• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Ikram Khan
Sunday 18 Jun 2017
Trainer P Shroff leading Manifold (Neeraj Rawal Up), winner of The Fillies Championship Stakes Gr.1

After winning the Champion Of Champions event, the Indian Turf Invitation Cup in March, Temerity  wearing the coveted sash, champion trainer Pesi Shroff and the leading pro Neeraj Rawal combined successfully again at this centre to record their second straight classic success. They knew that they had a classy filly in their ranks and Manifold proved them right on the big day. The Multidimensional out of Dhaawiah filly from the famed Usha Stud Farm was fancied most by the pundits and the pros after her impressive effort in a mock race but after the Padmanabhan schooled Romantic Star made a smashing debut last week and sent out a signal loud and clear that she is in the classic mould and her connections chose to pit her again the best a week after her maiden start, many knowledgeable and most big bettors got into the `Romantic’ boat.

The romance was short as Manifold rocked the boat in the final furlong to emerge the best of her age and sex, but to the credit of Romantic Star, it must be mentioned that she produced a heartwarming performance and lives to fight another day. The fact that the first two in the first classic came from Usha is another feather in the cap for Ameeta Mehra.

Another Shroff contestant Windsor Forest, a talented daughter of Phoenix Tower from the Manjri Stud Farm was a trifle unlucky encountering rough passage approaching the distance post. Suraj Narredu guiding the fortunes of the third placed Windsor Forest lodged a protest against Trevor astride Romantic Star contending that the favourite had cut across his filly at the distance post when Windsor Forest was making a good run and that he needed to check and break her stride and that cost him a second place. It was a valid objection but the stewards chose not to alter the result. Another Mumbai contestant Themis took the fourth spot and that only confirmed that Romantic Star apart, no filly in the South has the credentials to test the best from the West in the classics tests ahead.

“Manifold is a talented filly who gives it her all in a race and she did that today. She was really enjoying the climate and conditions here and that was evident from her consistently pleasing performances on the trial track,” said Shroff adding that Manifold has matured most and her next target will be the blue riband of the season, the Ultra Kingfisher Derby in the second week of July.

Another Shroff ward Accolade was backed to the exclusion of his 11 rivals in the managing Committee Gold Cup run over a sprint, but the Shroff ward after looking a runaway winner all through the straight buckled under pressure in the final 50 metres to go down to the Sharath Kumar ward Smile Stone partnered by the apprentice Naveen. Rule Downunder took the third spot ahead of Dazzling Bay who caught the eye finishing on well in a sprint trip which really doesn’t suit her style.

The Cape Dance Plate for maiden youngsters run over a distance of seven furlongs saw the favourite Aaron The Baron from Padmanabhan’s yard prove too good for his eight rivals. Aaron The Baron in fact was the only favourite to justify top billing in the eight-event ward dominated by many long shots who put their best stride ahead and waltzed to victory on the big day resulting in the Jackpot pool being carried forward. A sum of Rs 7,84,021  will be added to the pool on the colts day and that will prove to be a big draw next Sunday.

In the opening event, trainer Narayan Gowda pulled off another successful gamble on Princess Holly, the well backed customer edging out Celtic Mist in a pulse-pounding finish. The favourite Brunesco from trainer Gregory Sandhu’s yard finished a tame third ahead of Scenic Park.

Flicka garnered maximum support in the Fire Haven Plate. The public choice in the hands of Akshay Kumar assumed command at the top of the straight and looked poised to score before Aerospeed piloted in determined fashion by Suraj Narredu gained the day close home. Loveisintheair who had finished third behind Flicka by the shortest of margins in their last head-to-head clash while giving Flicka 2.5 kilos was better placed at weights this time, in receipt of two kilos from the Arvind Ganapathy ward. While Flicka lost out at the wire, Loveisintheair performed way below par and this calls for an explanation.

The topweighted Gypsy from Irfan Ghatala’s yard who had impressed most while finishing second behind Siobhan in her maiden attempt this season and that Siobhan won again in a higher ranked set on paper provided Gypsy the best chance on form but the favourite looked a trifle gross at the paddock and failed to figure in the frame. The 15 to one shot Anacapri from Shroff’s yard surprised the followers of form.  Pearl City impressed most while finishing second ahead of Duke Of Clarence while Queen Credible took the fourth spot.

The Sulaiman Attaollahi schooled Autocratic disappointed most in the Justice P Medapa Memorial Cup with a listless effort which his connections would like to forget in a hurry. Psychic Wafrrior from Darius Byramji’s yard stole a march and looked set to score before the Hyderabad challenger Tootsie Roll in the hands of Suraj produced a winning gallop in the final furlong to help Leo D’Silva add one more to his kitty. Vallee Sceptre another Hyderabad hopeful finished a creditable third and it will not be long before she enters the winners’ circle.

The friendless Tarini from Satish Narredu’s yard piloted by promising apprentice Rayan Ahmed dropped the biggest bombshell in the concluding event, edging out the lesser fancied Dont Dilly Dally and the overwhelming favourite Lord Buckingham in a close finish. The winner returned a handsome dividend of Rs 812 on a tenner at the tote window.