Deepesh Narredu trained Kingsman who had recorded two back-to-back wins at Mumbai, continued the winning form despite the long break of 127 days and easily got the better of favourite Valegro to win the 1400 metres J E Hughes Trophy, a race for horses rated 60 to 86, the feature event of Saturday`s Pune races. A poor card six events were gone through in muggy conditions and punters didn`t get it right in almost all the races.
Valegro who had won his last outing at Hyderabad in March was made the firm favourite with Truly Epic being next in demand while Kingsman, the prolific performer was available at nourishing odds. Jockey Akshay Kumar took Valegro on a start to finish mission with Truly Epic in the chase while Kingsman was relaxed behind these two market fancies. Rounding the final turn, Valegro maintained the momentum and shook off Truly Epic who fell behind. But Valegro could not breathe easy as Kingsman who was inclined to take the final turn very wide was corrected by jockey Yash Narredu and he was able to bring the progeny of Phoenix Fire into strong contention. Kingsman produced a strong gallop in the final furlong to go sailing clear. Zenon who graced the wrong end of the field came from a long way back to snatch the third place from Truly Epic.
Shiraz Sunderji trained Headway was quoted at cramped odds to win the 1200 metres Goodness Gracious Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Headway no doubt had credentials having beaten the winner of the Gr 1 Poonawalla Multi-Million Missing You but the three-year-old was running in the open class for the first time and there was always a danger lurking. Luckily for the punters, Headway managed to stave off the strong challenge of Jetfire to land the spoils. Inside the final furlong, Jetfire shot ahead with Headway beginning to make his run. The favourite managed to pick up speed and overhauled the front-runner in the final moments of the race. Jetfire once again suffered from the inadequacies which have seen the four-year-old find one better with irritating consistency as far as the connections are concerned. Wilshire edged out Quail Hallow to get the third position.
Altamash Ahmed trained Prince Annabel has always defied expectations. After each run in her career, she has been withdrawn from the fray on the next occasion. The same was the case when she summered at Bangalore. Princess Annabel was withdrawn at the gates at Bangalore as she was trotting lame. After that, she had the benefit of a race run in the Fillies Championship Stakes. Pesi Shroff trained Mzilikazi, on the strength tch of the impressive win achieved at Bangalore, was the favourite to win with Divine Glory also enjoying good support. After Cliffs of Capri led well into the straight, Mzilikazi raised hopes of a win when he easily tackled the front-runner and surged ahead despite a scare from the front-runner who shifted out under pressure and almost went on to the favourite. However, Akshay Kumar was alert to the task and had the favourite take over the running. The favourite could not sustain his foray in front as Princess Annabel came up with a big burst of speed which saw Mzilikazi surrender tamely. Princess Annabel like her first career success won again at long odds. Divine Glory was warming up to the task after the cause had been lost and finished a tame third.
The good forward run that Adele had stood her in good stead in the1000 metres Strategic Move Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. In a tight finish, Bangalore based jockey Prashanth Dhebe was able to eke out a narrow win on the fancied runner. There was a cluster finish with Adele just about managing to edge out Xoxo to get the top berth. Brave saved place money by a whisker over Royston Rock. Malavika who enjoyed more support than the rest on the basis of the forward she had, was never in the hunt as she lacked the speed to keep pace and fell behind well and lost all hopes.
Dallas Todywalla trained Highland Lass swamped the opposition in the 1200 metre A J Wadia Plate (Div I), a race for horses in the lowest category. Auspicious who was making his debut as a four-year-old was backed with conviction to make a winning debut. However, the favourite had no hope as Highland Lass who took over the running within the first furlong skipped away in the stretch to win as she pleased from Auspicious by a widening margin of five lengths. Navigator ran on to take the third position. The victory of Highland Lass in the last race was in conformity with the day`s proceedings where punters struggled hard to find a winner losing precious money in the process. Red Carnation who had some credentials made a late rally as the stable`s money seemed to be on Navigator and finished fourth. Rank outsider Red Fire from the stables of trainer Dallas Todywalla snatched victory in the lower division of the race. The race had a treacherous look about it with winner-picking being a hazardous guess. Actionable who had no credentials was installed as the favourite. After Panaraea led deep into the stretch, Red Fire burst on the scene and shot ahead. Lesser fancied Lilibeth who was loitering in the rear found her way along the rails and came home with a big run only to find Velvet Fire reach the safety of the post. Panaraea managed to keep the third position from Sixth Emperor by a short neck.
Adele (Prashant P Dhebe up) winner of the Strategic Move Plate
Red Fire (P Vinod up) winner of the A J Wadia Plate (Div-II)
Kingsman (Yash Narredu up) winner of the J E Hughes Trophy
Headway (C S Jodha up) winner of the Goodness Gracious Plate
Princess Annabel (Bhawani Singh up) winner of the August Handicap
Highland Lass (A Sandesh up) winner of the A J Wadia Plate (Div-I)