• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Mahendra Mallya
Saturday 18 Feb 2017
Trainer Nazak Chenoy leading Lucas (PS Chouhan Up), winner of The A Campbell Trophy

ON a day when most favorites took the tumble, Nazak Chenoy trained Lucas (Phoenix Tower – Trinity Joy, Manjri Stud) stood out with a gritty win, returning triumphant from a well-fought battle. Ancient Glory, the next in demand, was sent out on a start-to-finish mission and he kept the hopes alive until well into the final furlong. Lucas, third initially,  was quick to improve as Ancient Glory led them into the straight and began to chase the leader with a persistent gallop. Ancient Glory was not one to give up easily and was fighting hard to stay in the lead, leaving Lucas to do the catching up. Lucas, ridden by jockey PS Chouhan, started to inch closer with every stride and got alongside Ancient Glory who continued to fight on. Also, there was another threat building up as Alishas Pet arrived with a game gallop with a 100 to go. Lucas managed to surge forward at full steam and get the race warding off Alishas Pet who did well to pip Ancient Glory for the runner-up berth. Lucas finished on well, particularly in the final fifty to score his first win over the six-furlong sprint, his earlier two wins coming over seven furlongs.

Trainer Nazak Chenoy had earlier saddled debutante Oracle (Phoenix Tower – Age Of Magic, Manjri Stud) to a stunning victory, despite her ward finishing on the outer fencing of the race track. Oracle was quick at start and shot into the lead with Stunner close behind and My Precious in third. On turning for home, Oracle stepped up the pace and soon surged further ahead leaving the rest well behind. Neither Stunner nor My Precious could match Oracle’s speed. Oracle began drifting out alarmingly midway up the straight, even as apprentice jockey G Santosh tried hard to keep him on even keel. His speed never slowed though and in the end, Oracle won by just under three lengths. Kramer finished on well to take the runner up spot ahead of Shamwari.

Chenoy Sr added to the family’s spoils sending out Pacific Dunes (Multidimensional – Dhaawiah, Greentree Stud) to a splendid win, maneuvering his way between horses to carve out his maiden win in the hands of apprentice G Santosh. There was a bunch of horses in front and tote favourite What A Nice Girl shot through an opening to take charge soon on turning for home. Pacific Dunes was stalking the favourite and made quick progress to set about the chase. Sandesh ridden What a Nice Girl was shaping well until Pacific Dunes made his grand appearance. The Bezan Chenoy ward galloped strongly in the last 100 m to storm past What a Nice Girl to score comfortably. What a Nice Girl lacked the killer instinct and surrendered meekly. Headlines finished in the money, also coming from a long way back and although she stuttered a bit in the final furlong, she finished on fairly well to take the third spot way ahead of fourth placed Devoted.

Trainer Imtiaz Sait has hit winning form and reaped a double at good odds. He opened up the day with a facile win, his charge Raees (Sedgefield – Lost Perfection, Brahma Vijay Stud) galloping away to a glorious third successive win, all his victories coming this season.

Nutcracker retired after leading until the turn and favourite Uncle Scrooge, who was trailing far back in fourth made rapid progress surprisingly early for a 2400m race and was up with the front runners, also taking the turn wide. No sooner Flying Dragon took over from Nutcracker, Uncle Scrooge surged ahead and away from the new leader. However, Uncle Scrooge looked a spent force when Raees arrived with a steaming gallop. Raees, with jockey CS Jodha in the saddle sped away past Uncle Scrooge with ease to score a facile victory by an good margin. In this form, Raees may strike a fourth if judicially placed.

Imtiaz Sait later pulled off an upset win with his ward Relentless Pursuit (Moss Vile – Wine House, Hazara Stud) scoring over the heavily backed Star of Harmony. The fact that Star of Harmony hung out badly in the latter part of the race may have made the task easier for the winner. Nevertheless, Relentless Pursuit was indeed relentless in his efforts as jockey Joy Chinoy rode his heart out in the straight after making quick progress at the right juncture to be in striking position to make his final bid.

Star of Harmony had given a tad too much leeway by going wide at the turn which is when Relentless Pursuit sailed past the front runners. Once in the lead, Relentless Pursuit gathered momentum and galloped on tirelessly to smother the late challenge that came from Star Of Harmony once the latter galloped straight and picked up speed. But that was a shade too late as Relentless Pursuit held on by a head to cap the race and earn a much needed maiden victory.

Go Marisa Go (Exhi – Marisa Go, Hazara Stud) was another sensational upset with the Waheed trainee galloping away to glory and achieve her maiden success as well. Running close with the front bunch, Go Marisa Go quickened soon on turning for home and had a good momentum going. She surged ahead with a furlong and half to go and made a good job of lasting out the long Mahalaxmi straight. Jockey R Ajinkya was up to the task as he rode her out confidently and steered clear of the opposition to score by over a length. Rare Silver did well to end runner up ahead of Time of My Life, who too progressed well to earn the place money.  Favourite Oscillation ran listlessly throughout, to end a tame third. Jockey Sandesh too failed to score through the day and suffered a terrible day at the office, returning empty-handed from seven riding assignments off the eight races.

 Trainer Sanjay Kolse ended the day with a splendid double, winning the last two races with his charges Cyclone and Simona.

Cyclone (Ace – One Magic Moment, Poonawalla Astonish Stud) perhaps put the best show on the day, surfacing from the rear end of the field to finish with a flourish, knocking down each opponent on his way.

Alpine Express led the trio comprising Baryshnikov and Minstrel Heights with Arabelle and Arkawah close behind, Cyclone keeping Queen Credible company at the tail end of the field.

Minstrel Heights soon gained ground to get past Baryshnikov and was going at a good clip. Arkawah was improving while Arabelle was not getting anywhere. Queen Credible started to progress between horses when Cyclone launched his final bid from the outside. He arrived with a powerful burst that left the others gasping as he tore away from the opponents to score an emphatic victory and looked good for more in the near future. Minstrel Heights ended a good second ahead of Arkawah.

Apprentice jockey G Santosh too ended his productive day on a winning note, getting to his third win showing good riding skills. Knight’s Quest nearly pulled off a start-to-finish essay as he led comfortably until past the distance post, with neither Vitesse nor Night Fury making any impact on him. Kiss From A Rose and Simone mounted their challenge simultaneously. While Simona progressed to produce a winning effort, Kiss From a Rose could not sustain. It was Simona who picked up speed inside the final furlong to wear down the lead built by Knight’s Quest to carve out a narrow win, getting past the leader a stride or two from the winning post. Night Fury managed to edge our Kiss From a Rose for the place stakes.

For the professionals, trainers Ms Nazak Chenoy, M/s Imtiaz Sait and Sanjay Kolse saddled a double each, while apprentice G Santosh had a memorable day riding home a commendable treble.