Adhiraj Jodha trained Vulcan had it easy against horses that were ill-equipped in the 2400 metres Mysore Race Club Trophy, a race for horses rated 80 and above, the feature event of Saturday`s Pune races held in yielding underfoot conditions. It had rained heavily overnight and though there was sunshine during the day, the track had taken considerable soaking and this made things difficult for horses to come way off the pace. The relief though was that fancied runners dominated the proceedings.
The only horse which could have been a threat to Vulcan was top-weighted Raees who was running after the Stayers Cup effort in March. That effectively ruled out the well-performed horse having a big say without the benefit of a race run. Vulcan was the fittest of the lot. Jockey Neeraj Rawal took the favourite on a start to finish mission. Vulcan stayed put there and had no problem in checking well clear of the stablemate Square Moon who held off Frivolous for the second position. For a horse like Frivolous who likes to come into contention from way off the pace, the conditions did not give a ghost of a chance. Raees finished a dismal last.
Vishal Gaikwad trained Lesrel who had the benefit of a good forward run was backed to the exclusion of the rest in the 1200 metres Yogender Singh Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. The speedy Lesrel did the front-running and came back all alone by a widening margin of seven lengths in the hands of jockey Sandesh. Lord Commander was second ahead of Sharareh who had a good lung opener when finishing third. Fancied Dandi March had the disadvantage of the wide outside draw but the three-year-old did not show any spark when finishing fourth and as such, the draw did not make a material difference. Juno`s Quest was withdrawn from the fray on veterinary grounds in the morning itself which made the task easy for the favourite.
The only upset of the day came in the 1400 metres Czar Alexander Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46 where Dallas Todywalla trained Philadelphia swamped the opposition, storming clear in the stretch from a forward position. Hells Bells went in the chase but found the eventual winner too good for comfort. Flying Dragon finished third and returned good dividends for those who put their faith in the seven-year-old to be in the hunt for the spoils.
Pesi Shroff trained Nekhbet overcame adverse conditions and recorded an impressive win in the 1400 metres Eloise Plate, a race for three-year-old maidens. Nekhbet could not take a forward position early on due to the crowding on the inside and jockey Akshay Kumar had to bring the fancied runner into contention on the widest in the stretch. The progeny of Kingda Ka responded well and stormed ahead inside the final 100 metres to win with a measure of comfort. Athulya was second ahead of Cellini who was distinctly unlucky. The horse was playing up when the start was given and he jumped outwards and lost considerable ground. He made good the ground in the stretch but again closer home had to endure a bumpy passage and ended up being third. He should get his turn before long.
Adhiraj Jodha trained Moriseiki was an easy winner of the 2000 metres Flaming Ace Plate, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Moriseiki was backed down spiritedly close to race time to end up as a favourite ahead of Elation and Ithaca whose price drifted out alarmingly in the betting ring. From a forward position, Imran Khan pushed Moriseiki to take over the running at the top of the straight. The progeny of Sedgefield bounced clear to win easily from Elation. Ithaca did not raise a fluent gallop at any stage of the race and was a beaten cause though he did eventually finish a faraway third.
Pune champion trainer Narendra Lagad had five runners in the 1000 metres Nationalistic Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. The punters got a clue when Brave was backed to the exclusion of the rest and those who went by the trend stood to gain as Brave led all the way in the hands of apprentice jockey Kaviraj and won with a great deal of ease. Grand Architect was second more than five lengths adrift in the second position with Maestro finishing third. Jockey Imran Khan on the runner-up put what appeared a frivolous objection against Kaviraj and the same was quickly overruled by the Stewards. Perhaps trainer Lagad who represented his jockey was too aggressive in his arguments.
Moriseiki (A Imran Khan up) winner of the Flaming Ace Plate
Vulcan (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Mysore Race Club Trophy
Nekhbet (Akshay Kumar up) winner of the Eloise Plate
Philadelphia (P Vinod up) winner of the Czar Alexander Plate
Lesrel (A Sandesh up) winner of the Yogender Singh Trophy
Brave (P S Kaviraj up) winner of the Nationalistic Plate