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By Usman Rangila | 14 Oct 2023 | PUNE

Mr K N Dhunjibhoy, Mr Z K Dhunjibhoy and trainer SS Attaollahi leading Pissarro (P Trevor up), winner of the Suresh Mahindra Trophy

The sad story about the Suresh Mahindra Trophy, the country’s longest horse-race run over two mile, failing to find an adequate number of contestants was repeated this year too. The participation for the race remained poor and only three runners faced the starter, the same as last year. Be that as it may, Suleiman Attaollahi-nursed Pissarro went into the race as the favourite as he is bred to stay and more so because both his rivals had never succeeded beyond a mile. Trevor Patel held Pissarro back in the first three furlongs before hitting the front with one-paced 10 to 7 on favourite with Euphoric in pursuit and Taimur fighting for his head in the early stages of the journey. After travelling in the same order as the race progressed, Pissarro’s lead was cut down by apprentice MS Deora-ridden Euphoric as he ranged alongside the favourite when they approached the bend for the last time. Euphoric overtook Pissarro as soon as the heads turned for home and surged ahead with about two furlongs still left for the wire. Euphoric was about two lengths ahead in the last furlong and it seemed that Pissarro was beaten. But race-goers witnessed a great fight back from the favourite as Trevor gave a couple of sharp cracks to Pissarro (Kingda Ka – Lassere) following which he warmed up to his task and lengthened his strides to easily pass Euphoric close home. Taimur ended a distance behind them.

MK Jadhav’s protégé Miss American Pie, who made a winning debut at the start of the current season, achieved a hat-trick on promotion and remained unbeaten after three outings. NS Parmar settled Miss American Pie well off the pace as Midsummer Star showed plenty of initial speed to take control of the running from the gates. Majestic Warrior, Misty, Lord and Master and Cipher chased the leader into the home stretch while Parmar was trying to take the shortest route home. Realising that he would not get a clear run due to the wall of horses ahead of him, Parmar changed his mind and brought Miss American Pie (Gleneagles – Reine Australe) from the outer lane. Meanwhile, both Misty and Lord and Master failed to quicken as Midsummer Star was still leading with Majestic Warrior and Cipher unable to tackle him. When shown the daylight, Miss American Pie came with a dazzling run to trounce both Midsummer Star and Majestic Warrior in the last 100m. Majestic Warrior finished runner-up whilst Cipher edged out Midsummer Star for the third place.

Malesh Narredu-trained Dash emerged victorious on debut in the Prudential Champ Trophy, the first event for two-year old horses this season. Tuned well for his maiden appearance, Yash Narredu-partnered Dash (Phoenix Tower – See The Sunrise) made every post of the five-furlong scurry a winning one. Field of Dreams and Zarqawi, the challenger from Mysore, were in a futile chase of the winner all the way home as Dash kicked on gamely. Esconido ran green before S. Saqlain managed to get her to race on an even keel and ended fourth. The rest of the three runners were not ready for the fray.

Scaramanga from Nosher Cama’s yard carried the top weight and defied the handicapper to record his second successive win in the Sir Sultan Chinoy Trophy. Ridden well off the pace by TS Jodha, Scaramanga (Quasar – Zana) moved resolutely in the straight to collar Kinzhal, who had tackled no-hoper Luminosity on entering the home stretch. With favourite Cordelia veering out at the turn and Multiverse unable to accelerate, Scaramanga was hard-ridden by Jodha to swoop down on Kinzhal and the bay colt then skipped away for a convincing victory. Four horses finished in a close huddle behind Scaramanga in which C. Umesh-piloted Cordelia ran on to pip Kinzhal for the runner-up spot whilst Kimiko came with a late run to finish fourth ahead of Multiverse.

Bezan Chenoy-schooled Koenig (Excellent Art – Qawaafy) was given a confident ride by YS Srinath which enabled the bay gelding to graduate from the maiden ranks in the NK Pudumjee Trophy. Ugly Truth and Moonlight Kiss cut each other’s throat in the five-furlong event when fighting for the lead. Apprentice Mustakim Alam-steered Moonlight gained the upper hand with a little over a furlong left for home and flattered briefly before being snubbed by Koenig close home. Tee Tee Dee warmed up late to finish in the money ahead of Impulsive.

The six-year old mare Trinket (Corporate Jungle – Tourmalet), who was deployed as the pace-maker for Juliette last Sunday, made it to the winner’s enclosure in a fight finish. Slam Dunk went to the front as usual and came very close to making it start to finish. However, her bid was foiled by Karthik Ganapathy’s ward, who was powerfully driven by Bhawani Singh to overwhelm the leader and lasted out to win from well-fancied runner-up Dowsabel, who graced the wrong end of the field till entering the straight. Mufaza finally showed some zest for racing and made it to the judge’s board for the first time in his career when finishing a close fourth.