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Excellent Gold makes it four for four

By: Frankel   December 31 , 2017

Narendra Lagad trained Excellent Gold extended his winning streak to four when he held off the challenge of favourite Summer Rays to win the 1200 metres P D Bolton Trophy, a race for horses rated 60 to 86, the feature event of a lacklustre card of seven events that were gone through on Sunday. The punters had a reasonable day with horses in serious betting proving their credentials.

Trainer Lagad`s horses rarely win in this sequence. The stable believes in winning a couple of races and then waiting for an eternity to let go of them again. However, Excellent Gold has proved to be an exception. Excellent Gold who recorded back to back wins at Pune had won his last outing impressively for him to be considered as a serious challenger. However, the thrust of betting was on Summer Rays to record an encore and hence went to the post as a strong favourite while her principal adversary was quoted at good odds. Deep Diver led the field into the straight before Summer Rays surged ahead. Excellent Gold joined issue and the duo fought the whole of the final furlong with the latter putting his head at the all-important end. Queen Credible who was sluggish at the gates as is her wont, found her rhythm in the straight and closed in with a rush to finish a good third. But since Queen Credible has this habit of losing ground at the start, she can strike on a day when things work out better, or she runs into meek and submissive opposition. Deep Diver who expended his energy running freely in front, ended up last.

Veteran trainer M K Jadhav has hit such a bad patch that even if his horses command impressive credentials, they cannot be relied upon to run to expectations. Mekong Delta had moved up in scales with a solitary win. She had finished a close third in last Mumbai season`s1000 Guineas and had moved up because of that effort and her subsequent runs where she had figured on the board. Since she had a very weak opposition which looked submissive to tackle, she was quoted at prohibitive odds. In the event, disappointment was once again in store for the supporters of Mekong Delta. The horse has always been ridden off the pace and such a tactic also imposes certain limitations because if the pace of the race is slow, the front-runner will be hard to catch as horses of this nature would have conceded enough ground to those in the front end. Apprentice jockey Amit took Adhiraj Jodha trained Square Moon to the front and the progeny of Sedgefield travelled comfortably in front as the lead was not contested by the other runners in the fray. Square Moon had a good break going into the final furlong which held him in good stead as Eternal Sunshine finished with a rush only to find the front-runner escape to victory. Mekong Delta failed to make any headway and was a poor third. Trevor hasn`t been finding winners with the regularity of the last Mumbai season.

Cooji Katrak trained In The Stars who had failed over a seven-furlong trip last time was this time being campaigned over a more suitable trip of six furlongs and as such, the short price quoted on her success despite the presence of Roosevelt in the 1200 metres Pradeep Vijayakar Trophy, a race for horses rated20 to 46 was understandable. Roosevelt was expected to pose a stiff hurdle. Predictably, both the market fancies got down to fight in the final furlong but In The Stars proved decisively better in the closing stages of the race and recorded a comfortable win. Fabio who set the early pace finished third. Narendra Lagad trained Magic Dust had all the credentials to win the lower division of the race but the three-year-old was at a prohibitive price for a stable which believes in delivering the goods at nourishing odds. Also, horses running in this category certainly don`t deserve to be backed when they are offered at poor odds. The other additional input that the punter has to take is also the strike rate of the stable for horses with this kind of odds. In the event, jockey Dashrath Singh failed to position his horse well, travelled wide into the straight and apart from the horse, he also did not distinguish himself. Walk On By who came in for spirited betting, travelled in striking position all the way before assuming command in the straight to provide jockey Zervan, finding his feet after a severe injury, another success. Mighty Warrior showed out when finishing second best ahead of Fribourg. Magic Dust was a struggling fourth.

Smasher (Neeraj Rawal up), winner of Set Alight Plate being led in by Dara Mehta, Mehernoosh Deboo and Vijay Shirke at Mumbai on Sunday.

Pesi Shroff-trained Smasher was the firm favourite to win the 2400 metres Set Alight Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. The well-bred Smasher had to tackle a lacklustre opposition with intent also being absent. After Swiftness expended her energy leading the field into the straight running too freely for comfort, Smasher assumed command and sped away for an easy win. Komandant ran on to take the second position ahead of Jager Bomb.

Fortitude appeared to be a dummy favourite to win the 2000 metres Clinton Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. Apart from being well-bred, the three-year-old filly also hailed from Pesi Shroff`s stable which was the reason why she was the favourite without having done anything significant in her three runs. Silver Edge who travelled a handy third into the straight easily gained ascendancy in the run in for home and was hailed a winner a long way from home. Star Ace held off late rallying Silver Moon and Care Free to get the runner-up position. Fortitude was not seen at the busy end.

The 1400 metres Maseeha Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category, looked like a minefield with none of the runners having any strong credentials. The open type of betting saw Hunayn being made the favourite but the four-year-old gelding was lost in the crowd. Galatero shaped to win but was surprised by the late surge of the well-backed Tomahawk who managed to get the verdict in his favour in a tight finish. For the record, Hunayn was not spotted at the busy end.

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