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By Usman Rangila | 13 Aug 2023 | PUNE

Trainer M Narredu leading Count of Savoy (Yash Narredu Up), winner ofThe Yohan Z Poonawalla Turf Club Trophy (Gr.3)

The excitement of the race-goers, who came to experience the thrills of horseracing as the three-day carnival hosted by the Royal Western India Turf Club opened on Sunday, melted away as the horses they fancied to win did a vanishing act. Racing Romance, Ahead Of My Time and Generosity let down their followers in a big way not to mention the failures of Portofino Bay and the fancied duo Wall Street and It’s My Time. Ahead Of My Time, the Dallas Todywalla trained winner of this year’s Indian 2000 Guineas (Gr.1) was the clear cut favourite to win the Yohan Z Poonawalla sponsored Turf Club Trophy (Gr.3) against a seemingly moderate opposition. The flashy bay colt ridden by Akshay Kumar however never raised any hopes for his followers and ended a tame third.

Count of Savoy (Roderic O’Connor – Lombardia) from the yards of Malesh Narredu produced a stunning performance to claim the honours. Joaquin shot into the lead and held the advantage till Cool Rider overtook him on entering the home stretch and led briefly. Yash Narredu atop Count of Savoy, who had his mount close behind Cool Rider and Successor, timed his challenge to perfection to snatch the lead from Cool Rider but not before shifting out on to Successor. Ahead Of My Time meanwhile travelled on the outer flank, for reasons unknown as yet, and Akshay could not prevent him from veering out at the bend and probably lost the race there and then. Once he assumed command, Count of Savoy was in no danger of being caught and was followed home by Successor, Ahead Of My Time and Cool Rider in that order after a three-way finish. Count of Savoy is co-owned by Ms Farida B Dubash and Mr Rustom H Vakil.

Racing Romance, who had warmed up to her task late on her debut earlier, was expected to improve on that run and was backed to the exclusion of her rivals on this occasion, But the PS Chouhan ridden on-money favourite, who was too keen in the initial stages of the sprint, ran tamely though she flattered briefly after tackling Collateral only to find Neeraj Rawal piloted Azrinaz looming large on her outside. Neeraj drove Karthik Ganapathy-nursed Azrinaz (Roderic O’Connor – Maleficent) purposefully and wore down Racing Romance, who succumbed far too easily. Azrinaz then waltzed away to her maiden success in the Panchshil Million. NS Parmar driven runner up Decacorn, who encountered a rough passage till the heads turned for home, was badly pocketed towards the inner rails by CS Jodha ridden Zafirah and failed to get a clear run till the latter moved outwards to make her bid. Decacorn manoeuvred his way through the middle but Azrinaz was home and dry till then. Having lost valuable ground when coming wide into the straight to essay her challenge, Zafirah finished a neck behind Decacorn with Endurance close in tow.

Racing Romance’s stablemate Generosity suffered a similar fate in the last race of the day. An impressive winner in her last outing, Navnath Bhosale-partnered Generosity got straight down to business but ran out of fuel in the last furlong. Superlative, who was in hot pursuit of the favourite, was about to gain the upper hand when Akshay ridden second favourite Irish Gold (Roderic O’Connor – Irish Bailey) finished with a flourish to pip his rival on the post. Outlander ran a game third ahead of Generosity.

MK Jadhav schooled Fighton, who drew a blank during his summer campaign at Bangalore, was the fittest of the lot as was evident when NS Parmar steered him to an effortless victory. Fighton raced in the mid-bunch as speedy Esperanza led the field into the straight and surrendered the lead to Enlightened. Prime favourite Portofino Bay came through the shortest way home at this stage but was caught flat-footed by Fighton (US Navy Flag – Starletina), who unleashed a brilliant run when alerted to his task by Parmar. Nolan ended second ahead of owner and stablemate Sensibility with Enlightened, Red Merlot and Portofino Bay all finishing in a close huddle.

The lesser fancied Bangalore-based challenger Place Vendome, who had shed her maiden status only last month, claimed the Rajaram Chhatrapati Trophy, a Class II event run over nine furlongs. Top-weighted Euphoric dictated the terms to the ten-horse field from the start and made way for Golden Kingdom as they turned for home. Golden Kingdom took charge of the running with Great Guns closing in on him. But it was the devouring run of SS Attaollahi groomed Place Vendome (Phoenix Tower - Aquamarine) who gave a splendid response to PS Chouhan’s call and asserted his superiority close home. Great Guns finished runner up while Golden Kingdom ended in the money ahead of late-finishing Flaming Lamborgini. It’s My Time and Wall Street, the two fancied runners, failed to live up to the expectations and couldn't figure in the judge’s frame.

Imtiaz Sait nurtured Pyrrhus (Planetaire – Polydences) tasted her maiden success in her ninth career start as she made every post of the six furlong journey for the Dinkoo Chenoy Trophy a winning one in the hands of Neeraj Rawal. Pyrrhus staved off the late bid of Monarchy who ended a noteworthy second ahead of Commandment, who was unable to accelerate in the straight. Jetfire and Galloping Ahead ran close behind.

Stunning Visual from Hosidar Daji’s yard also found her way to the winner’s enclosure in the day’s opening event. Dufy made the initial running and retired in the straight allowing Silver Spring to take control. Meanwhile Stunning Visual (El Kabeer – Musically) raised a fluent gallop when asked for an effort by K Nazil and went on to overwhelm Silver Spirit. Top-weighted Flashing Famous graced the wrong end till the bend and came wide into the home stretch. However, he found the weight a stopper and finished third ahead of Prince O’War. Fashion Icon ran hopelessly throughout.