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Turning Point scrapes home in the main event

By: Frankel   February 23 , 2018

Shiraz Sunderji trained Turning Point just about managed to nose out front-running Pugnacious in the final stride of the race to win the 1600 metres Ponta Delgado Plate, a race for horses rated 60 to 86, the feature event of Friday`s Mumbai races. The duo fought all the way in the straight before Turning Point clinched the issue in an absorbing finish.

Smaller the field, the greater is the uncertainty goes the adage in racing. There were just five runners in the fray with Turning Point being the overwhelming favourite ahead of Pugnacious and Uncle Scrooge. After Remember Me set the pace and weakened at the top of the straight, Pugnacious surged ahead. Turning Point went in hot pursuit of the front-runner and it took the entire homestretch for the favourite to get the nod in the bobbing of heads. Uncle Scrooge who was sluggish at the start, tried hard to catch up with the front-runners but failed to produce the spark of his last effort and finished a tame third.

Shazaan Shah trained Steppenwolf had run a forward race in his previous effort and that run was good enough for the opposition he was taking on the 1200 metres A F S Talyarkhan Trophy, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Trevor had Steppenwolf lead from the start and the favourite had enough legs to reach the safety of the winning post without coming under threat from any of the opponents. Shivalik Queen held on to the second position resolutely and thwarted the bid of the well-backed Non-Plus Ultra to grab that slot.

Trainer Imtiaz Sait had a quick double through Tar Heel and Relentless Pursuit. Astral Flare was the betting rage in the 1600 metres Blurr Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. Astral Flare came into strong contention in the final furlong but could not sustain the onslaught of Tar Steel who battled on resolutely and surged ahead in the final moments of the race. Dusky Siren also showed strong intent and was in with a chance but in the end weekend and lost the runner-up berth by a nose.

Mansoor Shah trained Centaurus was backed with conviction to record an encore in the 1400 metres Brave Hunter Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Centaurus was brought into contention with a well-timed run from behind by apprentice jockey Zeeshan. The favourite bounced clear in the final 100 metres to record an easy win. Pacific Dunes ran on well to snatch the runner-up berth from long-time leader She`s A Tiger. Imtiaz Sait`s other ward Relentless Pursuit lived up to the name with a powerful effort down the final furlong to snatch the race with a measure of comfort. Dibaba was full of running when occupying the second slot ahead of Rapid Girl. The fancied Vengeance Is Mine who was making his bid along the rails was baulked for a clear run by the inward drift of Arabian Storm who finished fourth. The positions were reversed in the Stewards room following a successful objection from Neeraj Rawal who rode Vengeance Is Mine against Zeeshan who was astride Arabian Storm.

Pesi Shroff-trained Checkmate had recorded a hard-fought win over the five-furlong trip and the extended trip of Amateur Riders` Club Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46, was expected to suit him better. Though Checkmate did not initial speed and had several lengths to cover up on the front-runners, he produced a strong gallop in the final furlong to get past the front-running Pokerface to land the spoils. Tenerife was also in the hunt and finished a neck behind Pokerface in the third position. Checkmate should repeat.

Wind Craft who hadn`t found the winning post for 456 days had changed hands and was now under the care of trainer S N Joshi. Wind Craft showed the spark of old when winning the 1000 metres Noble Opinion Plate, a race for horses in the lowest class, with an aggressive start to finish effort. Sparkling Thea found the winner too good for comfort and failed in her bid to catch up with the front-runner. Eternal Dancer managed to save place money at the expense of Outstanding and Wizard of Odds in a tight finish.

Turning Point (C S Jodha up) winner of the Ponta Delgado Plate

Steppenwolf (Trevor Patel up) winner of the A F S Talyarkhan Trophy

Tar Heel (C S Jodha up) winner of the Blurr Plate

Relentless Pursuit (C S Jodha up) winner of the Brave Hunter Plate (Div-II)

Checkmate (A Sandesh up) winner of the Amateur Riders Club Trophy

Wind Craft (K Nazil up) winner of the Noble Opinion Plate

Centaurus (H Zeeshan up) winner of the Brave Hunter Plate (Div-I)

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