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By Usman Rangila | 08 Oct 2023 | PUNE

Mr Zavaray S Poonawalla & trainer Karthik Ganapathy leading Juliette (C S Jodha up), winner of The Threptin Fillies' & Mares' Stakes (Gr.3)

The four opponents that Juliette was asked to take on in the Threptin Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes (Gr.3) on Sunday were absolutely no match for her as was evident when the Karthik Ganapathy-trained grey mare treated them with disdain and sauntered home for her fifteenth career victory. Trinket and Successor, the stable-mate and owner-mate of Juliette respectively, took turns in showing the way to the field. Trinket set the pace for the first six of the nine-furlong journey and handed over the baton to Successor, who headed the field for the next two furlongs. Meanwhile, Juliette (Musketeer – Gimmesumsugar), who was racing in the rear till approaching the final turn, was set alight by CS Jodha and the money-back favourite moved steadily to tackle the front-runners and went sailing into the lead. She left her rivals stranded behind and was followed home by In Contention and Place Vendome. The spectators were all up on their feet to cheer Juliette's victory, which was her first on the Pune race-track. Juliette received a hero’s welcome from the racing crowd at Pune as Karthik Ganapathy proudly led in the winner, who is owned by Zavaray S Poonawalla’s family. It is learnt that the current victory was Juliette’s swan song in India and she will now race in Dubai next year.

The day’s curtain-raiser, the second division of the Rao Saheb Kedari Gold Trophy, was decided in a three-way finish between Silver Spring, Lord Fenicia and India Strong. Imtiaz Sait-schooled Silver Spring took off smartly from the barriers and held on gallantly to ward off both Lord Fenicia and India Strong at the finish. Akshay Kumar drove Silver Spring (Fiero – Dixie Evans) confidently as YS Srinath joined the issue when Tess shifted out at the top of the home stretch and India Strong brought into contention too. Despite the strong finishing effort of Srinath and desperate the attempt of NS Parmar aboard India Strong, Silver Spring stayed the course to complete an encore by sparing a long-neck and head respectively to Lord Fenicia and India Strong at the wire. Fancy Nancy, the winner’s stable-mate, was denied a clear run when the heads turned for home as Tess veered out and India Strong leaned on her when Neeraj Rawal tried to essay his challenge. Fancy Nancy had to change course and lost precious ground in the process. She finished a close fourth ahead of Glacier, who ended a game fifth.

Having failed to tackle the extended trip twice after her maiden success over six furlongs, Imtiaz decided to allow Pyrrhus to take a shot over a sprint once again. The four-year old filly, who was racing on a tidy scale as compared to her fancied rivals, relished the shorter trip and went on to achieve her second career success. Jockey C. Umesh settled Pyrrhus (Planetaire – Polydences) in a good position in the mid-bunch as Enlightened shot into the lead and had Dilbar, Majestic Warrior and Exotic Queen in pursuit. Pyrrhus stole a march over her rivals as soon as the field turned for home and then skipped away from them to provide her master his second winner of the day. TS Jodha-piloted Empower, the unfancied stable-mate of Inishmore, came with a late run to finish second ahead of an uninterested lot of which Exotic Queen and Fortune Teller from Faisal Abbas’s yard finished third and fourth respectively. Waikiki, though making her maiden appearance this season, was installed as the favourite but the NS Parmar-ridden filly ran disappointingly and so did second favourite Inishmore, who was ridden by CS Jodha in place of Trevor Patel.

SK Sunderji-groomed Own Voice, who was a maiden on record and yet found herself in Class III, finally found her mark in the Yogender Singh Trophy. Favourite Rue St Honore embarked on a start-to-finish mission over the mile journey but she blew up shortly after entering the straight and was overtaken by well-fancied Finch and apprentice Mustakim Alam-steered Own Voice. TS Jodha-ridden Finch led momentarily before Own Voice (Excellent Art – Sweeping Success) was spurred by Mustakim to gain the upper hand. Own Voice won comfortably from Finch and Kiefer, who finished well after gracing the rear till the final turn. Zarak made no progress after being prominent behind Rue St Honore in the early stages of the race and ended fourth with the latter fading out to be last.

La Belle from Pesi Shroff’s yard showed remarkable improvement after a lung-opener on debut earlier this season and shed the maiden ranks in style in the upper division of the Rao Saheb Kedari Gold Trophy. Kirtish Bhagat astride La Belle (Excellent Art – Goldilocks) allowed Bubbly Boy and Mighty Thunder to show the way till the field straightened for home and then alerted the filly to her task. La Belle showed a tremendous turn of foot and went surging past the leaders in the last furlong. La Belle won quite convincingly from Opus Dei, who progressed in the straight to overtake the weakening duo, Bubbly Boy and Mighty Thunder. Favourite Phenom, who was unfavourably placed in the early part of the race, got pocketed between Kirkines and Big Red and also inconvenienced by the latter. Phenom finished fifth.

The decision of trainer HJ Antia to claim apprentice Haridas Gore’s 3.5kg allowance for Maysara proved to be a wise one as the filly registered an encore in the Betbricks7 October Handicap. Maysara (Surfrider – Circus Ring) hit the front as usual and kicked on gamely when challenged by favourite Pure for Sure. Ridden by Srinath, runner-up Pure for Sure seemed to be gaining ground on Maysara but the weight proved to be a stopper. Sorrento Secret ended third as second favourite Ultimo failed to make any headway after racing close behind the winner till entering the straight and finished fourth.

Last-outing winner Nairobi defied the penalty incurred for her maiden victory last month to score her second successive win. Nairobi (Sussex – Capriani) came well from the widest draw to be in close attendance of leaders Reciprocity and Intense Belief till the horses came into the home stretch. Jockey SG Prasad had to pull out Nairobi to make his bid after R. Shelar atop Sussing closed the gap when joining the issue with Intense Belief. Nairobi spurted nicely when asked for an effort by Prasad and stretched out well to score a superb victory over Anoushka, late finishing Silver Steps and Sussing. Charming Star was not given a punishing race when finishing fifth, a neck behind Sussing.