Trainer S K Sunderji leading Rule Downunder (P Trevor Up), winner of The Bangalore Turf Club Trophy
An enjoyable Mumbai Season, not the best ever though, came to a conclusion with a crispy three-way finish in the last race of the season with Crystal Ball snatching victory in a close finish beating Asahi and Rich N Rare narrowly. The season was riddled with more problems than ever with the demonetization being the biggest issue that had direct impact, the cut in stake-money initially also an issue which got the support of everyone concerned and the sport moved on overcoming some serious short falls for the Club. The non-operation of the bookmakers during the last two days caused revenue loss as well. However, the committee did show character and managed to stage a fairly good season over all.
What was believed a two-horse race in the day’s opener, the Bangalore Turf Club Trophy, did end as was expected, however, Rule Downunder (Aussie Rules – Fatat Alarab, Capricorn Stud) wore down favourite Paramour, who ended the season with five consecutive seconds! Paramour shaped well coming into the straight, but Rule Downunder started to inch closer in the final furlong and picked up good enough momentum to surge ahead and beat Paramour comfortably in the end. It took a record-breaking effort though and Rule Downunder eclipsed the 1:09:62 held since 2012 by Amadeus to script his own timing of 1:09:60 to end the season with his name etched until another sprinter makes a mad dash to the wire sometime in the future. Ruffina looks the candidate to do so, but we will have to wait another few months for that to happen.
Champion Trevor had begun his day with a bang and he partnered Shroff’s Cambridge (Burden of Proof – Chimerique, Kunigal Stud) to a sparkling victory showing a lot of confidence in the gelding. Sereno had a handy lead in the straight with Cambridge a good couple of lengths away. Trevor was patient and nursed Cambridge to pick up speed and he responded well in the final furlong to surge ahead and bring up his maiden win in his second start. Polyneices ended in the money.
Rehanullah Khan’s Eternal Sunshine (Phoenix Tower – Divine Impact, Manjri Stud) raced away to a fine victory with apprentice champion SA Amit guiding the filly home. Eternal Sunshine was improving constantly through the 1800 m race and soon shot ahead on entering the homestretch. She galloped resolutely and led comfortably past the distance post. Furious N’ Fast tried hard to catch up but Eternal Sunshine was simply too good. Flying Dragon ended a tame third.
Orion’s Belt (western Aristocrat – Bretton Woods, Nanoli Stud) had few takers on the tote, but the Narendra trained filly showed terrific improvement on her debut run and fructified that learning experience to achieve her important and memorable maiden win. Jockey Akash Agarwal was out up in front and in the straight opened up throttle to stay well ahead of the rest. Orion’s belt took home the advantage and galloped on relentlessly to pass the winning post comfortably ahead of stable-mate Magic Dust. Sir Percy Blakeney looked a trifle under done, but did show a bit of spark promising a much better performance and result when next assigned to compete.
Malesh Narredu trained Odessa (Tiz Wonderful – Silvery Star, Hazara Stud) romped home to a solid victory over the six-furlong sprint. Apprentice jockey S Jaykumar tasted his first win this season as he sailed smoothly past Adams Beginning to take charge soon on turning for home. Odessa galloped fluently, but did drift out in the final furlong. However, that did not cramp his galloping strides and he won without encountering any worthwhile challenge. Tote favourite Kookaburra ended second well ahead of Tomahawk.
Rapid Girl (Glory of Dancer – Social Place, Nanoli Stud) came into her own and a good piece of riding saw her through, warding off the mounting challenge from Relentless Pursuit. Silk Baby squandered a handy lead as she led the field home and faded out. Logano too couldn’t quicken and it was Rapid Girl and Sandesh who sailed ahead with under 400 to go. Rapid Girl had a good momentum going and Sandesh was urging her on. Relentless Pursuit made his way through horses and picked up speed at the business end, but all he could manage was cutting down the margin as Rapid Girl always looked good and never in any danger.
Democrat (Samhoon – Alamshara, AB Stud) fought out stubbornly to hold a razor-edge advantage to nose out challenger Ridgewood Star in a breathtaking finish. Democrat had led them all the way into the straight and stepped on it going for the post. Ridgewood Star also made a forward surge and joined Democrat approaching the distance post. The pair fought stride for stride all through to the wining post. MK Jadhav trained Democrat was ably ridden out by jockey Akshay Kumar who kept the gelding going all the way to carve out a very narrow victory. My blessing ended a tame third.
Altaf Hussain picked up the last race of the season with Crystal Ball (Mull of Kintyre – Crystal, Nanoli Stud) arriving with a blaze in the last 100 meters. Rich N Rare seemed to be going well past the distance post when Asahi upped the ante and offered a game challenge. While these two were fighting hard for supremacy, Crystal Ball, with apprentice DS Daman in the saddle, flew past the duo to stamp his authority and clinch the race in a thrilling finish.
The Chairman Mr Vivek Jain along with Chairman of the Stewards Mr Gulamhusein Vahanvaty and Mr Champaklal Zaveri did the presentation honours in the traditional award ceremony for the season’s champions
Champion Owner: Sarainaga Racing Pvt Ltd
Champion Trainer: Pesi Shroff
Champion jockey: P Trevor
Champion Apprentice Jockey: SA Amit
Champion jockey with allowance: SA Amit
Champion Stud Farm: Nanoli Stud
Leading Bookmaker – Banarasi Das (Mumbai)
Leading Bookmaker – Latif Associate (Pune)