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By Usman Rangila | 06 Aug 2022 | PUNE

Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla, Mr Zavaray S Poonawalla & trainer Rajesh Narredu leading A Star Is Born (Suraj Narredu Up), winner of The Zavaray S Poonawalla Eve Champion Trophy (Gr.3)

A Star Is Born, the odds on choice to win the Zavaray Poonawalla sponsored Eve Champion Trophy, obliged but his manner of victory did not match the punters’ expectations. However, the fact that A Star Is Born (Roderic O’Connor – Angel Dust) managed to overpower Taimur in the shadow of the winning post came as a big relief both to the punters and the connections of the winner.

Victoria Sermon shot into the lead and kept the advantage till the horses approached the final turn where Caprisca took charge briefly but only till the heads turned from home. Bhawani Singh ridden Taimur then slipped into the lead even as Suraj Narredu got busy astride A Star Is Born. The bay colt trained by Rajesh Narredu, who was settled fourth ahead of Faith Of Success, started warming up. The favourite accelerated well but Suraj was required to go flat out as the tenacious Taimur was in no mood to give up his supremacy. Thankfully, A Star Is Born put his best foot forward and wore down Taimur in just the last couple of strides. Caprisca, Victorious Sermon and Faith Of Success followed the first two home and earned precious stake money in the bargain.

Adhirajsingh Jodha saddled a brace of winners when Exemplify (Multidimensional – Woman O War) and Golden Kingdom (Kingda Ka – Albeed), who were both ridden confidently by A Sandesh. Twice winner at Chennai during winter, Exemplify was lesser fancied than top-weighted Botero and Aah Bella who, though a maiden finds   herself racing in Class III because she ran second to Miracle in the Indian Oaks. Exemplify graced the rear end of the five-horse field as Django showed them the way till entering the straight. Botero who was in chase took over and led till the last furlong where Exemplify showed a remarkable turn of foot to join the issue.

A Sandesh drove the bay filly vigorously to sizzle past Botero, who lugged in and brushed the inner rails. Own Voice ended third ahead of Aah Bella, who had a troubled passage when the race came to a boil. Prakash tried to bring Aah Bella through the shortest way but couldn’t get that opening and then Own Voice squeezed her out of contention in the last furlong. Adhirajsingh paid a handsome tribute to his late father Magansingh Jodha by winning the event which was framed in his memory.

Adhirajsingh later led in Golden Kingdom shed the maiden ranks with a fluent win in the August Handicap. The chestnut gelding allowed no-hoper Mount Blanc to dictate the terms for the first four of the seven furlong journey and went sailing into the lead, which proved unassailable in the end. Emperor Roderic warmed up late but his late effort was in vain. Karyna ran well to finish third ahead of Mozelle, who raced prominently with the leader but failed to quicken when it mattered most.

Like Adhirajsingh, SK Sunderji too opened his account with Farrell (Air Support – Crown Empress) who scored the second successive in the hands of R Ajinkya. Farrell chose to bide his time whilst joint favourite Fidato, Mighty Thunder and Marine Girl headed the field till the turn. Fidato soon assumed command as Sandesh gave him his head. But Farrell finished on with a burst when set alight by Ajinkya and gained the upper hand in the last 100-metres or so as Fidato veered slightly under pressure. Sky Hawk came flying towards the end to edge out Fidato from the second berth while Mighty Thunder managed to finish fourth. Marine Girl faded out after her forward run till the bend.  

The knack of placing his horses and giving them a winning chance saw trainer Faisal Abbas leading in a double through Dowsabel (Kingda Ka – Arta) and Dali Swirl (Roderic O’Connor – Pandora) who both had a lung-opener at the start of the season. Faisal’s winners were ridden by 3.5kg claimer A Prakash, who also rode Sandman (Kingda Ka – Sultry Me) to boot home a treble.

Dowsabel made every post of the five-furlong trip for the AJ Wadia Plate a winning one after taking over from Hilad a furlong after the gates opened. A Sandesh sent favourite Cognosco in hot chase of the winner in the home stretch but Prakash was resolute atop Dowsabel and didn’t let the advantage slip away from his hands. Spiritual Rock, who ended third ahead of Hilad, came into the picture when the race was well sewn up.

Dali Swirl too grabbed the lead from Narakamicie and had Dilbar for company till the field swung in for home. Dali Swirl shook off Dilbar at the two furlong marker and then stretched under the whip to reach home unscathed from the late assault launched by Lord And Master who deprived Lagertha of the runner up slot. Brave Beauty ran on from tail end to complete the judge’s frame. The runs of Lord And Master, Brave Beauty, Full Of Grace and Narakamicie should be ignored and treated as lung-openers. Three other runners from Faisal’s yard – Nusrat, last-outing winner Anoushka and Sky Hawk who ended runner-up behind Farrell, appeared to have saved their best for some other day.

Earlier Prakash partnered Nirad Karanjawalla schooled Sandman, who ran purposefully this time to earn a well-deserved bracket. Sandman stormed into the lead and sped past favourite Rubik Star who was hard-ridden by Bhawani Singh. Chancellor encountered serious traffic problems before finishing fast to end close behind runner up Rubik Star. Anoushka ended fourth.

Narendra Lagad saddled Power Of Thor (Whatsthescript – Octagleam) earned his corn bill when claiming opening event of the day. Dashrath Singh partnered the winner. Brazos tried hard to catch the winner in the straight but had to settle for the second place. So So Special and Truth Or Dare, were simply no match for the older and much experienced rivals.