• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By mahendra mallya
Saturday 01 Apr 2017
Mr Mehernosh H Deboo & KN Dhunjibhoy leading Daffodil (Neeraj Rawal Up), winner of The Nanoli Stud Juvenile Stakes

Evening racing may have come as a relief to the horses what with the mercury soaring high and the first race at 5 pm seemed welcome to all. Daffodil bloomed in her third attempted to achieve her maiden win, promising that more is to come. Jockey Neeraj Rawal is enjoying the best phase of his career lately and he bravely eased Daffodil (China Visit – Hills And Stars, Usha Stud) into the lead after a jostling start to the race. Daffodil settled quickly and galloped fluently all through with Daughterofthesun close behind, Gnostic Eyes and Forest Fairy were in tow, while Texas Gold followed a couple of lengths away with Anniversary Girl at the tail.

Daffodil upped the ante soon on turning for home and increased the lead entering the final 400, leaving the rest to chase her down. The Pesi Shroff trained filly showed smooth acceleration as she steadily increased the tempo and galloped on towards the winning post. Forest Fairy the favourite, tried to pull back the leader and was the fastest at the finish, but Daffodil thwarted that attempt by staying on ahead showing grit and that extra bit of energy to stay ahead at the wire. Texas Gold rallied on nicely in the final furlong and for one who gave weight all around, did well to finish alongside the top two.

The Rajcoomar Gujhadahur Memorial Trophy in its tenth year now had seven in the lineup and the market trends showed that the race was an open one. Classicus was the tote favourite while three other contenders, Makino, Batman and Sensex were enthusiastically backed as well.

Rank outsider Vision of Romance showed a lot of spark and enough indication of regaining lost form as he bounced to the lead and kept the momentum going for longer than expected. With all the fancied runners in a close huddle, barring Batman who was last, the stretch run got riveting with the race coming to a boil. Sensex made the first move and was the first to get past Vision of Romance and set off on his winning mission. Classicus had travelled very well until into the straight, but found it hard to repeat his known way of finishing. At best, he was catching up but not quickening enough to pose a serious threat. Makino too was in a position to make a race of it but he too failed to work up a winning gallop. Batman was the one to throw in a lively challenge, but when he got his best foot forward, the winning post arrived, a tad too soon. Sensex deserved to win as he did everything right and timed his finish to perfection.

The day’s shortest priced favourite St Andrews (Phoenix Tower – Machrihanish, Manjri Stud) completed his assignment without fuss. Super Sunshine faltered at the start and refused to jump out until the hapless jockey urged him a couple of times. Brynhill led them into the straight and held on to his lead for as long as he could and when St Andrews came alongside, Brynhill surrendered meekly. St Andrews gage jockey CS Jodha an easy ride to victory.

Pugnacious (Arabian Gulf – Magic Touch, Manjri Stud) held on to dear life as Jeanine gave him a real scare. Taking off from the start, Pugnacious entered the straight with a slender lead and then Jeanine drew level to offer a serious challenge. The pair battled hard locked in a thrilling tussle that lasted until the final 100. Pugnacious either found an extra gear or Jeanine’s resolve dimmed and Pugnacious pulled away to win by more than a length. Multiglory disappointed and finished last of three, with a below par performance.

Drogo (Rebuttal – Gertie Laurie, Hazara Stud) should have won last time out, but made up for it with a spirited ride from jockey Joy Chinoy. Sweep Aside shot ahead in the straight opening up a useful lead. Kiss From a Rose, Drogo, Ventura, Eiger’s Tiger and Carnival set about in chase. Ventura head them all for a brief while before Drogo under astute riding from Chinoy finished full of steam to pass them all and hit the wire in good time. Ventura was pegged back to second ahead of Kiss From a Rose and Carnival.

Forest Fire (Arazan – Blurr, Poonawalla Stud) found his winning touch over the 2000, trip and scored his maiden win on his sixth start. It was not easy to come by as he found a stubborn adversary in Star Scholar, who had led them into the straight. Star Scholar put in a determined effort and looked ahead past the distance post and still not showing signs of giving up his lead. It took a strong effort from jockey CS Jodha who kept Forest Fire right next to the leader and eventually wore Star Scholar down in the last few strides.

Trevor’s skills came to the fore in the last race when he rode out trainer Dallas Todywalla’s charge Grey Flannel (Arazan – Bid For Gold, Villoo’s Greenfield Stud) to a fine victory from a position which didn’t really look perfect for a six furlong sprint as they turned for home.   

Fabio had scaled away to a handy lead passing Knight’s Quest in the process, with Be Bold, Petronuis, Logano and Grey Flannel all setting off after Fabio. Fabio shaped well until Grey Flannel got going in the last 100 meters and Trevor had the Dallas Todywalla ward finishing of in style. He zipped past a bunch of horses to win handsomely. Logano too was quick at the finish and did well to switch lanes and finish a good second, beating Fabio to third.

For the professionals, trainer Imtiaz Sait saddled a double, while jockeys Neeraj Rawal and CS Jodha scored a double each.