Shiraz Sunderji trained Trouvaille showed that he is in a class of his own when he easily contained the challenge of Wizard of Stocks to win the Gr 1 Pune Derby, the star event of the season, held at Pune on Sunday. The competitive nature of the race was adversely affected when Sultan Suleiman who would have gone into the race as a strongly fancied runner was withdrawn from the fray due to veterinary grounds. Sunderji was winning the Pune Derby after a very long wait, his first success in this event having come long back on Desert Warrior after which he had given up training for some time.
There was doubt about Trouvaille getting the mile and a quarter trip effectively as his best performance had come over a mile and his pedigree did not suggest strong stamina influence. However, it has often been proved that pedigree has only a relative value and not an absolute one as the individual talent can often defy the best-argued theories. Moreover, on a tight Pune track, the milers have often got the extra two furlongs as the pace of the race is never furious and the straight is not as long as the one at Mahalakshmi. Trouvaille had seen better quality horses in his first season and the opposition he faced was pretty run of the mill as Wizard of Stock who finished second best was a run-of-the-mill winner of a maidens` race at Bangalore. Victorious Sermon appears to have lost form after two impressive wins at Bangalore and he ran way below expectations.
Trouvaille enjoyed favouritism ahead of Wizard of Stocks and the lack of support for Victorious Sermon indicated that the progeny of Whatsthescript hadn`t been showing good progress in the workouts and that there was diminished enthusiasm about his prospects. Hyderabad challenger Prince Valiant went at a good clip in front with Rhapsody, Moriesiki and Wizard of Stocks in proximity while Trouvaille, Victorious Sermon, Daddy`s Pride and Justified were the in the rear bunch. Approaching the final turn jockey Neeraj Rawal on Wizard of Stocks got busy and had the progeny of Speaking of Which take charge with C S Jodha on Trouvaille alighting his horse to the task. Wizard of Stocks enjoyed the lead till approaching the final furlong but could not sustain the charge as Trouvaille easily overhauled the front-runner and went sailing clear to record a comfortable winner. In taking over the running, Trouvaille went across to the rails causing Neeraj on Wizard of Stocks to change course. Neeraj raised an objection for interference but the same was overruled as the marginal interference did not make a difference to the outcome of the race as Trouvaille was clearly the superior horse in the fray. Daddy`s Pride was third ahead of the poorly performed Victorious Sermon.
Imtiaz Sait trained Iron Age maintained his imposing form when giving a drubbing to his rivals in the Gr 3 Noshir & Dolly Dhunjibhoy Sprint Million, a terms race four-year-olds and over. Iron Age who had reeled off three wins in a row and had taken a great liking for the Pune track was fancied ahead of Intense Stylist and St Andrews to continue his winning run. Jockey Y S Srinath who guided the fortunes of Iron Age this time as his regular partner Trevor Patel has been rendered hors de combat by an injury, had the speedy son of Strong Suitor lead from the start. The prolific performer had no problem in storming clear of his opponents in the final furlong to win with a great deal of ease. Clymene held off the late flourish of Intense Stylist to keep the runner-up berth.
Shiraz Sunderji trained Headway was universally backed to maintain his winning form in the 1200 metres F A & K A Irani Trophy, a race for horses rated 60 to 86. However, Headway who was running into stiff opposition for the first time found himself out of depth as he finished a tame fourth. The race was won by long shot Joplin from the stables of trainer Noshir Cama. The progeny of Stern Opinion built on the forward run of her previous effort as from a second position behind stablemate Poker Face, she spurted ahead in the stretch. Flaming Martini essayed a strong challenge and shaped to overhauled the front-runner but Joplin produced that bit extra to skip away in the end to win after a longish gap of 271 days. Excellent Gold finished strongly from way off the pace to occupy the third position.
Narendra Lagad trained Turmeric Power recorded an encore by just about nailing favourite Clark Kent on the post to win the 1000 metres Vinayak Trophy (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Apprentice jockey Niranjan S had Clark Kent lead from the start and appeared to be on course when Turmeric Power who was running after an unusually long break of 89 days for a trainee from Lagad gathered steam and managed to prevail in the closing strides of the race. Lagad said that the long gap was necessitated by the splint problem that the filly had. Julio Cesaro, another trainee from Lagad`s yard, saved place money by nosing out Tasch. Favourite Ms Boss ran way below expectations. The lower division of the race was won by Malesh Narredu trained Auspicious who held off a strong challenge from Warrior Clan to land the spoils. Warrior Clan was running after a long break of 210 days and had been subjected to several treatments which perhaps put paid to his hopes.
Vishal Gaikwad trained Gods Plan who was running after a gap of 252 days had it easy in the 1200 metres Jimmy Umrigar Trophy (Div I), a race for maiden three-year-olds. Though Gods Plan was sluggish at the start, he covered the leeway swiftly and collared the front-running C`est L`Amour in the final furlong to record a smashing win. Between Friends came from a long way back to take the third position. A big gamble was landed on Rehanullah Khan trained Alauddin Khilji in the lower division of the race thanks to the decision of the Stewards to uphold the objection against the winner. Belgravia won the race from Alauddin Khilji whose progress was affected by the wayward drift of the former but the latter lacked the speed to take the gaps when it materialised. The Stewards were perhaps guided by the fact that Belgravia did not keep a straight course and that the winner deserved to be relegated to the second position. Favourite Knight Superior had all the chances but failed to pack punch in his finish and ended up being a close third. Dhanu Singh Deora rode the winner.
Malesh Narredu trained Mystic Bay finally found the winning mark after a gap of 220 days when the progeny of Leitr More just about managed to prevail over Majestic Warrior in the 1400 metres Pune Police Commissioner`s Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Mystic Bay led from the start and jockey Suraj Narredu had to go all out to prevail by a head over last start winner Majestic Warrior who put up a valiant fight but narrowly failed to collar the front-running favourite. Hyannis showed some form when finishing third.
Gods Plan (Akshay up) winner of the Jimmy Umrigar Trophy (Div-I)
Mystic Bay (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Pune Police Commissioner`S Trophy
Alauddin Khilji (Dhanu Singh Deora up) winner of the Jimmy Umrigar Trophy (Div-II)
Turmeric Tower (Dashrath Singh up) winner of the Vinayak Trophy (Div-I)
Joplin (Yash Narredu up) winner of the F A & K A Irani Trophy
Iron Age (Y S Srinath up) winner of the Noshir & Dolly Dhunjibhoy Sprint Million (Gr.3)
Trouvaille (C S Jodha up) winner of the Pune Derby (Gr.1)
Auspicious (Suraj Narredu up) winner of the Vinayak Trophy (Div-II)