• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Mahendra Mallya
Sunday 19 Mar 2017
Mr Vijay B Shirke, Mr K N Dhunjibhoy & trainer MK Jadhav leading Themis (P Trevor Up), winner of The Forbes Breeders Juvenile Fillies Championship (Gr.3)

The Breeders’ Juvenile Championship day sponsored by the Shapoorji Pallonji Group saw the two grade III races being fought to the finish by both genders. The Forbes Breeders’ Juvenile Fillies’ Championship had six in the fray with Summer Rays being the most fancied runner, while among the boys, Timeless enjoyed that status. However neither could match up to the eventual winners.

It was the fillies who got on to the track first for the showdown and Swiftness led them all the way into the straight. Selfie Star took charge early, but soon had Manifold take her lead away. Themis, last to turn for home, took her chances by sticking to the rails all the way. Summer Rays was prominent only until they turned for home and packed up soon after. Angels Touch fought on but was not quickening as desired and required. Manifold shaped well until midway up the straight as Themis (Lord Shanakill – Soul Society, Nanoli Stud), once she slipped through and got a clear run, accelerated well in the hands of Trevor and finished full of steam to peg back Manifold to earn a short-neck verdict. Themis had shown in her last run that she was ready for the fray and fancied her chances over the extra furlong. She did improve on her last run and got the prestigious trophy home for the Shirke-Dhunjibhoy combine for trainer Pesi Shroff.

Pure Zinc (Sedgefield – Skipperess, Jai Govind Stud) was also made to earn his maiden victory. Caprisca led them into the homestretch and was galloping on when Pure Zinc closed in with his challenge. The duo fought stride for stride with Pure Zinc holding a slender advantage. Rochester was warming up and Big Sur too looked in contention past the distance post. Jockey Joy Chinoy rode out the Adhirajsingh Jodha ward strongly and even though Caprisca put up stiff resistance, Pure Zinc and Joy Chinoy held on grimly to pull off a well-fought out victory and claim the rich stakes on offer clinching the Shapoorji Pallonji Breeders’ Juvenile Colts’ Championship with a gritty showing for owners M/s Kishore & Gaurav Rungta in partnership with Ms Priti Singh & Ms Devika Shakhawat.

Trainer Waheed has worked wonders with his ward Celtic Prince (Dancing Forever – Celtic Memories, Hazara Stud) and the fiery chestnut gelding romped home to his fourth victory this season and this one amongst top company. Although in receipt of a chunk of weight, beating the likes of Dancing Prances and Your Royal Majesty, genuine champion horses in their own right was simply splendid for the lesser known Celtic Prince. Partnered by Neeraj Rawal, Celtic Prince shot into the lead and kept galloping at a crispy pace and finished off with a brilliant run to stay clear of the imposing Dancing Prances. Celtic Prince never looked in danger even as Dancing Prances was warming up a length or two behind. Celtic Prince was relentless and kicked on to win decisively and has had one of the best seasons of his career.

Vulcan (Sedgefield – Shinning Force, Jai Govind Stud) saw a rise on price in the betting ring as Geranium received strong support at race time. However, he won his assignment with ease in the hands of Trevor carrying the top weight and giving weight to his two rivals. Vulcan tailed his two opponents with June setting the tone at a rather friendly pace for much of the first half of the 2400 journey. Once into the straight, Geranium got past June easily, but had no answer when Vulcan showed up almost immediately. Vulcan grew stronger at the finish and galloped away to score a facile victory, his supporters profiting from the rise in odds. Geranium was tamed easily and a lot earlier than one reckoned.

Imtiaz Sait ward Celestial Light (Rebuttal – Angarika, Hazara Stud) came good after a couple of forward runs and scored her first win over the mile trip. Her last and only other victory was over 1400 meters last year. She settled in second behind Irises until well into the homestretch. Celestial Light showed good galloping speed in the last furlong to sail past Irises and draw away in the final 100m to score an emphatic victory, never challenged at any stage. Irises galloped well within herself and held on to the runner- up berth, while Furious N’ Fast ran on to finish in the money.

Alfredo (Phoenix Tower – Crimson Orchid, Manjri Stud) showed exceptional fighting qualities when the chips seemed down to make a come-back of sorts after seemingly falling back in the early half of the five furlong scurry. Baryshnikov sprinted past Alfredo soon on settling down and maintained a handy lead coming into the straight. Locarno and Alfredo were both in chase of the leader all through. Just when it looked like Baryshnikov would prevail, Alfredo with apprentice G Santosh in the saddle put in a last ditch effort and gained considerable ground in the final fifty to pip Barshnikov on the post. Locarno ended a close third, just ahead of Romantic Lass, the latter showing signs that she is hitting form.

Kiss From A Rose (Varenar – Fiddle Faddle, Ruia Stud) from Waheed’s stables, produced a crack-finish to win the last race of the day. Tailing leader Allegria from the start, with Vitesse alongside, Kiss From A Rose with apprentice Akshay Gaekwad astride, produced a steaming finish to zip ahead of Allegria close home to carve out a narrow win. Firenze too finished full of steam but was a tad too late as she had traffic problems to overcome at the turn. However, Firenze had all the chances to make a race of it, but Kiss From a Rose held on to the lead to land the spoils although Firenze did well to finish close on the winner’s haunches.

For the professionals, trainers Adhirajsingh Jodha and Waheed saddled a double each, while Trevor scored a fine treble.