• Ruffina wins The Sprinters Cup (Gr.1)
  • Azzurro wins The Dr M A M Ramaswamy Stayers Cup (Gr.1)
  • whomakestherules wins The Maj P K Mehra Memorial Super Mile Cup (Gr.1)
  • Kangra wins The Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Gr.1) in record timing
By Mahendra Mallya
Sunday 18 Feb 2018
Trainer P Shroff leading Madagascar (S Zervan Up), winner of The Gracias Saldanha Memorial Million

It was that kind of a day where empathy and emotions of people emerged amidst a good day of racing. Mrs Blanche Saldanha, w/o Late Mr Gracias Saldanha, had the crowd glued to a touching visual of cancer-struck children from the underprivileged and marginalized sections of society were losing their childhood if not their life. More than the dreaded disease, it was poverty that was killing them, revealed the video. The costs for cancer treatment are unaffordable and way beyond the means of most that throng the Municipal-run Sion Hospital in Mumbai. Blanche Saldanha founded Cherish Life India Foundation with the mission to pick up the treatment costs that can run up to Rs 10-12 Lac per child for a bone marrow transplant and about Rs 4-5 lakh per child for cancer and other treatment for blood disorders. Racing patrons responded and contributed wholeheartedly. Pesi Shroff, who was the star pro of the day leading in three winners, was among the first to donate his entire stake money earned on the day. Trainer Malesh Narredu made a contribution of Rupees One lakh, while the other big names including many of the RWITC bigwigs pledged their support to the noble cause.

Madagascar (Phoenix Tower – Taralaya, Manjri Stud) who was lagging way behind for the better portion of the sprint race, showed a tremendous burst of speed in the second half of the homestretch to floor his two rivals and clinch a memorable debut win.

Riquewihr led his two rivals and at the turn had favourite Star Inspiration in close second and Madagascar was about seven to eight lengths behind.  Star Inspiration could not accelerate well enough to challenge Riquewihr at any stage. Perhaps the top weight was the cause. Riquewihr shaped like a winner with a furlong to go, however when Madagascar warmed up and came into the picture, it was all over bar the shouting. The Shroff trained debutante arrived with a scorching finish and raced past his two rivals to win handsomely.

Mr Julio Ribeiro, one of the most respected top police officer known as Super Cop in his days, jointly presented the trophy along with Mrs Blanche Saldanha to the winning connections.

“Gracias Saldanha was a close friend,” said Mr Ribeiro. He was a noble gentleman who rose to great heights almost single-handedly. Blanche is doing a great service to humanity with her initiative in founding Cherish Life. The foundation has helped scores of underprivileged children and I fully appreciate and support her initiative. I request everyone to donate generously and help in saving as many lives,” said Mr Ribeiro, who himself is working tirelessly for important social causes.

Shroff had earlier sent out Brainstorm (Dream Ahead – Roof Fiddle, Hazara Stud) who braved to go to the front and held on gallantly to thwart the opposition and bring about his second successive victory.

Brainstorm was soon joined in the lead by Mount McKinley and this pair was followed closely by Vice Admiral, Zanzibaar and Grande Vitesse, with Brabourne at the tail end. Brainstorm kicked on gamely in the straight and left it for the others to chase him down. Jockey David Probert pushed out vigorously all through to keep the fast finishing Brabourne at bay.  Zanzibaar edged out Grande Vitesse to finish third.

Spitfire (Phoenix Tower – Athlone, Manjri Stud) provided Shroff the hat-trick picking up the YM Choudhry Memorial Trophy with a grand display of speed and timing.

Jetfire led them all the way into the straight and soon Iron Age snatched away his lead. Spitfire was in the mind-bunch and started improving past the 400m. Iron Age had barely taken up the running and enjoying a couple of lengths advantage when Spitfire arrived with a terrific turn of foot. Spitfire covered ground at an alarming rate and sped past Iron Age to bring about his maiden victory in his second outing. Shae ran on to grab the runner up berth ahead of Iron Age.

Adhirajsingh Jodha schooled Square Moon (Sedgefield – Shining Force, Jai Govind Stud) notched up a neat start-to-finish victory over 2400m. Leading comfortably all through, Square Moon powered his way in the homestretch outpacing and out lasting his rivals completely.  Favourite Palatial, who was languishing in the rear for most of the journey failed to make any impact in the race. Vulcan tried hard to catch up with stablemate Square Moon but could not even narrow down the margin effectively. Jockey SA Amit never let his guard down at any stage and ensured a well-deserved victory, dictating the pace all through.

Trainer MK Jadhav finally got his ward Goshawk (Lope de Vega – Lady Marmelade, Nanoli Stud) to pull off a much needed win after more than just a couple let-downs. Goshawk relished the longer distance and stayed at the tail end of the field until they turned for home.

Torezzo led them into the straight and soon faded out. Grand Accord put in a good run to improve rapidly from the mid-bunch and shot into the lead. Adonijah fought briefly staying alongside Grand Accord. However soon Goshawk arrived full of steam and easily overhauled the fighting duo to sail ahead and win impressively.

Locarno (Footstepsinthesand – Penthouse Serenade, Sohna Stud) showed that he still had a lot of zest in him as he darted ahead and stayed there until the very end. Apprentice jockey Zeesan had saved enough as he led them into the straight. From there on he urged the Mansoor Shah trainee to kick on even as the others were closing in. Locarno however, galloped on gamely with enough in the reserves and eventually out-sprinted them all to pick up a convincing victory.

Ricardus (Arazan – Guest Connections, Exhilaration Stud) pulled off his maiden win in style. Sitting second behind Pandemonium until into the straight, Ricardus broke free past the 400 and stretched out nicely to sew up the issue long way from home. Whoopsidaisy finished a good second ahead of Advance to Contact.

The last race of the day saw a keen finish where the well-backed Till The End of Time (Dancing Forever – Moselle, Hazara Stud) just managed to neck out Dixieland in the dying moments of the race. Dixieland was taken on a start to finish bid by Sandesh while T S Jodha had some early traffic snarls with Till End Of Time. With a furlong left Dixieland was still ahead of the field but the lead started to diminish fast when Till End Of Time picked up momentum. Trainer M K Jadhav’s filly Till End Of Time came out trumps by half a length at the wire. Angels Harmony came into the money followed by Manzanita

For the professionals Pesi Shroff packed a treble while M K Jadhav and David Probert had a double each.