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By Usman Rangila | 05 Sep 2023 | PUNE

Mr Jiyaji Bhosale and trainer Adhiraj S Jodha leading Dyf (Akshay Kumar Up), winner of The Idar Gold Trophy (Gr.3)

Living up to the promise shown in his last run where he lost to Dangerous a month ago, Dyf not only avenged his defeat but also gave the best performance of his career to claim the Idar Gold Trophy (Gr.3) run over a mile and half. The multi-classic winning filly King’s Ransom was the obvious favourite to win the race but she was outclassed on this occasion by Dyf’s brilliance. The grey colt, incidentally, had finished nearly 18 lengths behind King’s Ransom when they last met in the Indian Turf Invitation Trophy run at Bangalore in March. But he was tuned to the moment by young Adhirajsingh Jodha, which reflected in Dyf’s outstanding show.

Akshay Kumar had Dyf settled behind the Pesi Shroff saddled trio – Souza, the pace-setter, Supernatural and King’s Ransom with Dangerous and Truly Epic in the rear. There was no change in the order of running till Truly Epic moved up and so did Dangerous at the half-way mark. Truly Epic soon joined Supernatural and Souza and was the first to enter the home stretch. Akshay timed his move to perfection in alerting Dyf to his task at this juncture even as Dangerous ranged alongside Truly Epic when turning for home. Dyf (Cougar Mountain – Soak) tackled both Truly Epic and Dangerous with a resolute gallop and had the race under his control in a couple of strides. Dangerous was well and truly beaten while King’s Ransom ran on to finish third ahead of Truly Epic. Interestingly, jockey Antony Raj had King's Ransom pocketed towards the rails for about two furlongs from the 800m-marker thus denying Chouhan any room to manoeuvre. King’s Ransom hopes were dashed when the possible opening Chouhan was yearning for between Truly Epic and Dangerous was sealed by Antony. The race was in the safe-keeping of Dyf by the time King’s Ransom could recover after Chouhan changed lanes and made his bid from the outer flank. All said and done, Dyf gave a matured and splendid performance, the credit of which goes to Adhirajsingh’s perseverance with the grey colt. The first three horses are likely to clash again in the Indian St. Leger later this month and it will be interesting to see if King’s Ransom can turn the tables on her conquerors.

Golden Neil was the most fancied runner in the specially instituted Chandrayaan-3 Landing on the Moon Trophy, a mile event contested by a competitive field of nine horses in the highest class. But it was Pesi Shroff-nursed Chopin, whose extended search for success came to end after nearly two years. Golden Neil got straight down to business when the gates flew open but he surrendered his lead shortly after entering the straight. The Neeraj Rawal-ridden filly Chopin, who raced in the mid-group till approaching the final turn, made progress with every stride to catch up with Golden Neil and went sailing into the lead smoothly in the last furlong and half. Chopin (Ampere – Northern Melody) had the race well sewn up though runner up In Contention and Successor made a vain attempt to catch her. Pride’s Angel finished fourth.

At long last, Chopin’s owner-mate Alpha Domino made it to the winner’s enclosure at the start of the day’s proceedings when he lasted out to win by a whisker. A change in equipment and the decision to go wire-to-wire on this occasion worked in favour of Imtiaz Sait’s ward. But for a brief while when Amber Knight tried to snatch the lead from him, Alpha Domino (Ampere – Ajaweed) was a winner at every post of the mile and half trip. Mastery was the first to throw a challenge at him when the race came to a boil but Alpha Domino dismissed it. Favourite Jerusalem was under pressure mid-way through the journey but despite Trevor’s all-out effort it was clear that he was given too much to do in the straight, which helped the winner escape his clutches. Mastery ran a close third ahead of Amber Knight.

It was a case of third time lucky for Democracy, who scored an authoritative win in the Amjad Khan Trophy. Karthik Ganapathy-saddled The General was carrying top weight in this handicap race for maidens and decided to deploy front running tactics on this occasion. However, he proved to be no match for the hot favourite, who was turned out in top fettle by Shroff. The General was aggressively ridden by Bhawani to snatch the lead about a furlong and half from the barriers but he was treated with disdain by Democracy (Aclaim – Choose) in the home stretch. C. Umesh-partnered Democracy was eased up in the last half furlong shortly after she went cantering past her main adversary. Bubbly Boy and Sorrento Secret completed the judge’s frame.

Trainer SK Sunderji’s decision to put the 3.5kg-claimer Haridas Gore in the saddle astride Aloysia turned out to be a wise one as the bottom-weighted filly clinched the issue from Winter Agenda in a nail-biting finish. Aloysia (Hunter’s Light – Soho Rocks) hit the front shortly after the start and came under serious threat from the YS Srinath ridden Winter Agenda when approaching the final bend. Srinath brought the favourite into the reckoning at this stage and engaged Aloysia in a fierce duel. As the two horses whizzed past the winning post, it appeared to the naked eye that Adhirajsingh-mentored Winter Agenda had pipped Aloysia but the photo-finish verdict went in the latter’s favour. Chenevix Trench ran third ahead of The Godfather, who failed to concede weight to his rivals. Well-fancied El Greco gave a poor show and graced the wrong end of the field throughout. Soon after the white cone was hoisted, the camera print of the photo-finish verdict displayed on the close-circuit TV sets by the club misled punters, who felt that Winter Agenda had won. Those who had backed the favourite held a meaningless protest which only delayed the start of the fourth race.

Lady trainer Nazzak Chenoy was also in the limelight as she led in a brace of winners through Inishmore and Chieftain. Having played second fiddle in both his previous outings this season, Inishmore unravelled his potential when producing a brilliant effort to floor his rivals. No-hopers Arcana and Divine Thoughts showed the way to the big field of fourteen till the bend where favourite Fighton and Irish Gold were poised to overtake them. But CS Jodha triggered a positive response from Inishmore (Planetaire – Ice Cube Baby), who slipped through the wide opening that presented itself in the straight and sauntered clear of his rivals. Irish Gold fought hard but had to settle for the second berth. Majestic Warrior edged out Fighton for the third place while Fiery Red came with a long-striding run to finish ahead of Generosity, who seemed outpaced and finished sixth.

Five-year old Chieftain struck immediately on relegation to the lowest class and proved too good for his rivals including runner-up Come Back Please. Chieftain (Roderic O’Connor – Aemilia) raced on the haunches of Marlboro Man, who called the early shots, and took control of the running at the bend. Steered confidently by Vishal Bunde, Chieftain stretched out well to finish clear of Come Back Please, who was slow at the start but covered lost ground to finish runner up. Malboro Man narrowly held on to the third place and kept Myrcella at bay. Galloping Glory planted in the gates and took no part in the race.