• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Mahendra Mallya
Sunday 21 Jan 2018
Miss Ameeta Mehra, Mr Berjis Minoo Desai & trainer P Shroff leading Manifold (David Probert Up), winner of The Villoo Poonawalla Indian Oaks (Gr.1)

Pesi Shroff schooled Manifold (Multidimensional – Dhaawiah, Usha Stud) won the Villoo Poonawalla Indian Oaks (Gr I) in great style, galloping resolutely in the final furlong to outclass her rivals convincingly. The on-money favourite caused no anxiety to her large number of supporters unleashing a powerful burst at the business end to run away from the field and notch up an impressive victory, looking the winner long way from home.

Jockey David Probert settled Manifold in the seventh spot as Daffodil got past Take Five to dictate the early pace. The field of 14 fillies raced more or less in a single fine, well spread out at a decent clip. The race came to a boil as they entered the homestretch with Daffodil, Merveilleuse and Selfie Star racing abreast when Themis arrived to take charge. Manifold, ably ridden by jockey David Probert, gathered momentum soon on seeing daylight, getting out of traffic quickly and then swooped upon the front-runners to surge ahead past the distance post.  Manifold stretched out nicely to draw away from Themis and the rest. Manifold justified the all-round support she received  and looked sharp all the way, staying the trip effortlessly and will now look forward to the bigger assignment -  The Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby (Gr I) a couple of weeks away.

“She settled well and early and galloped gamely all through,” said jockey David Probert. “She stays well and has a good burst of speed to finish well. This was a near perfect race for her and she was focussed at the task on hand and won well,” he added. When asked about her chances in the Derby, David said, “She will stay the trip alright, but the Derby field is going to be a lot tougher than this one. I have seen Prevalent Force in action at Chennai and he looks the one to beat. Manifold has not done too badly over the distance and will run a good race too.”

 Trainer Pesi Shroff echoed his jockey’s words saying, “Prevalent Force looked extremely good in Chennai and surely stands a good chance in the Derby. I am happy with the way manifold won today and she clocked a decent time as well. She is in good heart and will be fresh after the two-week break and hopefully come good again in the big race.”

Star Inspiration (Win Legend – passion to Perform, Dr Kher Singh Stud) came up with an inspiring run to outpace his rivals and win with a big margin. Getting off to a quick start, Star inspiration, with Suraj Narredu in the saddle, shot ahead and galloped fluently all the way without encountering any challenge. Once in the straight, the Malesh Narredu trained colt exploded to a scorching gallop adding distance between himself and his rivals unleashing a powerful gallop and was way beyond reach of his hapless rivals. On-money favourite and last start winner Riquewihr was completely overwhelmed and just could not catch up with the winner. Star Inspiration won by seven lengths and showed remarkable improvement over his debut, reversing the verdict against Riquewihr in a sensational manner. He has shown a lot of potential and is likely to add to his maiden win shortly.

Summer Rays (Phoenix Tower – Donttellmewhattodo, Manjri Stud) picked up her second win this season with an intense performance, fighting hard and all the way to thwart the game challenge of Gazino.  Summer Rays, trained by Imtiaz Sait and ably ridden by jockey P Trevor, accelerated well on turning for home and got past early leaders God’s Own and Shamwari with ease. No sooner she had taken over the running, Gazino arrived with a fiery gallop to get alongside Summer Rays and may have even headed her briefly. Summer Rays however, counter attacked and the pair fought out the final 100 meters in a grim battle with Summer Rays clawing her way back to nose the wire in a tight finish. Queen Credible was always at the rear end of the field until into the straight, but finished with a fast gallop to take the place money, without ever looking threatening to the top two.

Hope And Glory (Net Whizz – Paula’s Girl, Hazara Stud) was hard-ridden by jockey David Probert to win the opening race of the day involved in a pitched battle with main rival Augustus Caesar.

Rouge One led them into the straight but was soon tackled by Augustus Caesar and Hope And Glory from either side, the latter taking a narrow gap along the rails. Augustus Glory shaped as he passed Rogue One, but David Probert pushed through aggressively to snatch the lead in the final finish. Hope And Glory put his debut experience to good use, and the benefit of that run may have made the difference. Augustus Caesar ended a gallant second and with this showing in his debut run his maiden win cannot be far away.

Arashi (Rock of Gibraltar – Hoboob, Kunigal Stud) came good after a couple of runs this season and scored an emphatic win, earning her first winning bracket in style on her fifth start. Assigned to apprentice jockey Zeeshan, Arashi settled well and burst through between horses midway up the straight to dart ahead in the final furlong. She revved up nicely past the Grand Stands to sew up the race long way from home. She won by a healthy margin, but then, didn’t really beat a high quality field, nor clocked a fast timing for the mile race. However, she has scope for improvement and a victory can instil confidence which should see her improve from here on.

Chaplin (Excellent Art – Amazing Bay, Poonawalla Exhilaration Stud) opened his account on his fourth attempt and his victory was impressive. He took off well to take the lead but held back when Sporto hurried past him. Once they turned for home, Chaplin sailed smoothly into the lead, leaving Gloriana to catch up. Chaplin, ridden by David Allan, soon surged further ahead, leaving Gloriana no chance of even getting closer. The Dallas Todywalla ward galloped resolutely to triumph with a good margin and never looked in trouble. Gloriana caught one better, but she is knocking on the door. Sporto did well to finish with the money and can do better but over the shorter scurry.

Sussex Pride (Sussex – Moneypenny, Pratap Stud) reaped rich dividends for playing a patient game, staying well off the pace in the rear and saving the best for the last.

Harmony led them all the way to the straight and faded away. On-money favourite Albareto took charge coming into the straight but was soon overpowered by Samarjeet. Sussex Pride then gathered good momentum and came charging in, covering ground briskly to collar Samarjeet inside the final furlong and then strode ahead majestically to score comfortably.  

Abu Al Bukhoosh (Arabian Gulf – Gamba, Manjri Stud) finally achieved his maiden success stunning the opposition and the racing pundits as well, fighting off Sir Song in the concluding race of the day.

Star Scholar led them into the straight with Allegria fighting hard to stay in contention. Gnostic Eyes improved nicely to charge ahead approaching the distance post. Abu Al Bukhoosh with Amyn Merchant in the saddle picked up speed in the final furlong but had Sir Song right alongside. The duo battled past the front runners and they both were speeding away towards the winning post. Abu Al Bukhoosh just managed to smother the game challenge posed by Sir Song and picked up his first success in a close finish. Gnostic Eyes did well to end third ahead of favourite Artus, who ended fourth beating tiring horses in the last few strides.

Legendary trainer RR Byramji was felicitated by the RWITC first and then by the western India trainers for his tremendous achievement and contribution to horse racing in India.

For the professionals, trainer Pesi Shroff saddled a double, while jockeys P Trevor and David Probert scored a double each.