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By Usman Rangila | 06 Nov 2022 | PUNE

Mojito (N S Parmar Up), winner of The General Rajendrasinhji Million

As the curtains came down on the 18-meeting Pune season 2022 on Sunday, Mojito, now groomed by trainer MK Jadhav’s son Aditya Jadhav, made a smashing appearance at Pune to claim the General Rajendrasinhji Million. Nobody doubted Mojito’s ability since he had vanquished the likes of Supernatural and Once You Go Black during his summering at Bangalore. Yet some race-goers were concerned about Mojito’s racing fitness as he was returning to compete after a gap of over three months. However, Mojito (Speaking Of Which – Margarita Rita) dispelled those concerns with an emphatic win. Nikhil Parmar took no chances in the small field of four and embarked on a start to finish mission with the chestnut colt over the mile trip. Except for loafing shortly after entering the home straight, Mojito gave no anxious moments to his supporters and asserted his superiority over Kalamitsi who chased the winner in vain. Vincent Van Gogh took some time getting into his stride before finishing a neck behind Kalamitsi with Coeur De Lion ending a close fourth.

Malesh Narredu was finally in the limelight this season when leading in three winners. Count Of Savoy, who had been knocking at the doors of success and entrusted to apprentice Kirtish Bhagat on this occasion, hit the front and made every post of the mile journey for the Fourth Estate Trophy a winning one. Pride’s Angel, after being settled behind Raffaello, Arabian Phoenix and Flying Scotsman, was brought into contention by Antony Raj as Raffaello started to drop back in the straight. Count Of Savoy (Roderic O’Connor – Lombardia) meanwhile relished running in front and was in no mood to give up his lead. The winner drifted out slightly under pressure but Kirtish drove Malesh’s ward resolutely to thwart Pride’s Angel, who came menacingly towards the end. A head separated them at the post. Flying Scotsman rallied on to be third ahead of Presidential, who seemed to be short of a run. As the start was given, K Nazil ridden Arabian Phoenix veered out to his left and went on to Multistarrer, who got squeezed between the former and Flying Scotsman.  Multistarrer probably clipped the heels of Arabian Phoenix due which S Saqlain was unbalanced and dislodged from his seat. As reported officially, Saqlain fortunately escaped with minor injuries.

The three-year-old bay colt Lord Fenicia (Speaking Of Which – Devotee) also went wire to wire to provide Malesh a back-to-back double. Trevor Patel ridden Lord Fenicia showed a clean pair of heels to his rivals after wresting the initiative from the barriers. Kirkines challenged the leader in the straight but the Neeraj Rawal piloted filly seemed reluctant to overtake the winner. Trevor power-packed finish also helped Lord Fenicia ward off his adversary’s threat. Liberation tried to make her presence felt in the straight but the filly failed to accelerate and ended third well ahead of House Of Lords. Peregrine Falcon trailed the field after a lethargic jump from the gates.

Though neglected in the betting ring, the three-year-old filly Phanta (Phoenix Tower – Athens), who was running in the lowest class after just one run, exposed the mediocrity of her rivals in the lower division of the K Raghunath Plate. Phanta raced close on the heels of leader Zukor from the word go and wore him down in the last furlong. SJ Sunil, who steered Phanta, not only achieved his first win of the season but also gave Malesh the third victory of the day. Arbitrage was third faraway behind Zukor. Rhythm Of Nature saw sustained betting coming her way but the mare couldn’t live up to the punters’ expectations and ended fourth.

Earlier in the day, Kirtish Bhagat steered Imtiaz Sait saddled Campaign (Smuggler’s Cove – Exemplary) to a confident victory over Anoushka. R Shelar ridden Luminosity from trainer HJ Antia’s barns was the medium of a heavy gamble in this race. He was backed down from the overnight odds of 10s to 2 to 1 before closing at 3 to 1. The attempted coup however ended in disaster as Luminosity’s start to finish bid flopped with over a furlong and half left for home. Campaign unleashed a brilliant run to storm into the lead when alerted by Kirtish in the home stretch. Anoushka ran on to be second ahead of Lion King, who warmed when the race was in the safe-keeping of the winner. Sonisha completed the judge’s frame. Both C’est L’amour and Turmeric Tower never seemed to be in the hunt. However, the two grey runners – Silver Steps and Count The Wins may have finished off the board but did enough to merit following in their future endeavours.

Pesi Shroff saddled Arcana, who migrated from LVR Deshmukh’s yard after his Bangalore visit, was a facile winner in the hands of Kirtish, who earned his third success of the day. Arcana (Roderic O’Connor – Mystic Romance) darted to the front as the gates flew open and proved too speedy for his rivals. Hilma Klint, Hela and Moment Of Madness followed her home.

Karthik Ganapathy schooled filly Kariena (Excellent Art – Santa Ana) justified her favouritism when graduating from the maiden ranks. Neeraj Rawal settled Kariena within striking distance of no hoper Dufy who brought the field into the straight. Kariena stepped up her pace to assume command and went on to win from Inamorata who threw her challenge at the winner quite late. Regardless, Inamorata ended a good second. Adamas failed to quicken and ended third ahead of Walter.

Galloping Glory was another filly who managed to emerge victorious from the maiden ranks. The decision of trainer Vinesh to use blinkers on Galloping Glory (Oiseau De Feu – Candella) may have paid off as the filly remained focussed during the race. Galloping Glory made gradual progress to join the issue with Willy Wonka after Multiencrypted had shot his bolt after entering the straight. In the ensuing duel between Willy Wonka and Galloping Glory, jockey Bhawani Singh’s skills proved handy as he outwitted SJ Sunil astride the former. Zacapa ran on to finish in the money ahead of Brazos.

Mustakim Alam piloted longshot Majestic Warrior (Leitir Mor – One Magic Moment) lasted out to win from Queen O’War in the day’s opening event. Narendra Lagad nurtured Majestic Warrior, who raced alongside ante post favourite Mozelle till the heads turned for home, assumed command and managed to keep the late finishing Queen O’War at bay. Buckley ran a fair third and had Cipher close behind. Last outing winner Agostino Carracci, who ran as the favourite after the odds against Mozelle drifted out dramatically in the betting ring, failed to produce her last start brilliance and ended fifth.

Pesi Shroff was declared as the leading trainer with 17 winners while A Sandesh became the leading jockey with 24 winners. Mustakim Alam, who had ridden seven winners this season, was declared as the leading jockey claiming allowance as also the leading apprentice. Mr Khushroo Dhunjibhoy and Usha Stud Farm were declared as leading owner and stud farm respectively.