• 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
SURAJ SHINES BRIGHT WITH FILLIES’ & COLTS’ DOUBLE
MUMBAI
By Mahendra Mallya
Sunday 18 Mar 2018
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Ace jockey Suraj Narredu thundered home winners in both the feature races on Sunday, a rare and commendable feat.  He first struck with Hyderabad based Catalonia owned by the Shroff brothers along with M/s Chetan Shantilal and Mohan Chattaram winning the Forbes Breeders’ Juvenile Fillies’ Championship (Gr3) in style, comfortably beating the small field without encountering any resistance.

It looked to get to a close finish when the field of five were turned for home in a close huddle. Kora Jade led them in but was soon accounted for by Catalonia (Air Support – Sesandri, Kunigal Stud) the Deshmukh trained filly warming up nicely to storm ahead. Shae and Marietta were close behind with most fancied Oomph on the outside with a clear passage. At that stage it looked anybody’s race as Catalonia had just taken charge with the rest expected to mount their challenge. However that was not to be as Catalonia got better with every stride and soon had built an invincible lead. Invincible, considering the pace with which she was finishing on and none from the rear were match on the day to Catalonia. The filly marched on majestically to outpace them all and romp home a clear winner.

The only difference to Suraj’s successful ride atop brother Rajesh Narredu’s Star Superior was this one was even more emphatic and effortless. Star Superior (Excellent Art – Ramjet, Poonawalla Stud) enjoyed a successful trip from Bangalore; firstly finishing an eye-catching second in the PBMM and then asserting himself with a fine showing while winning the Shapoorji Pallonji Breeders’ Juvenile Colts’ Championship (Gr3) by an overwhelming margin, outclassing the local boys with ease.

Pulverise led them into the straight and bowed out soon. Star Inspiration led briefly coming into the straight but was completely outpaced when Suraj Narredu cruised past to take charge. Star Superior bounded forward shutting out his opponents completely, and looked the winner long way from home. Spitfire could only finish second after encountering a clearly superior adversary. Star Superior won by a widening margin as the manner in which he won suggests that he is the one to watch out for when he returns to Bangalore this summer. Spitfire was humbled this time, but he will live to fight another day.

Iron Age (Strong Suit – Intrigue, Manjri Stud) scored a neat start to finish victory achieving his maiden success in his third career start. He was strongly supported in the betting owing to his ‘experience’ and as he was taking on rookies. He justified the faith and galloped to a flawless triumph, taking off and hitting the front early from the gates.

He led them into the straight with a handy lead and then improved further to snuff out any challenge. Pablo tried hard to catch up but his effort was in vain. Trevor left nothing to chance, even cracking the whip a couple of times despite being out of reach of Pablo. Barrack had an educative outing finishing a tame third, while among the other debutantes Strong Storm was listless taking the fourth spot and Cavarozzi lost the plot at the start losing considerable ground and then lagging to far behind.

Trevor scored again with Tenerife (China Visit – Cest Bon, Usha Stud) this time Tenerife getting a firm grip once in the lead. Golden Eve led them into the straight and soon Trevor cruised past to take charge. Trevor got the Sunderji trained filly going and soon built up a handy lead. The others were going all out in chase. Trevor sensed this to perfection and egged the filly on using the whip effectively to keep her going all the way. Queens Best improved under the whip to edge out Make it Shine for the runner-up berth, with Transform taking the fourth place.

Jockey Sandesh too scored a double starting off with a fluent win astride Sanjay Kolse trained Sagittarius (Arazan – Glorious Breaker, Villoo’s Greenfield Farm). Sagittarius displayed commendable staying prowess going over the 2400 m distance start to finish without encountering any trouble. She stormed into the homestretch, well ahead of Silver Edge and the others. Sandesh was well in control as he drove Sagittarius ahead and the gelding was finishing on with as much vigor as he had shown right from the start. He won handsomely, easing up in the end when Sandesh looked back to see how far the others were. Lady Be Good improved to take the second spot with the rest finishing close behind.

Sandesh then steered Vishal Gaikwad trained Yellowstone (Lope De Vega – Burning Demask, Nanoli Stud) to a fine victory a maiden success to the gelding on his first essay in Mumbai and second overall.

Sandesh had settled Yellowstone behind the front bunch in the 7th position and he improved considerably after turning for home. Master of Studies led them in and faded out. Tar Heel looked good when he shot past the front runners, but Yellowstone was covering ground at a brisk rate. Soon Yellowstone joined Tar Heel and headed him. Tar Heel sweated it out engaging in a spirited tussle with Yellowstone, sticking alongside all the way to the wire. It seemed a fierce fight, but Yellowstone always had the upper hand, eventually nailing it by a narrow margin.

Timeless (Surfrider – Showstopper, Ruia Stud) scored an encore and brought about his first win over the sprint partnered by competent jockey CS Jodha. Rising Brave failed to take advantage of the weight he was receiving from both Timeless and Summer Rays and wilted after leading them into the straight.

Summer Rays had barely gotten past Rising Brave when Timeless arrived with a big gallop. He zipped past Summer Rays and Rising Brave and accelerated extremely well to draw away in the final furlong. Timeless won convincingly and was clearly superior on the day. Summer Rays ended second ahead of Rising Brave.

 For the professionals, trainer Shiraz Sunderji saddled a double, while top jockeys Suraj Narredu, Trevor and Sandesh shared the honours with a double each.