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By Mahendra Mallya | 22 Sep 2019 | PUNE

Trainer J E Mckeown leading Adjudicate (A Sandesh Up), winner of The Indian St. Leger (Gr.1)

Revenge Can be sweet, oh not the hard core ones, but in the sports arena. The green turf is no exception where many battles have been fought and fortunes have swayed. Patience is the name of the game and perseverance the mantra. One such story unfolded on Sunday at Pune. Adjudicate (Multidimensional – Alvarita, Usha Stud) who had been at the receiving end not once but twice not so long ago, struck back with a vengeance showing her superiority and doing a lot more than just ‘damage control’ to her reputation. In fact, she enhanced her reputation and status in the manner she won the Indian St Leger (Gr1).

Few would have thought so when the four runners stepped out of the gates and Roberta found herself in the front. They crawled for most of the journey with Roberta dictating the pace on her terms; Adjudicate didn’t mind hanging a couple of lengths behind, with Golden Fortune and Bushtops ambling along behind these two. Adjudicate abruptly played the aggressor as she picked up pace to join Roberta a furlong from the final turn and then got past her on cruise mode. Not wanting to let Adjudicate go too far ahead, Bushtops hurried in pursuit. But it was clear even before they turned for home that the three contenders were confronting a totally different Adjudicate this time.

The James McKeown trained filly was class apart as she trudged on merrily with jockey Sandesh not needing to move a muscle. Adjudicate sped away double-hand-full as they say while Roberta and the other two laboured along without hope. Adjudicate romped home in style and it was a pleasing performance all right. The only reason Roberta ended only two lengths behind Adjudicate was because Adjudicate won easing up. The timing too was not among the quickest, but then why should that be a bother when the task was achieved spending a lot less than required!

For a filly nagged with constant niggles, trainer James McKeown deserves high praise. He would have certainly been under a lot of pressure after Bushtops marred the reputation of the filly with his dominance in the previous two encounters. Adjudicate didn’t even have to fight her conqueror off in the Leger and that earns the filly the highest accolades. She can now rest and so can McKeown with the laurels they have earned. McKeown in particular would savour his first Indian Classic success, which is the sweetest and memorable through the lifetime.

Flying Visit (China Visit – Oh Ah Camera, Usha Stud) justified the support and put in a commendable performance to score his fourth career win from seven starts. Flying Visit scored a polished win looking in control all the way. The Imtiaz Sait trainee got into the early lead soon on start, but let Magistero get past to lead the field. Soon even Questionable moved head to join the leader and Flying Visit was unperturbed staying in third, but not letting the two in front get too far ahead.

Flying Visit got down to business soon on turning for home and cruised past Magistero; Questionable had thrown in the towel by then and Flying Visit was comfortably in front speeding away to victory and claim the Magansingh Jodha Trophy. Zenon tried hard to chase him down, but made no impact as Flying Visit galloped on fluently and Zenon ended a tame second.

The Janardhan Trophy was won by Dreams (Arazan – Golden Fantasy, Cyza Stud) who got off to a steady start and settled in second behind C’est L’Amour, the latter scooting off at a fast pace. Sunset and the rest were a few lengths away. It was soon clear that none from behind would match the two in front, as even Sunset who was in third, found it hard to stay close enough to the pair. C’est L’Amour came in home first and was still going at a good clip. Dreams was taking her time to warm up and that must have got the connections of the favourite a tad anxious. However, jockey Imran Khan got Nazzak Chenoy ward going in the final furlong and the filly picked up momentum briskly, gaining on the leader with every stride. She surged past C’est L’Amour in the final 100 meters to score a fairly comfortable victory, although the margin was under one length, as it did look that it would be a matter of time before Dreams would collar the leader. C’est L’Amour ended a good second fighting on grimly and not making it any easier for Dreams. Sunset ended a faraway third.   

Rainbow Trout (Leitir Mor – Rainbow Queen, Poonawalla Stud) was the other short-priced favourite besides Dreams to oblige. Fitter after a good run on her debut three weeks back, Rainbow Trout produced a sustained run in the final furlong to clinch the Nana Raghunath Trophy and her achieve maiden win. Tristar led them deep into the straight with jockey Sandesh settling the Dallas Todywalla ward in second. Tristar fought on hard but she could little to counter Rainbow Trout. She could only watch as Rainbow Trout stretch out nicely to score a facile win. Tristar did well to take the runner-up berth well ahead of Walk The Talk.

Trainer Ms Nazzak Chenoy has worked wonders with her six years old mare Adele (Phoenix Tower – Mosiac, Manjri Stud) as Adele produced her personal fastest gallop at her age, beating a good set of opponents to win the SA Kuts Trophy.

Wild Fire set the pace with Gold Field and True Grit alongside as they turned for home. Gold Field and True Grit got past the leader, while Adele with jockey NS Parmar, who has been effective this season, brought the more from the outside. Harmony of the Seas made her move along the rails and they were all scuttling towards the winning post. Gold Field seemed to have a slight edge as he galloped gamely but Adele was soon all over the front bunch and pulled away in the final few strides with her final burst of brilliance. She clocked an impressive 57:81 which was her all-time best. Gold Field was unlucky to have encountered Adele in this fiery form and ended a good second, just ahead of Harmony of the Seas and Oracle.

Majestic Warrior (Leitir Mor – One Magic moment, Poonawalla Stud) scored his second win of the season and looked assured as he improved positions approaching the turn. Mount Olympus made the early running leading the field all the way into the straight and then surrendered rather meekly when challenged by Articulate. Articulate had barely headed the early leader when Majestic Warrior arrived with jockey Zervan in the saddle, confidently urging the Narendra lagad ward. Majestic Warrior stormed ahead as Articulate fought for a brief while but found the winner too good. Majestic Warrior pulled away in the final few strides to score a comfortable victory and claim the Animal Welfare Board of India Trophy, finishing well ahead of Articulate. Lambretta ran on to take the third spot.

Sandesh capped his fruitful day with another victorious ride atop Saddle The Wind (Mull of Kintyre – West With The Wind, Sohna Stud) providing the filly her maiden victory on her ninth start. The Karthik trainee had shown promise in her last start and duly improved on that run to score.

Sandesh settle the filly close behind leader Dazzle N Daze until the straight with his Master’s Vice and Eternal Dancer close behind. Once into the straight, Saddle The Wind shot ahead and compiled a handy lead and stretched out all the way. Eternal Dancer arrived with a rush in the final few meters, but didn’t get enough ground to peg back the winner and fell short by a neck. Dazzle N Daze held on for place money from Mr Honey.

For the professionals, jockey A Sandesh dazzled in the saddle winning three races including the plum event – The Indian St Leger (Gr1) and trainer Ms Nazzak Chenoy saddled a double.