Shiraz Sunderji trained Headway justified the favouritism with an emphatic win in the 1200 metres Panchshil Million, a race for horses rated 40 to 66, the feature event of Sunday`s Pune races. Headway who had recorded a run-of-the-mill win last time out showed vast improvement when easily tackling the opposition inside the final furlong. Winner-picking was a tricky proposition.
Headway enjoyed overwhelming support as none in the field looked like potential dangers. Stablemate of Headway, Dandi March was second in demand while Anatevka who was running after 221 days being the third favourite albeit at big odds. Zervan pushed Anatevka to the lead from the start and the well-bred filly held sway till turning for home. Dandi March then stormed ahead but failed to sustain the effort as stablemate Headway pounced on him with a powerful effort. Headway went away from the rest to win comfortably from late rallying Lorraine who came literally from the last position with a zestful run to be an impressive second indicating her readiness to strike before long. Lesrel ran on to take the third position ahead of Run Forest Run. Anatevka disappeared from the sight in the straight.
Narendra Lagad trained Power of Thor recorded an encore in the 1800 metres Neona Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category which is the forte of the trainer. Backed strongly to repeat the success, Power of Thor came into contention with a furlong left in the race and waged a stiff battle for supremacy with Gold Magic who had assumed command in the stretch and then got strong closer home to win by a shade less than a length. Hi Ho Silver who was prominent till overhauled by Gold Magic managed to keep the third position from late rallying Beyond Time by a whisker.
Two of the horses which were in contention for the 1400 metres Dr K Vasudevan Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to46, namely Sassy Lass and Arabian Storm hadn`t won for over a year and it meant that they had come down in the scales. Of the two, Sassy Lass was a better prospect except for the flaw of often being sluggish at the start. Both these horses had the benefit of a race run. Arabian Strom was brisk from the start with Sassy Lass too getting a good start and raced in a handy second position behind the leader. Arabian Storm held the lead deep into the straight, but it was clear that Arabian Storm would be overwhelmed any time in the final furlong. Sassy Lass asserted her supremacy in the shadow of the post and won by a comfortable margin. Arabian Storm held off a host of hoses including favourite Auroden to retain the runner-up berth.
Lesser fancied Daddy`s Pride from the stables of trainer Subhag Singh nailed last start winner My Precious close home to win the 1600 metres Golden Edition Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. The market favoured Mishka`s Pride and Gold Medallist to fight it out but both these horses were not in the hunt. Apprentice jockey A Prakash slipped long shot My Precious into the lead on turning for home, taking over the running from the runaway leader Thea`s Fire. The progeny of Excellent Art had the lead till the final stages of the race. A strong effort by jockey T S Jodha and an equally good response from the three-year-old ensured that Daddy`s Pride got the better of the front-runner in the shadow of the post. Gold Medallist ran on to finish a tame third.
The first favourite to oblige and give some relief to chasers of these horses came in the fourth race of the day, the lower division of the 1200 metres Mohammed Rasheed Beg and Rahat Beg Trophy, a race for maiden three-year-olds when the heavily backed Majestic Warrior had it easy. The Lagad trainee Majestic Warrior who had the benefit of a good outing took over the running from the front-running Cipher at the top of the straight and bounced clear to win comfortably from debutant Rainbow Trout who came up with a late eye-catching effort to be a suggestive second ahead of Cipher. J Chinoy who came in for the injured Dashrath Singh made good the chance ride.
Pesi Shroff struck through long shot Elusive Star in the 1200 metres Mohammed Rasheed Beg & Rahat Beg Trophy (Div I), a race for maiden three-year-olds. Nazak Chenoy trained Dreams was backed to the exclusion of the rest and the favourite raced in earnest behind pace-setter Seniority. Even as the favourite was fighting it out with the pacesetter, Elusive Star moved from way off the pace on the wide outside to overhaul all those battling out and won with a great deal of ease. However, the got-abroad appeared to have pulled up in distress. Noble Heir finished with a big effort to be a noteworthy second ahead of Dreams who just about managed to get the third slot from the long-time leader.
Lagad trained Navigator broke the maiden`s status in his 16th run by swamping the opposition in the 1400 metres War Command Plate, a race for horses rated 4 to 30 which is the monopoly of this trainer during the Pune season. Navigator showed a lot of speed as he bounced into a healthy lead right from the start and skipped clear of the only one in pursuit Dragonmoss to record a comprehensive win by over nine lengths. Dazzling Eyes was third. Sandesh rode the winner.
Power Of Thor (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Neona Plate
Sassy Lass (A S Peter up) winner of the Dr K Vasudevan Trophy
Daddy`s Pride (T S Jodha up) winner of the Golden Edition Plate
Majestic Warrior (J Chinoy up) winner of the Mohammed Rasheed Beg & Rahat Beg Trophy (Div-II)
Headway (C S Jodha up) winner of the Panchshil Million
Elusive Star (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Mohammed Rasheed Beg & Rahat Beg Trophy (Div-I)
Navigator (A Sandesh up) winner of the War Command Plate