• 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 25 Feb 2018
Mr Zavaray S Poonawalla leading Corfe Castle (P Trevor Up), winner of The Poonawalla Breeders' Multi-Million (Gr.1)

Corfe Castle (Excellent Art – Miss Danehill, Villoo’s Greenfield Farm) showed a dazzling turn of foot to floor his opponents and bring about a glorious triumph in the most sought after juvenile race of the country – the Poonawalla Breeders’Multi-Million (Gr1).

Corfe Castle had his task cut out as not only did he have to improve considerably to reverse the three-length verdict that Athenaeus had inflicted on him not too long back at Hyderabad, but also other tough local opponents. Trainer L D’Silva was subtly confident in his pre-race quotes and seemed certain that his charge was fit for the fray.

Corfe Castle, full brother to the dazzling filly Ruffina, stayed long way down the line, only no-hoper Pulverize behind him. Jockey Trevor made steady progress past the 600 m mark and got the colt to be in touch with the bunch in front.

Albemarie led them into the straight with Astral Force alongside, Athenaeus joined this pair, ready to make a forward charge. Athenaeus had barely gone into the lead when Corfe Castle unleashed a power-packed run. Once Corfe Castle got going, there was none in the opposition who could match his dazzle. Corfe Castle, owned by Mrs Simone Poonawalla Pandole, Mr Ram Krishna Reddy and Mr Tinder Ahluwalia, blazed away to win by a healthy margin. Star Superior beat the rest to end a good second. Oomph impressed while finishing third ahead of Astral Force.

“Very pleasing victory and he reminds one so much of Ruffina, his final burst in particular, the way he shot ahead away from the rest,” said Mr Zavaray Poonawalla. Asked about his future planning, he said, “Bangalore Summer is the obvious plan. We may try and place him over a seven-furlong race first up and then take it up from there.” On his feeling on receiving the trophy while he is more used to presenting it most times, Zavaray said, “We Parsis are known to love giving more than receiving. In fact in the earlier years of this race, my brother Cyrus and I had decided not to run our horses in this race, as we saw no point in winning the very race we sponsor. However, with the glitz and glamour growing by the years for the Poonawalla Breeders’ Multi-Million, it was for the high of winning such a race that we reluctantly got about placing our horses in the PBMM. It’s not just the trophy, but there are those in the farm that have worked so hard in the initial stages, it’s a collective labour of love for everyone involved. So it’s only fair that they too get to feel the excitement and the sense of pride in winning big races, they deserve it as well.”

The day began with a two-horse race for Class I horses. Pesi Shroff trained Cambridge (Burden of Proof – Chimerique, Kunigal Stud) dropped no sweat while beating his lone rival in the opener of the day. He went for the lead from the start and maintained a handy lead throughout. At no stage did Supreme General look like he would get Cambridge. Cambridge eventually won comfortably keeping that two-length lead intact all the way past the post.

Jager Bomb had showed signs of return to form and chose the big day to strike it rich over the Derby distance. Ridden astutely by jockey CS Jodha, Jager Bomb settled well in third as Zanara went for the early lead and Sagittarius who was in second shot past the leader in the backstretch. Jager Bomb bridged the long back steadily and was a close third by the time they turned for home.

Sagittarius shaped well in the straight and kicked on leaving the rest to come n get him. Jager Bomb powered his way closer and collared Sagittarius about 50m from home to earn a well fought win.

Impala (Win Legend - Native Princess, Dashmesh Stud) created an upset to gain his maiden win with a gallant effort to pip hot favourite Run Forest Run. Impala was right behind Run Forest Run from the start with Augury alongside. On entering the homestretch, Run Forest Run quickened well surging ahead to build on the lead. Impala was stuck for room but soon switched lanes to make his run. He started gaining on the favourite and a thrilling battle ensued. It looked either could win it and Impala with Dashrath atop won it by the bob of the head.

Chaplin (Excellent Art – Amazing Ray, Exhilaration Stud) showed tremendous improvement over his last run and completely outpaced his rivals to notch up a comprehensive victory. Sitting second until the turn behind Slam Dunk, Chaplin, with Neeraj Rawal in the saddle blazed away in a trice leaving no chance for the others to even think about mounting any challenge. The Faisal Abbas trainee was galloping away majestically and all by himself, bounding away towards the winning post to bring out a fashionable victory. Fringe Benefit ran on to end second ahead of Vistana and Invictus Maneo.

In It To Win It (Sedgefield – Blitz Kiss, Jai Govind Stud) came good and this was a good gamble successfully pulled off. The Adhirajsingh ward made steady progress to be in fourth at the turn as Night Watch led them into the straight. We Make The Rules got past the leader but was soon challenged on either side by Kimberella from the inside and In It To Win It putting in a good effort from the outside. There was a brief tussle before In It To Win It surged away from them all. Admo made a last ditch bid but the momentum was all with the winner and Admo had to be contend to end runner-up.

Masterofbalantrae (Multidimensional – Botswana, usha Stud) was judiciously prepared for the day and he obliged by dishing out an impressive display of speed to keep his winning record clean taking it to three wins from three starts, despite running after 13 months. He showed no sign of rustiness and galloped fluently to notch up his third successive victory.

Jockey A Sandesh was quickly up in second settling behind Orion’s Belt with Tanjo a close third all the way until the home turn.

Masterofbalantrae picked up speed and shot past the leader and build a handy lead in quick time. Tanjo started to go all out in chase. Albareto shifted out under pressure and that hampered his chances. However, Masterofbalantrae marched on gamely and even a late strong surge from Tanjo made no impact on the Vishal Gaikwad ward as he won it with just under a length to spare.

Southpaw (Bushranger – Quiet Appeal, Hazara Stud) lived up to his last start promise with a fiery show in the homestretch. Queen Ria led them into the straight and approaching the distance post, Southpaw arrived with a big gallop. Jockey Neeraj Rawal then got going and Southpaw produced a powerful surge to draw away from his rivals. Adam’s Beginning made it more difficult by going wide and arriving too late. Fine Tune ran third but Transform was the one to catch the eye with a late run to be a close fourth.

For the professionals, jockeys CS Jodha, Neeraj Rawal and Sandesh scored a double each.