• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Kingfisher Ultra Derby Bangalore (Gr.1)
  • Desert God wins The Tetrasoft Inc. Bangalore St. Leger (Gr.2)
By Mahendra Mallya
Sunday 22 Apr 2018
Mr Vijay B Shirke & trainer P Shroff leading Khartoum (N S Parmar Up), winner of The Military Plate

In a sport that is ruthlessly competitive, where every minute detail has to be managed, strategies and preparations need astute mind and then luck too playing a part in the implementation, winning even one race gives great joy to the connections. Multiply that by a whopping 2700 plus times and you get just once such achiever – Pesi Shroff!

Yes, as a jockey Pesi scaled to the top steadily, from winning races consistently to being crowned the champion jockey at perhaps the most competitive times. He vied for honours alongside the legendary battery of jockeys of his time - Vasant Shine, Aslam Kadar, Robin Corner, the Narredus, the Parnells, Sandy Barclay and even Mick Kinane, some of the top in the business who graced the Indian turf.  Over all, Pesi Shroff took his aggregate to well over 1700 winners as a jockey starting from the mid-eighties until he hung his boots a couple of years into the new Millennium.

Then started a new innings as a trainer! He notched up his 1000th victory when he led in Khartoum in the day’s first race. A commendable achievement indeed! There are remarkable success stories in the world of sport, but what makes Pesi Shroff’s achievements a stand out is the fact that while most ‘do it themselves’ Shroff has had to watch his skilful training bear fruit having others to ride his horses to victories, as he himself had excelled in doing. Doff your hats to the single most successful jockey-trainer in the country or perhaps in the world of horseracing.    

Khartoum (Dean’s Kitten – Paradise Royale, Bhaktawar Stud) caused no anxious moments to his master or to those who backed him merrily. He was right up in front as Lady Be Good set th pace for the mile trip. Jockey NS Parmar ensured that Khartoum surged smoothly ahead soon on turning for home and then got him going in the dash for home. Within a couple of strides Khatoum had drawn away from his rivals. He encountered no challenge at any stage and romped home to win handsomely providing his master Pesi Shroff a big moment of his career – the glorious 1000th win as trainer.

Gold Bond (Dean’s Kitten – Sharatila, Bhaktawar Stud) ended his campaign with a good report card scoring twice and a second from three starts this season. He followed up his last start victory with another successful show.

Settling in third behind Silver Edge and Shangri La until the turn, Gold Bond, with Zervan in the saddle, sailed smoothly ahead soon on turning for home. He then gathered momentum and drew away from the early leaders to shape well inside the final furlong. Counsellor had too much to cover in the straight but he did beat the rest to finish just over a length behind gold Bond.

Run Forest Run (Excellent Art – Nora, Poonawalla Stud) made t count on his third attempt to bring about his maiden victory after finishing runner-up twice. It was Enchanted who went for the lead galloping freely out in front. Run Forest Run started to chase down Enchanted in the homestretch. He had to cover some ground and he started closing in in the final furlong to catch up and surge past Enchanted a few strides from the winning post. He moved better at the business end to run away from Enchanted galloping away with a much needed maiden win.

Star Anise (Phoenix Tower – C’est La Vie, Manjri Stud) found her best form on the day to fight out fiercely to thwart a game challenge by Optimum the latter coming up threateningly close but failed to collar the winner.

Golden Tower had a useful lead coming into the straight, but failed to sustain. Star Anaise moved in from the rails and had barely gone ahead when Optimum started to challenge. This pair fought out the last few strides and Star Anise, with apprentice G Amit in the saddle, galloped relentlessly to bag the race in a close finish.

Wind Craft (Aragorn – Tight Circle, Manjri Stud) got the race in the stewards’ room after Fine Tune won it narrowly on the turf. However, in the final furlong, Fine Tune drifted outwards and bumped into Wind Craft more than once and these two hit the wire almost together. The photo verdict went in favour of Fine Tune. An objection was duly lodged by Ayyar, jockey of Wild Craft against Zeeshan the rider of Fine Tune for bumping him and taking him out in the last 200 meters. It was clear that the offence was committed and the stewards upheld the objection awarding the race to Wind Craft and relegating Fine Tune to second.

The last race of the day was a real thriller with Star Ace coming in from way behind to shock Master Sergeant literally on the nod. Eternal Dancer looked good coming into the straight with a handy lead. Master Sergeant was warming up and soon caught up with Eternal Dancer and collared him. Just when it looked like Master Sergeant would pull it off, Star Ace arrived with a blinding run from the very wide outside and just managed to pip Master Sergeant on the post.