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By Usman Rangila | 09 Sep 2023 | PUNE

Mr Jatin L Trivedi, Mr Nitin H Jain and trainer S K Sunderji leading Market King (Neeraj Rawal up), winner of The Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy (Gr.3)

Market King, the versatile six-year old gelding from Sheraz Sunderji’s yards, produced another heart-warming display en route to his maiden success in a group event taking his winning tally to nine, all accomplished over six furlongs. Strangely, Market King was available at nourishing odds of 2 to 1 against in the small field of six contesting for the Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy (Gr.3), probably because the scales were slightly in favour of The Sovereign Orb in comparison to their last encounter. But that advantage remained academic as the bay gelding scored a bloodless victory over his rivals. Market King raced unperturbed behind Joaquin and Son of a Gun, who cut pace with each other till entering the home stretch. Son of a Gun shortened his strides at the turn leaving enough room for Market King to make his bid. Neeraj Rawal aboard Market King (Leitir Mor – Only for God) took the gap instantly to join Joaquin in the last furlong and wore his rival down swiftly with a plain hands and heels effort. Son of A Gun ended third ahead of The Protector and Fast Rain, who were separated by a neck. The Sovereign Orb ran last and reportedly returned with bleeding nostrils. The winner is jointly owned by Messrs Jatin L. Trivedi, Nitin H. Jain, Meher K. Sunderji and Aneil V. Lala.

Trainer Faisal Abbas-saddled Magneto gave a rousing performance to humble the fancied and seasoned campaigners in the Field Marshal Sam Maneckshaw Trophy, a mile and half contest. Euphoric called the early shots with his rivals headed by stable-mate Golden Kingdom following him in a single file. M S Deora astride Golden Kingdom moved smoothly alongside Euphoric as they approached the final turn and it appeared that he would storm into the lead. But Euphoric fought back and soon all the six horses were running abreast when entering into the home stretch. Golden Kingdom, It’s My Time and Euphoric were sorting out the issue among themselves after Zarak and Flaming Lamborgini both failed to gather momentum. Fortune favours the brave it is said and it certainly did for S. Saqlain who took a courageous decision to slip through the narrow opening which was created when Golden Kingdom shifted out slightly at the turn. Saqlain’s gamble paid off as Magneto (Kingda Ka – Solar Midnight) responded gallantly to his rider’s call and the race was as good as over when the bay gelding surged ahead. Euphoric ended runner up while It’s My Time and Golden Kingdom completed the frame.

G. Vivek-ridden Star Gallery’s determined effort in the dying moments of the race enabled him to prevail over Finch by the proverbial whisker and make amends for his narrow defeat at the hands of Rush last month. Alpine Star showed the way to his rivals as the field embarked over the mile journey for the Janardhan Trophy. Star Gallery raced well up with the leader for a while before settling in third place behind Key To The Mint. Apprentice Haridas Gore, meanwhile, brought Finch with a steady run to join Key To The Mint and Ataash at the turn. While Alpine Star was resisting Ataash’s onslaught, Star Gallery took the shortest route home. S. Waheed-groomed Star Gallery (Total Gallery – Star Aligned) while hitting the front went across both Alpine Star and Ataash. Star Gallery and Finch then involved a fierce battle but the former held on to escape defeat by a nose. Ataash ended third and Alpine Star, who reportedly bled through the nostrils, was fourth. The rest including Geographique and Own Voice were prominent behind the leaders but didn’t put up a fight.

Two exciting finishes were witnessed during the day; first in the G20 Summit Cup and the other in the Southern Command Trophy for maiden juveniles. They were both claimed by Hosidar Daji’s wards – Monarchy and Kings Love respectively. No-hoper Hilma Klint led the field till entering the straight and surrendered to stable-mate Daulat Mai, who was in command till being overwhelmed in the last 50m by J. Chinoy-piloted Remy Red. Last-outing winner Chieftain was full of running in the straight but he encountered a troubled passage and lacked proper assistance from jockey Vishal Bunde. Yet, Nazzak Chenoy’s candidate challenged Remy Red opposite the grand stands and just when they were settling the dispute, Kirtish Bhagat-steered Monarchy (Excellent Art – Goldilocks) came with a late burst to pip both Remy Red and Chieftain at the post. Spirit Bay found a place on the judge’s board. Daulat Mai, Dali Swirl, Treasure Gold and Toussaint finished in a huddle behind the first four.

In the Southern Command Trophy, She’s A Teaser brought her closely-bunched rivals into the straight with favourite Decacorn tagging along and Kings Love racing in the mid-bunch. Decacorn, who was too keen in the early stages, lugged in badly in the home stretch and inconvenienced She’s A Teaser, who had to be steadied and lost her stride. A few strides prior to this incident, PS Chouhan astride Nirvana tried to sneak through a very narrow opening which disappeared when She’s A Teaser shifted in. Meanwhile, Kinzhal challenged Decacorn only to find Kings Love finishing with a rattle and reaching the winning line before fast-finishing Sloane Square could play spoilsport. Debutant Encantamento ran a game third, a short-head and neck away from the first two finishers with Kinzhal ending half a length behind.

Veteran Imtiaz Sait nursed filly Silver Spring improved on her previous performance and managed to shed the maiden ranks in the opening event. S. Zervan aboard Silver Spring jumped out smartly but let Mufaza head the field till the turn. Silver Spring then shot ahead with Dagger’s Strike and Anoushka in hot pursuit. Saqlain-partnered Anoushka tried hard to catch Silver Spring but Zervan drove her vigorously to ward off her threat. Zip Along ran on to finish in the money ahead of Dagger’s Strike.

Seven-year old Walshy finally made his way to the winner’s enclosure by unleashing a fluent run in final stages of the five-furlong scurry. Slam Dunk darted ahead and held the lead till Sentinel and Zukor ranged alongside. But apprentice Haridas Gore triggered a terrific response from Walshy (Whatsthescript – Bretton Woods) whose late burst left them stunned and gave trainer Adil Dajee the opportunity to lead in a winner after four years. Sentinel nosed out Slam Dunk for the runner up berth with Zukor in close tow.

Narendra Lagad-saddled Prince Igor (Basem – Double Diamond) achieved an encore in the concluding event after apprentice Mustakim Alam kept him going and thwarted hard-ridden Metzinger’s late bid. Prince Igor tackled stable-mate leader High Spirit in the last furlong and established a three length lead which came in handy when threatened by Trevor-driven Metzinger. Fashion Icon finished third ahead of Precioso. The well-backed debutant filly Idealista suffered interference shortly after the start and again later during the race. Idealistic never recovered after that and finished off the board.