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Auburn wins with surprising ease

By: Frankel   October 6 , 2019

Vishal Gaikwad trained Auburn won the Gr 3 Threptin Fillies and Mares Stakes, a terms race for three-year-olds and over, the feature event of Sunday`s Pune races with surprising ease. The five-year-old mare who appears to have struck a purple patch this season came up with a quantum improvement when decimating the opposition.

Roberta who has been greatly hyped up with the jockey on the last occasion being blamed for the loss to Adjudicate in the Leger was once again made the favourite ahead of Auburn and Bangalore challenger Watchmyscript who incidentally had won this event last year.

Jockey Akshay Kumar took Auburn on a start to finish mission and the got-abroad mare enjoyed her foray in the front and had those chasing her including Roberta and Watchmyscript off the bridle well before the final turn. Auburn came into the straight several lengths clear and held the lead without coming under pressure and won by a widening margin of three lengths over Turning Point and La Rondine. Watchmyscript was fourth while Roberta who had the services of jockey Y S Srinath this time finished down the field. The veterinary ban on Roberta which prevented the filly from running in the Indian Derby too had been a subject matter of a wide debate.

Shiraz Sunderji trained Athulya showed good improvement to have a decisive say in the 1400 metres K Raghunath Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46 but confined to three-year-old maiden horses. Queens Gate who had given a pathetic performance in her last outing finishing last in the F D Wadia Trophy nevertheless received strong support to come up with a better show if only because the filly is from the champion`s yard and they always show remarkable improvement. There was noticeable support for Athulya to go one better. Jockey Zervan who had Queen`s Gate behaving better this time in the second position behind Principessa, pushed her into the lead on straightening for home. The lead did not stay long with the favourite who was overwhelmed by Athulya who went storming ahead in the final furlong to win by a comfortable margin of three lengths. Sir Ramon ran on to take the third position.

Things appeared favourable for the M K Jadhav trained Adonijah to break the winless sequence of 407 days and accordingly the five-year-old gelding was backed as a favourite to win the 1800 metres Chief D`Oeuvre Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. Adonijah raced in earnest and got the better of last start winner Saddle The Wind inside the final furlong and shaped to win because at this point of time the lesser fancied His Master`s Vice had several lengths to cover on the front-runner having moved swiftly from the rear position. Even as Adonijah was faltering, His Masters Vice finished with a big effort to nail the favourite in the closing stride of the race in the hands of jockey Yash Narredu. Mr Honey who was in the chase of the favourite failed to change gears and settled for the third position. Saddle the Wind weakened but managed to fill up the frame.

After a below-par effort, Shiraz Sunderji trained Bait And Watch was seen in true colours in the 1600 metres Amjad Khan Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Bait And Watch took over the running on turning for home from the front-running Shae and skipped clear to win easily from Black Cherry who finished on well from behind to take the second spot. Black Cherry had finished about 27 lengths behind the field in her last effort albeit over a trip of 2000 metres. Shae managed to nose out Lambretta to grab the third position. The disappointment of the race was Benevolence who was under the pump well before the runner took the final bend and finished poorly.

Shiraz Sunderji trained Makhtoob floored the followers of form when easily winning the 1200 metres October Handicap, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Makhtoob had last won 261 days ago and the last effort over seven furlongs 36 days ago had been a flop show as the progeny of Speakingofwhich had finished more than 15 lengths behind the winner. As such, very few reckoned that he would be causing a big upset especially since here were two strong market fancies in Mirabilis and Divine Glory. Copper Queen led the field from the start with Divine Glory and Mirabilis in proximity, but both flopped as soon as the race picked up steam in the stretch. Makhtoob covered places swiftly to collar Copper Queen inside the final 350 metres and then easily held off the late challenge of Sandman. Copper Queen stayed on to take the third position while both Mirabilis and Divine Glory failed to justify the weight of money that they carried. Incidentally, Makhtoob was the third winner saddled by Sunderji in the first four races.

The 1200 metres Kejriwal Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66, looked like a minefield not only because of the size of the field but also because none of the runners could be considered as a strong contender. This was reflected in the betting with Domination being the favourite at odds of 4 to 1. The speedy Slam Dunk led the field deep into the straight and closer home, a cluster of horses charged menacingly. Sassy Lass who grabbed the lead close home held on gallantly from the strongly ridden Arc Shine with Domination saving place money. Slam Dunk was fourth while Queen Credible who was also in serious betting lost ground at the start and all her chances Nevertheless, she ran on late on the wide outside to finish fifth not far from the winner.

The 1200 metres Strelitzia Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category, was another race in the day which was unfathomable for punters looking for a clue to pick the winner. Sandalphon was the favourite ahead of Dibaba and Solo Mission. Sandalphon was the first horse to call it a day when the race came to the boil in the straight, Solo Mission lost all his chances at the gate itself. From a handy third position, long shot Forever Free picked up momentum and collared Cecelia inside the final furlong to win with a measure of comfort. Dragonmoss ran on late to get the third position. The winner was trained by Adil Dajee who was leading in his first winner in so many months.


Athulya (C S Jodha up) winner of the K Raghunath Plate

His Master`s Vice (Yash Narredu up) winner of the Chef D`Oeuvre Plate

Bait And Switch (C S Jodha up) winner of the Amjad Khan Trophy

Makhtoob (C S Jodha up) winner of the October Handicap

Auburn (Akshay Kumar up) winner of the Threptin Fillies` & Mares` Stakes (Gr.3)

Sassy Lass (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Kejriwal Trophy

Forever Free (Akshay Gaikwad up) winner of the Strelitzia Plate

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