joined Khartoum soon on turning for home with Western Front also making headway. These three were disputing the lead approaching the distance post. Arrowfield did not quicken as expected and was getting nowhere. Western Front too was not making much progress. Khartoum produced a second run and surged ahead compiling a handy lead in the final furlong which helped him eventually to ward off a late but fiery challenge from Bhaktawar. The latter covered a lot of ground steaming in powerfully and fell short by a small margin. Arrowfield finished third. Kariega was clearly short of a run as he tailed the field until into the straight and improved slightly to take the lowest slot in the frame. Earlier Tasawwur was withdrawn at the gates.

Guarnerius (Win Legend – War Machine, Dashmesh Stud) saddled by Adhiraj Jodha was ably ridden by jockey Neeraj Rawal who fought a grim battle with Knight Superior in the homestretch. Knight Superior had a slight upper hand coming into the straight and soon Guarnerius slipped in from the inner rails to challenge the leader. The duo fought out the last 300 meters neck and neck with Guarnerius prevailing by a head at the wire. Tudor Hall who garnered a lot of support at race time, ran on from behind to finish a notable third.

Karthik trained Star Comrade (Rebuttal – Celtic Memories, Hazara Stud) finally added to his win tally – he had last won in September of 2017. He was up against a weaker opposition and he raised his game to score a comfortable victory. He moved up from the third spot to take charge early in the straight. Once in the lead, Star Comrade, with Bhawani Singh in the saddle had no difficulty in carrying through all the way early leader Principessa did well to hold on to the runner-up berth just ahead of Airmax. Sylvester came with a fiery finish implying that he is striking form and is one to be noted over a slightly longer trip. On-money favourite Laburnum could not raise a gallop and never looked in contention at any stage.

Mansoor Shah’s Cupido (Rebuttal – Treimhse Tirim, Hazara Stud) finally achieved his maiden success and it took him 15 attempts to do so. However, he made u amply for the delay as he won with a widening margin shutting the opposition out early in the straight.

Saddle The Wind brought them into the straight and Cupido pounced on the leader with ease. He surged ahead and a crack or two from jockey Sandesh was just enough for Cupido to bounce away from his rivals. Cupido won by a whopping nine lengths and should do well here onwards. Saddle The Wind held on stubbornly to deny Regal Shot the second slot. Arizona Pie ran on to complete the frame. Patriots Day never looked threatening at any stage.

Deepesh Narredu trained Bonafide (Excellent Art – Bolt, Poonawalla Stud) drove home the advantage of her early speed and darted to a big lead early in the race. Favourite Silver Flames warmed up far too late to catch up with the winner. Bonafide, ridden by apprentice jockey Gagandeep Mann, had a good lead in the straight and although Silver Flames started to cover ground in the final furlong, he had too much ground to cover, hence he could only reduce the margin while finishing second. Agrami was slowly off but made progress late in the race to pick up place money, but was never close to the top two.

For the professionals, trainer Adhiraj Jodha and jockey Dashrath Singh scored a double each.