There is a ‘horses-for-courses` theory which is widely believed in the world of horse-racing though only in case of a few particular horses. The Pesi Shroff trained filly Coccinella (Alnasr Alwasheek – Palazzio) falls into this category. The Mehernosh Deboo owned four-year-old filly, bred at the Poonawalla Stud Farms, made a winning comeback to the Mahalaxmi race-track. The filly recorded her first career win in December last year and then reeled off another three victories, her last one being in Class II in April. In Pune she ran two races but could only place. Back to her favourite hunting ground, Coccinella was campaigned over six-furlongs for the Beautiful Stranger Trophy on Thursday.
Although there was not much of an opposition in sight, Step Up got flattering support in the betting ring with his odds very close to those quoted against Coccinella. But Coccinella brushed aside the uncertainty surrounding her chances in this race and gave a thrashing to her rivals. Step Up went to the front and was followed by Coccinella while Eastern Summit, Incognito and Titian followed them. As they turned for home, Eastern Summit tried to essay her challenge and almost blocked Coccinella. But Zervan was alert to the task and he skilfully avoided the snarl. Zervan then let Coccinella loose and after a few hard pushes, she had overtaken Step Up and drew clear of her four rivals. Step Up lost pace as the winning post neared and allowed Incognito to take the runner-up position. Eastern Summit and Titian expectedly ran behind them.
| ||Coccinella (S Zervan up) winner of the Beautiful Stranger Trophy, being led in by Mr.Mehernosh H Deboo & trainer P Shroff|
Jaydev Mody had a profitable brace of winners in quick succession during the day through Malesh Narredu trained Jimbo (formerly named Borak) and Zambezi. Both winners were piloted by Daniel Grant. Daniel literally had to get Jimbo (Senure – Lannkala) to fire all cylinders as he went in pursuit of bottom-weighted Home Factor, on whom Neeraj Rawal had manoeuvred his way through the middle and snatched the lead from Incentio and also pegged back Macedonian, who too was trying to gain the upper hand. Just as Home Factor was looking good to kick on and make amends for his previous failure, Daniel had thrust Jimbo into the battlefield. After receiving some hard cracks from his jockey Jimbo inched closer and though Home Factor fought for survival in every stride, he failed to contain the eventual winner in the last couple of strides. Defining Moment dragged his rider to the wire and ended in the money ahead of Macedonian who couldn`t find the acceleration. King Julien too was sort of outpaced.
Imtiaz Sait saddled Zambezi (Steinbeck – Ammeter), who showed zest for racing only in his last appearance at Pune, obliged his supporters as he flew in the final furlong to nail the front runners, Domain Anna and Glowing Mist. Earlier Domain Anna and Bonobo showed the way to the field while Zambezi was ridden off the pace. Zambezi`s efforts picked up pace only in the straight and he devoured good ground to assert his superiority over the field. Glowing Mist ended third ahead of Twittillator and Quando Quando, who ran disappointingly after his victory in the inaugural race of the season.
Having opened his account with Zambezi, Imtiaz went on to lead the heavily backed Staying Alive (Warrshan – Starry) in the concluding race of the day. Ridden by whipless Prabhu Naidu, Staying Alive chased leader Bongani all the way home and was asked for an effort all when the field had straightened for home. Bongani proved to be a hard nut to crack initially but Naidu kept the pressure on Staying Alive and overwhelmed the leader in the final stages of the race. S. N. Chavan ridden Starry Ocean, who was lying unconcerned in the rear bunch till the turn, gained momentum only when the winner was sighted and ended a reluctant second. Favourite MasterOfTheSky ran a patchy race only to end a poor alongside Bongani. Follow Me, Smooth Operator and Gloria ended close behind and could do well with this exposure.
Hurricane Wind (Steinbeck – Santorini Star) defied the handicapper when he scored the second success of his career within a fortnight. The Dallas Todywalla trained Hurricane Wind, entrusted to A. Sandesh on this occasion, allowed Set Ablaze, who was better placed on the scales vis-à-vis their last encounter, to dictate the terms over the mile-and-quarter journey for the Vox Populi Plate. It was only when the field had entered the home stretch that Sandesh made his bid to accost Set Ablaze and Hurricane Wind responded magnificently to humble the filly once again. Favourite Divine Inspiration never improved in the straight and ended a pathetic fifth behind Tara and Jacqueline Smile in the five-horse field.
Captain Smart (Case Law – Afshaan) made full use of his early speed and the handicap advantage to earn his corn bill in the first race of the day. The Magansingh Jodha trained and C. S. Jodha ridden Captain Smart scraped through in the end before the heavily backed Zoe could dislodge him. Emerald Fortune and Stella completed the judges` frame and should not linger in the maiden ranks for long.
Jodha completed a double an hour later when he led in the last-outing winner Unknown Rebel (Case Law – Jaipur Jewel). Kavraj Singh once again steered him confidently and brought him with a flourishing run from behind to account for front-running So True and then held on gallantly to thwart the late bid of Reckless Romeo and Octopaul.