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By Mahendra Mallya | 21 Sep 2019 | PUNE

Trainer Vishal Gaikwad leading La Rondine (Akshay Kumar Up), winner of The Pune City Gold Cup (Gr.3)

Vishal Gaikwad trained La Rondine (Kingda Ka – Rahy’s Serenade, Nanoli Stud) produced a scorching gallop at the business end to catch Bronx just in time to snatch victory in a thrilling finish. Bronx was out quickly and paced in front at a good clip leading them all the way into the homestretch. Favourite Awesome One galloped close behind along with New England on his outside, Governor General and La Rondine were in the rear, not too far away. 

Bronx kicked on gamely as he led them into the straight, but Awesome One couldn’t produce a gallop. He faded away alarmingly, giving an impression that beyond seven furlongs would be tougher for him in a competitive set. New England threw a decent challenge drawing up to Bronx threateningly close and sticking by. Just as these two were battling it out towards the finish, La Rondine started to devour ground briskly with giant strides. With less than a furlong to go, three of the field of five were involved in a thrilling finish. La Rondine with the aggressive Akshay Kumar astride finished on full of steam to peg back the duo and score a splendid win. Bronx fought well and missed out narrowly while New England fell back in the final few strides. 

Adhiraj Singh Jodha trained Tasawwur (Multidimensional – Transformation, Usha Stud) got better after a run this season and packed off his rivals with a pleasing performance. Jockey Sandesh settled Tasawwur in the mid-bunch for the early half of the 2000m journey and made steady progress past the 800 meter mark to be in striking third at the turn. Once they turned for home, Tasawwur charged ahead aggressively and picked up speed in a trice. Within a couple of strides he sailed away and built himself a handy cushion. However, he had sealed the issue by then as there was challenge brewing behind him and he romped home to win by over five lengths. Wizard of Stocks improved well from the rear to beat the rest including Arrowfield along the way to take the runner-up berth. 

The Change of Luck Plate for three-year-old maidens proved to be a great thriller with three fancied runners finishing together in a gripping finish. Cipher (Excellent Art – Mooring, Poonawalla Stud) was quick on the jump but fell back to third as En Sabah Nur and Chephirah got going at one another setting off at a fast pace. 

Into the straight, they battled on fiercely as Chephirah drew level with En Sabah Nur, but encountered strong resistance from the early leader. Cipher didn’t seem to be going anywhere as the duo had pulled away from her early in the straight. But the Asad Siddiqui ward was not done yet and he came charging in at the fighting pair. With not much ground to go, it looked a tough ask for Cipher; fortunately jockey Neeraj Rawal didn’t feel so and he arrived with Cipher responding ably to catch the duo in the nick of time and carve out a narrow victory in a here-way finish. Cipher timed his run to a nicety and prevailed by a head. For their brilliant display of the fighting finish, a dead-heat was declared between En Sabah Nur and Chephirah, which was the ideal strictly for the two runners who raced fiercely all through the straight.
Noshir Cama trained Clarke Kent (Stern Opinion – Silk Runner, Pratap Racecitement) showed clean pair of heels as he charged to the front to lead the field with favourite Belenus and a bunch following close behind. If the favourite had any ideas of catching up with Clark Kent early in the straight, then it evaporated soon, as Clark Kent darted further ahead and out of reach in the first half of the homestretch. Clark Kent, with jockey Yash Narredu in the saddle, blazed away in style to compile an impressive victory, the first one for Clark Kent on his sixth start.
Hosidar Daji trained Aurora Australis (Ace – Bering South, Poonawalla Stud) produced a powerful gallop in the straight under jockey Amyn Merchant to collar two-time winner of the season, Power of Thor in the final furlong. Nightfall fell back after leading them home and soon Power of Thor assumed command to go clear. Amyn Merchant swayed astutely to get Aurora Australis a clear passage from the wider outside and set about in chase of Power of Thor. He was inching closer with every stride and soon swooped on the leader and charged forward to win it by a comfortable margin. Power of Thor ended a good second, well ahead of Adonijah.
Jockey Sandesh brought up his double for the day astride MK Jadhav trained Ame (Diffident – Premier Connection, Yerawada Stud) in the last race of the day. This one too was an exciting finish with those in the back coming charging in late towards the finish.
Cray Cray and Gloriana were at the helm coming into the straight and soon Gloriana took over and shaped well too, until Ame sprang from the rails to switch lanes at challenged Gloriana for the lead. Ame was travelling a lot better and Gloriana just caved in to the assault. However, Highland Wind breezed in with a whirlwind gallop and almost caught Ame falling short by just under one length. Sandesh rode a near-perfect race timing his finish well and urging Ame to hold on to win in a close finish. Solo Winner made huge progress in the straight, rising from the last position and finishing on fast along the inside to finish an eye-catching third.  
Jockey A Sandesh was the lone professional to score a double.