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By Usman Rangila | 25 Sep 2022 | PUNE

Mr K N Dhunjibhoy, Mr A S Narielwala and trainer P Shroff leading Zuccarelli (P Trevor Up), winner of The Wolf 777 Indian St. Leger (Gr.1)

The victory of Zuccarelli in the Indian St Leger (Gr.1) was never in doubt yet the crowd revelled the style and manner in which the Pesi Shroff nurtured dark bay gelding executed his task on Sunday. As the field of five set sails for the gruelling trip of mile and three quarter, Karanveer Wind Storm and Arc De Triomphe took turns in heading the field while Trevor Patel settled Zuccarelli in the rear behind Exemplify.

Karanveer brought the field into the home stretch and all the runners except Zuccarelli were off the bridle as they went past the 400m-marker for the second time. The winner was sighted a long way from home when Trevor nudged Zuccarelli and it was all over bar the shouting. Zuccarelli (Western Aristocrat – Circle Of Bliss) won without raising a sweat thereafter as the spectators were on their feet to cheer the champion. Zuccarelli helped him master reach a new milestone on saddling his 200th graded race winner.

Trevor, who achieved a fine treble, sported the same colours as Zuccarelli astride Botero in the curtain raiser. It was a case of third time lucky for Shroff’s pupil as he went on to make amends for his previous two failures. Fortunate Son, however, failed to achieve a hat-trick as he caught a tartar in Botero, a seasoned campaigner. Botero lay a handy third as Fortunate Son led the field with Easy Rider chasing him. Passing the halfway mark, Easy Rider faded away and making way for Botero and Rasputin to move up. However Trevor brought Botero (Western Aristocrat – Verbier) into contention at the final bend and didn’t counter much resistance from Fortunate Son. He went sailing clear for a facile win and left Fortunate Son and Rasputin fighting for the runner up slot, which the former held on grimly.

Mozelle was another favourite steered to victory by Trevor. The Altaf Hussain groomed filly was quickly off from the blocks and led all the way to complete an encore. Second favourite Farrell, after racing prominently behind Mozelle, packed his wares at the turn and flopped badly to end in the ruck. Spring Grove, the runner up, found her rhythm a tad late when the race was in the safe keeping of the winner. Majestic Warrior and Pepper completed the judges’ frame.

Young Adhirajsingh Jodha lifted both divisions of the Southern Command Trophy as he led in two maiden winners – Fiery Red and Vincent Van Gogh. Fiery Red (Western Aristocrat – Cruising) was straight down to business as the gates opened and the chestnut filly made every post of the seven furlong journey a winning one in the hands of CS Jodha. Metzinger tried putting up a late challenge in the last furlong but the on-money favourite was home and dry till then. Nostalgic needed this run as she laboured to finish third ahead of Nationwide. Goldiva lost all her chances at the gates and ended a poor fifth.

Jodha’s second winner Vincent Van Gogh (Multidimensional – Irises), though tuned to the moment, wass ridden in check by A Sandesh as Milli went on a pillar to post mission. Vincent Van Gogh made steady progress and Sandesh shifted gears to press the bay colt into action when the field was entering the straight. The debutant gained momentum and went breezing past Milli in the last half furlong to record an effortless maiden win. Milli, Nelson River and Attained ended in close proximity two lengths behind the winner. Dufy, who was second in demand to Vincent Van Gogh, was outpaced throughout.

Rookie rider Mustakim Alam justified the faith imposed in him by trainer Narendra Lagad and guided favourite Coeur De Lion (Roderic O’Connor – Sweeping Star) to a fluent win over the mile trip. The removal of blinkers did the trick for the colt after his poor show as a heavily backed favourite a fortnight ago. Mustakim eased Coeur De Lion into the lead from the word go and won untroubled as he made every post a winning one. Zarak, Love Warrior and Full Of Grace went all out in the straight but made no headway as they followed the winner home meekly.

Praveen Shinde was another 5kg-claimer whose allowance was put to good use by trainer SK Sunderji on his ward Market King. The apprentice gave no anxious moments to the supporters of Market King (Leitir Mor – Only For Gold) as he was homeward bound as soon as he wrest the lead when the start was given. The favourite proved far too speedy for second favourite Sky Fall as also Gazino and Augustus Caesar. The last named warmed up in the closing stages of the race to gain the second spot ahead of Gazino and Sky Fall who were a spent force in the last furlong.

Ivor Fernandes trained Alpha Gene lived up to the expectations of his master down as he registered an encore within a short span of week. Fernandes’s idea of cashing in on Alpha Gene’s winning form paid off as the bay gelding outlasted his opponents in the concluding race run over a mile and quarter. Dashrath Singh had Alpha Gene (Smuggler’s Cove – Beldon Hill) in a striking position behind the leader Shadows and Eleos in the initial stages.
Eleos pounced upon Shadows as the field straightened for home but the latter refused to buckle. Alpha Gene moved up rapidly and tried to take the gap between Eleos and Shadows which was closed by the former when shifting in momentarily. Luckily for Dashrath, Eleos move out slightly to provide him the opening he was looking for and wasted no time in grabbing that opportunity. Alpha Gene poked his way through the two horses and zoomed ahead for a hard-earned victory. Royal Flash ran on late to join Verdandi and Eleos at the post. They finished in that order with each of them separated by a head.