It was difficult to make out the intentions of the connections who were more intent on throwing confusion by entering two formidable horses and perhaps backing the wrong `un. So, it proved when Bronx was preferred to win the 1600 metres Alaindair Trophy, a race for horses rated 80 and above, the feature event of Sunday`s Pune races ahead of the extremely well performed Kingsman. In the event, Auburn who was totally ignored in the betting ring pulled a fast one for those trying to cash in on the confusion.
Trevor Patel used to be the most reliable jockey till recently but now it is hard to predict the way he rides. He was astride Kingsman who had recorded a hat-trick of wins where owner mate Bronx was the favourite. Perhaps to make things easy for Bronx, Kingsman decided to be lethargic at the start for the first time in his career and thus ruled himself out of contention. Auburn who had the benefit of a good forward run at Bangalore but subsequently performed poorly was not at all in the betting consideration of the majority of punters who either went for Bronx or Turning Point. Auburn who led from the start battled on resolutely and held off the challenge of Bronx with a degree of comfort in the hands of jockey Zervan who has been riding with great aplomb. Kingsman covered some ground from a long way back to snatch the third place ahead of Grand Accord while Turning Point ran poorly. The performance of Kingsman was intriguing, to say the least.
Dallas Todywalla trained Western Front showed vast improvement when trouncing the opposition in the 1800 metres Juventus Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Hanlon`s Grace set a decent pace followed by Gdansk and Western Front while favourite Benevolence was a few lengths adrift of these runners. Western Front made brisk progress in the straight and by the final furlong had gone away from the others to record a handsome win. Gdansk kept the second position while Benevolence made very little progress in the stretch and was a disappointing third.
Shiraz Sunderji trained Between The Waters pulled off a thrilling win over Dazzling Star in the 1000 metres Field Marshal Sam Maneckshaw Memorial Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Last start winner Impala went at a furious pace in front with stablemate Wild Fire also cutting pace. However, Impala shook off Wild Fire in the stretch and went storming ahead and shaped to win but closer home began to falter. Dazzling Star overhauled the front-runner closer homer but was beaten in the closing stride of the race by Between The Waters who produced a big effort in the final furlong. Favourite Namaqua was poorly handled by apprentice Pranil and the three-year-old all his chances but cutting an erratic course and going wide in the stretch.
Altaf Hussain trained Sultan of Suleiman was extremely well prepared with extensive workouts and the benefit of a mock race to make a winning debut in the 1400 metres Southern Command Trophy, a race for maiden three-year-olds. The favourite did not disappoint. Sultan of Suleiman came up with a powerful effort in the final furlong to sail past the long-time leader Memorable Eyes to win as expected. Revelator was third.
Altaf Hussain trained Silver Flames was extended to the hilt by jockey Sandesh to get the better of front-running Majestic Warrior in the 100 metres Acclaimed Plate, a race for three-year-olds. Silver Flames was backed to the exclusion of the rest to make amends for the last start failure. Majestic Warrior led aggressively in front with Silver Flames in proximity followed by the other fancied runner Properly Posh. Inside the final furlong, all these three runners were almost in a line. Closer home, Majestic Warrior and Silver Flames pulled away from Properly Push. Silver Flames put his neck in front to clinch the issue.
A M Jadhav trained Cezanne showed a reversal of form when the eight-year-old slammed the field in the 1000 metres Col Kaikkhushroo Maneckji Bharucha Memorial Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Last start winner Skysurfer was enthusiastically backed to record an encore but the favourite after bringing the field into the stretch faded out under pressure. Cezanne who was in chase of the favourite shot ahead in the final furlong and went away for a comfortable win by a margin of over three lengths. Lord Commander ran on to take the second position ahead of Gloriana who nosed out Malavika to save place money.
Godsword held on to win the 1000 metres Glasnost Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. Trainer Narendra Lagad rules the roost in this category with a surfeit of horses. It is often difficult to predict which one will be the correct one to go for. In this instance, Godsword who had Trevor in the saddle was backed more than the others. Godsword raced in earnest and held on gamely from Ame who finished with a strong effort only to find the front-runner escape to victory. Maestro too showed aggression but could only finish a close third in the hands of raw apprentice Niranjan Parmar.
Western Front (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Juventus Plate
Auburn (S Zervan up) winner of the Alaindair Trophy
Between The Waters (C S Jodha up) winner of the Field Marshal Sam Maneckshaw Memorial Trophy
Sultan Suleiman (A Sandesh up) winner of the Southern Command Gold Trophy
Silver Flames (A Sandesh up) winner of the Acclaimed Plate
Cezanne (Akshay up) winner of the Col. Kaikhushroo Maneckji Bharucha Memorial Trophy
Godsword (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Glasnost Plate