Trainer Hosidar Daji leading Texas Gold (Neeraj Rawal Up), winner of The J D & Peggy Banatwalla Trophy
The concluding weekend of the Mumbai season was marred by the absence of bookmakers who refused to operate. The reasons for this were alleged incidents of threats to bookmakers who felt their security could be compromised and hence informed the club about their apprehension on their security. The bookmakers ring wore a deserted look and punters were seen queuing up at tote windows. It is unlikely that the bookies will return on the last day too, however, it was business as usual at the Pune betting ring.
On the racing front, Texas Gold (Chinese Whispers – Oceanic Wisdom) put in a terrific performance to run away with the JD & Peggy Banatwalla Trophy with a scorching gallop in the homestretch. Racing in the rear with only Medellin behind him, Texas Gold never looked prominent until after the final turn.
Collegium led them into the straight and soon was challenged by top fancy Gloriosus who shaped well for his final run. Barely had Gloriosus nosed ahead of Collegium, Texas Gold opened up a fiery burst to dart past the duo and romp home a clear winner. Gloriosus just about managed to beat Collegium for the second spot. Collegium did well to finish a good third and is one likely to score early in Pune. Hosidar Daji trained Texas Gold was simply too good and jockey Neeraj Rawal assisted him astutely all through.
Asad Siddiqui trained Jimbo (Senure – Lannkala, Manjri Stud) was a long-shot with the tote payout a whopping Rs 371 for a tenner. He followed up his last start victory with another solid performance, only this time he had to fight much harder in pegging back Sparkling Eyes first and then warding off a late burst from Franz Ferdinand in the closing stages.
Seacrets led them into the straight and was closely stalked by Free Speech, Sparkling Eyes and Jimbo. Free Speech led briefly before Sparkling Eyes caught up and soon Jimbo arrived with a fast gallop. Jimbo got the measure of Sparkling Eyes inside the final furlong. Franz Ferdinand warmed up nicely to arrive with a big gallop, covering ground remarkably only to fall short by a narrow margin. Another stride and it would have been victory for Franz Ferdinand, but Jimbo, ridden by apprentice K Nazil, did creditably well to stay ahead and win the Display House Sprint in a thrilling three-way finish.
Traherne (Phoenix Tower – Caborig, Manjri Stud) picked up the evening’s first race with a long stretch-run, emerging from the last position to beat Streetjammer close home, but comfortably. Streetjammer shot into the lead soon on turning for home with tote favourite Alishas Pet close behind. Alishas Pet, however, failed to quicken and ended a dismal third. Traherne picked up speed after being switched to the outside. He covered ground briskly in the hands of jockey CS Jodha and zipped past Streetjammer inside the final furlong to romp home in style.
Jockey CS Jodha later partnered Nextstar (Stern Opinion – Miss Langkawi) to a fluent start to finish victory to earn her maiden success in her third start. Rocketing out of the gates, Nextstar was joined by Art O War who kept her company until they straightened up for home.
Once in the straight, Nextstar galloped on with a sustained run and steered clear of the lurking threats all the way home to claim the Jockeys Trophy. Optimum ran on to finish second ahead of Arc Shine. Veteran jockey JE Pereira did the presentation honors accompanied by Neeraj Rawal.
The Trainers Trophy saw an exciting finish between Locarno and Speed of Sound. Locarno had the upper hand coming into the straight with Speed of Sound and Smart Choice a couple of lengths in deficit. Locarno seemed to be heading for victory as he still had a decent leeway inside the final 100, however, Sound of Speed (Sedgefield – Slam Strike, Jai Govind Stud), trained by trained by Arif Patel with Dashrath Singh in the saddle, put in a sudden burst of speed and they hit the wire together. Speed of Sound managed to pip Locarno on the post. They were followed by Rare Silver, Smart Choice and Romantic Lass in close order.
Firenze (Multidimensional – Amore Mio, Usha Stud) finished her campaign on a successful note with a persistent run in the homestretch. The Sanjay Kolse trainee was kept in the mid-pack until the turn by jockey Dashrath Singh and he surged into the lead with Firenze getting past Knight’s Quest, Care Free and Irises with ease. Once in the lead, Firenze galloped on gamely to stay ahead all the way. King of Killen made a desperate bid to chase down Firenze, but found the winner was too good on the day.
Q’E’D (Varenar – Mathematica, Equus Stud) picked up a sprint race with a measure of comfort taking the lead soon on settling down and then maintaining a good momentum through the long Mumbai straight to win from the fast finishing Ame. Jockey Neeraj Rawal yet again showing good riding skill as he nursed the Altamash Ahmed ward nicely on entering the straight. He kept her going early on hands and heels for the most part of the homestretch and then urged the mare in the final 100 meters to stay on ahead. Ame arrived with a speedy finish but fell short by a narrow margin.
Frosted (Phoenix Tower – Ice Bound, Manjri Stud) was ably ridden by apprentice Raghuveer Singh taking full advantage of the five kilo claim. He shot into the lead soon on start and kept the Imtiaz ward hard held until into the straight.
Frosted stepped up the pace and soon pushed further ahead of her close rivals to lead comfortably past the distance post. Trevor tried hard to catch up astride Star Scholar, but Frosted simply blew them all away with a neat finish. Happy Birthday ended a decent third.
For the professionals, trained Imtiaz Sait saddled a double, while jockeys Neeraj Rawal, Dashrath Singh and CS Jodha scored a double each.