M K Jadhav trained Bushtops who appears to be a late bloomer seems to have made phenomenal improvement as the got-abroad four-year-old gelding once again swamped favourite Adjudicate to record a smashing win in the Gr 3 2400 metres Idar Gold Trophy, a terms race for four-year-olds and over, the feature event of Saturday`s Pune races. This was the third straight win for the son of Archipenko during the season.
Adjudicate was expected to make amends for her last defeat in the hands of Bushtops as the scales were slightly better this time though the champion filly still was set to concede a formidable 6.5 kgs to the well-bred horse who was improving with every run. In the three-horse field, Vulcan set a slow pace and enjoyed a break of six lengths over Adjudicate with Bushtops bringing up the rear. Approaching the final bend, Sandesh made his move on Adjudicate and the progeny of Multidimensional measured the front-runner but could not keep the lead for long. The moment N S Parmar released the grip on Bushtops and got aggressive, the second favourite pounced on the front-runner and shot ahead without facing much resistance from Adjudicate who surrendered meekly. Bushtops went on to win by three lengths and has now emerged as a strong contender for the Indian St Leger. Adjudicate is still to win a race at Pune.
With the benefit of a race run, Findlerhof trounced the opposition in the 1400 metres Spark of Gold Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Findlerhof was always rated highly but was campaigned in classics where she found herself out of depth. After being brought back to handicap, she had the benefit of a race run and looked set to resume her winning ways. Trevor Patel who is not enjoying a great season, kept favourite Findlerhof settled in the penultimate position with only Adonijah behind her. Ustad Pedro did all the front running. Trevor brought Findlerhof into contention with a ground-saving effort. Inside the final 350 metres, Findlerhof collared the front runner and went storming ahead to win by a widening margin of eight lengths. Adonijah ran on from the last position to edge out the long-time leader Ustad Pedro to clinch the runner-up berth.
It was a quick back to back double for trainer Imtiaz Sait as Truly Epic too bounced back to winning form by staving off the determined bid of Arrowfield in the closing strides of the race to land the spoils at nourishing odds in the 2000 metres Yana Plate, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Tasawwur who had been withdrawn at the gates last time out was made the firm favourite even though the four-year-old gelding was going into the race without the benefit of a race run and was racing after a longish break of 275 days. Sandesh took the heavily supported Adhiraj Jodha trainee Tasawwur to the front within the first furlong with Arrowfield not far from the front-runner while Imran Khan on Truly Epic preferred to play a waiting game. Inside the final two furlongs, Tasawwur came under pressure from Arrowfield who shot ahead with a furlong left in the race. Truly Epic produced a strong effort to measure the front-runner in the shadow of the post while Tasawwur weakened to finish third but not far from the winner. The lack of a run benefit surely affected the fortunes of Tasawwur.
With the surface form of those who had the benefit of a race run not being impressive, punters perhaps went by the market hype of debutant Pezula who had been given considerable workouts making a winning debut in the 1000 metres B K Lagad Trophy (Div II), a race for maiden three-year-olds. Lesser fancied Sachertorte from the stables of trainer Malesh Narredu was taken on a start to finish mission by jockey Yash Narredu and the front-runner gamely lasted out to land the spoils. The tussle was restricted to the runner-up berth with En Sabah Nur and Cest L`Amour engaging themselves in a stiff battle with the former just about managing to snatch the second position. Pezula who was sluggish at the start stuck to the tail end and made very little progress in the race.
The trainer-jockey combination of Jadhav and Parmar had a back to back double through Jetfire in the 1200 metres Azzurro Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Night Hunt who was running in seven days was made the favourite ahead of Jetfire who had better credentials but had the habit of finding one better on most occasions. Last start winner Julio Cesaro led deep into the stretch before Jetfire made rapid strides along the rails and shot ahead inside the final 100 metres and won with a great deal of ease. Julio Cesaro held off the challenge of late-rallying Aurora Australis and the disappointing favourite Night Hunt to keep the runner-up berth.
Nirad Karanjawalla trained Sandman was the only horse to have some credentials and the three-year-old was backed to the exclusion of the rest in the 1000 metres B K Lagad Trophy (Div I), a race for maiden three-year-olds. Jockey Imran Khan who had a double for the day had Sandman track Gods Decree till the final furlong before storming ahead to record an emphatic win. Princess Avika was a faraway third.
Adhiraj Jodha trained Dazzle N Daze who was a noteworthy second to Power of Thor went one better when claiming the 1600 metres Spearhead Plate, a race for horses rated 40 to 30 with a measure of comfort. Vitesse went on a runaway mission but shot her bolt after turning for home. Dazzle N Daze who had steadily moved into a striking position took over the running from the pace-setter with two furlongs left in the race and stretched away to establish a winning lead. The jockey of She`s A Tiger, Amit, waited too long before going all out and this went against the fancied runner as the ground conceded was too much to cover. Zeemo ran on to finish third.