Imtiaz Sait trained Iron Age maintained his winning form with an aggressive start to finish tactic in the Gr 3 Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy, a terms race for four-year-olds and over, the feature event of Saturday`s Pune races. The race had an open look about it, and this was reflected by the odds in the bookmakers` ring and Iron Age who had recorded a comprehensive win last time out maintained his zest to stave off the challenge of a host of horses.
Trevor Patel took the speedy Iron Age on a start to finish bid and the progeny of Strong Suit stayed put there undeterred by the challenge by the others. Iron Age held the initiative throughout the race to win by a shade over a length. Lady Legend who chased the fancied runner well into the straight packed up under pressure to go out of the reckoning by the final furlong. Star Baron made his bid but a host of horses which finished with a rush were the ones who snatched the minor positions. St Andrews was second ahead of Gazino while Star Baron managed to finish in the frame to claim the fourth position. Excellent Gold who trailed at the final bend made a good rally to come within reach of finishing on the frame but missed it only by a whisker.
Pesi Shroff trained Seventh Mile who was either given a dubious ride last time out by jockey Trevor Patel or raced when she was far from ready, the filly made amends in the 1600 metres Jaidev Plate, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Jockey Zervan had Seventh Mile lead from the start though midway through Thea`s Fire led briefly before the former snatched the lead again. Seventh Mile came into the straight a few lengths adrift of the rest and stretched away for a comfortable win. Bait And Switch who was kept too far behind by jockey C S Jodha galloped in snatches and made no impression with Ithaca beating the favourite to the third position by a comfortable margin. The run of Bait And Switch was way below par and it is hard to fathom how the horse which had gone down by a whisker could perform like that. This was a race where one horse made amends for a questionable run while the other performed so poorly as to merit questioning!
Once rated as a formidable classic contender, Zenon had been a castaway from the stables of Pesi Shroff and had been sheltered with Narendra Lagad. The last run of Zenon was encouraging enough to warrant support but there was one-sided support for last-start winner August Caesar with Mozart who had finished about 20 lengths behinds in his last effort being second in demand. Zenon was available to big odds. Jockey Neeraj Rawal had August Caesar in a handy second position behind Flower Dust. Mozart was in proximity. Rounding the final turn, Augustus Caesar was pushed to take over the running and he shook of Mozart but began to falter in the final 100 metres. Zenon weaved his way from the back in the stretch and finished with a big effort to overhaul the front-runner in the closing stages of the race with a fair degree of comfort. Safdar ran on to save place money ahead of Mozart who showed slight improvement after having finished more than 20 lengths behind the winner on the last occasion.
Adhiraj Jodha trained Golden Era came in for big support in the 1000 metres Step By Step Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46 and justifiably so. Sandesh had Golden Era in a handy second position as Galloping Star did the pacesetting. Golden Era easily overtook the front-runner in the stretch and went away for an easy win. Splash ran on to finish second ahead of See The Sunrise who warmed up to the task late.
Apprentice jockey Vinod guided the long-priced Westeros for an easy win in the 1200 metres Lago Medio Plate (Div II), a race for horses in the lowest category. Westeros hit the front from the word `go` and was not troubled by any of the runners when passing the winning post comfortably ahead of the rest. Outstanding held off Shapath to get the runner-up berth. There was support for Felix Felicis, but the favourite made no show.
Shiraz Sunderji trained Stick to the Plan just about held on to win from late rallying Suarez to win the 1200 metres Lago Media Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated up to 25. Stick To The Plan did not get a good start from the inside draw but jockey C S Jodha was alert to the task and quickly improved position to be in a striking position by the final bend. After a brief duel with American Odyssey, Stick To The Plan went ahead. Suarez covered acres of ground in the final furlong but missed overhauling the favourite narrowly. American Odyssey stayed on to take the third position.
Golden Era (A Sandesh up) winner of the Step By Step Plate
Westeros (P Vinod up) winner of the Lago Medio Plate (Div-II)
Seventh Mile (S Zervan up) winner of the Jaidev Plate
Zenon (A Sandesh up) winner of the Portrush Plate
Iron Age (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy (Gr.3)
Stick To The Plan (C S Jodha up) winner of the Lago Medio Plate (Div-I)