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By Usman Rangila | 14 Aug 2023 | PUNE

Mr S M Ruia and Mr Gautam Lala leading Capitolium ( C Umesh up), winner of The Mayor's Trophy

The chestnut colt Capitolium, the least fancied horse from among the five sent out by Pesi Shroff for the Mayor’s Trophy, played a merry tune to his rivals and went wire to wire to claim the feature event run over nine furlongs. With owner-breeder Shyam Ruia’s retained jockey Neeraj Rawal choosing debutant Stole My Heart over Capitolium, the latter’s chances in the hands of C. Umesh seemed negligible. That pessimism however did not deter Capitolium (Moonlight Magic – Attalea) from surging past Glorious King shortly after the gates opened and was a winner at every stage thereafter. Whether he was setting the pace for her owner-mate for her stable partners or not remains uncertain but Capitolium surely forced his thirteen rivals to dance to his tune all the way home. He had enough firepower left as his rivals were off the bridle long before he led them into the home stretch. Umesh then gave Capitolium several reminders following which the colt skipped away for a comfortable win. Exuma gathered momentum when hard-ridden by NS Parmar and ended runner up with Glorious King and El Greco in tow. Floyd was in hot pursuit till the final lap and retired to be fifth. Most of the juveniles including El Greco and Bugatti ran green whilst chasing the winner.

Barring the shock given by Capitolium, the rest of the winners in the seven-event card helped punters recoup almost all their losses suffered a day ago. Sheraz Sunderji mentored six-year old Market King was arguably the best horse in the field of eight contesting over the six-furlong sprint for the Highland Rule Trophy. Entrusting his charge to the 5kg-claimer Gagandeep Mann turned out to be a wise decision taken by Sunderji as it tilted the scales in Market King's (Leitir Mor – Only For Gold) favour as he staved off Fast Rain’s late attack. Market King took off smartly from the blocks but was soon overtaken by bottom-weighted Mozelle. Mann waited patiently till Mozelle had shot her bolt before entering the straight. Market King soon cruised past Mozelle to be in the comfort zone by the time Gazino came with an intimidating run and then hit the wire before Fast Rain could dislodge him. The Sovereign Orb ended a close fourth.

Malesh Narredu schooled Enabler, who finished on a late second behind Hall of Grace earlier in a maiden set, was now pitted in a handicap event, the second division of the Timeless Plate, and his chances got a further boost following a repeat performance from his conqueror last week. Yash Narredu ridden Enabler was yet again installed as a favourite in anticipation of an improved performance over the extended trip of seven furlongs. But the chestnut colt seemed to be in trouble once again as he lacked initial speed and found himself at the wrong end of the field led by Phanta in the early stages. Yash appeared to be in great difficulty as Enabler ran into a wall of horses just when he had started to warm up to his task. Yash then switched Enabler towards the inner rails only to find Luminosity, who was falling back, hampering him in the final run-in. Enabler’s misery was aggravated by the erratic course charted by Walter, who shifted in and provoked a belligerent response from Yash. The young rider then made room for Enabler by knocking Walter aside. Having overcome all the adversities en route, Enabler (Ruler of the World – Rozene) eventually stamped his superiority over his opponents when breezing past Attained, Remy Red and Fancy Nancy, who finished in that order behind the winner.

Justino also proved his superiority in a similar manner in the upper division of the Timeless Plate and helped Trevor Patel open his account this season. Justino was at the tail end of the field in the early phase but Trevor improved his position steadily to catch up with front runners before the heads turned for home. Lord Fenicia brought the field into the view for the last time but was forced into submission by last outing winner Superimpose, who was set into motion by Dashrath Singh at the bend. Meanwhile, Trevor switched lanes and showed Justino the daylight on the outer flank. Karthik Ganapathy groomed Justino (Top Class – Grant Park) came with raking strides to overwhelm Superimpose, who was being hailed as a winner, in the shadow of the winning post. Cipher gave a gallant show but couldn’t catch her younger rivals and finished a close third ahead of Tyrone Black. There was enthusiastic support for Chenevix Trench but Pesi Shroff’s ward faded out of contention after being in a striking position till Superimpose overtook him at the bend.

Maysara from trainer HJ Antia’s small string gave a speedy display to emerge from the maiden ranks. CS Jodha-ridden Maysara (Surfrider – Circus Ring) dashed into the lead when the starter’s flag came down and ended up showing a clean pair of heels to her rivals including the fancied duo, Pure for Sure and Vijaya. Runner up Pure for Sure warmed up only when the race was in the safe keeping of Maysara while Vijaya ended a tame third having failed to accelerate while chasing the winner in the straight. Street Sense retired to finish fourth after racing close behind Maysara till final turn.

Fidato also managed to taste his maiden success at the age of five when taken on a successful start to finish mission by apprentice Mustakim Alam. The Narendra Lagad trained Fidato (Surfrider – Mannat) grabbed the lead shortly after the start and sustained it till the end. Fidato was ridden confidently by the apprentice before Bubbly Boy could cause any damage. Queens Pride was outpaced and could only finish third ahead of Northern Singer, the winner’s stablemate who entered the scene when it mattered the least.

Toussaint (Buratino – Kay Es Jay) earned some precious stakes for his connections when recording his third career win in the lowest class. The Sanjay Kolse trained Toussaint did not have a cakewalk as Neeraj Rawal had to go all out to clinch a shorthead victory in a blanket finish involving Between Friends and Nairobi. The latter was almost within kissing distance of the winning post before being toppled by Toussaint. Between Friends rallied towards the rails to finish in a dead-heat with Nairobi with Red Dust close behind. Gagandeep Mann ridden Walshy was in strong contention till the final furlong but lost all his chances as he drifted out under pressure and finished fifth.