Karthik Ganapathy trained Grand Accord made a quantum improvement when he thwarted the hopes of favourite La Rondine close home to land the spoils in the Gr 2 A C Ardeshir Trophy, a terms race for three-year-olds and over, the feature event of Sunday`s Mumbai races. Bronx, who was also in spirited betting, failed to reproduce the Pune form and was a disappointing fourth.
La Rondine was better placed than Bronx to have a bold show in the race. There was support for Costa Brava who was not seen in action the whole of Pune season and was running in a race after a longish gap of 182 days. Leigh Roche took Costa Brave on a start to finish mission with La Rondine in the chase followed by Raees, Bronx and Grand Accord. Approaching the final turn, Raees moved up alongside Costa Brava but packed up when the race picked up steam. Zervan on La Rondine got busy in the stretch and the favourite was able to overhaul the front-running Costa Brava with a furlong left in the race and shaped to win. However, the favourite was surprised by Grand Accord who ran above expectations with a spirited run, measuring La Rondine in the waning yards of the race in the hands of jockey Bhawani Singh. The three runs of Grand Accord at Pune were lacklustre in handicap company and hence the sixth win of his career in a graded race came as a surprise though in a race of this nature, horses of ability enjoying big pull in weights have always caused an upset.
Flaming Martini continued to fail and this time as a strongly backed favourite in the 1000 metres Shantidas Askuran Trophy, a race for horses rated 60 to 86. Flaming Martini lacked the early speed to take a forward position and fell back to the rear. The speedy King Khalil led the field and held the initiative until the final moments of the race. Last start winner Sharareh who was available at lucrative odds essayed a strong challenge to King Khalil and managed to overhaul the long-time leader in the closing strides of the race. Kilkarry Bridge ran on to take the third position ahead of Flaming Martini who failed to show the spark of old.
Two horses of almost equal merit from Pesi Shroff were in the fray in the 2000 metres M H Ahmedbhoy Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. See The Dream and Notoriety were both winners at Pune and there was little to choose between them though the market was right in making the first-named as favourite marginally ahead of the latter. Leigh Roche had Notoriety in front with See The Dream settled in the third position before Neeraj Rawal moved up to be with an arm`s length of the pace-setter at the final turn. See The Dream easily overhauled the front-runner and though Notoriety put up a semblance of a fight, it was clear who the winner was going to be. Power of Thor ran on to take the third position.
Jockey Parmar frittered away a winning chance on favourite Armaity in the 1600 metres Kheem Singh Gold Cup, a race for horses rated 40 to 66 by getting pocketed at a crucial stage of the race in the stretch between Till End of Time and Khartoum. The finishing burst only highlighted the possibilities. Long shot Star Comrade from the stables of trainer Karthik Ganapathy hit the front in the hands of apprentice jockey Prakash and stubbornly stayed there and held off the late flourish of the favourite by a shade less than a length. Armaity was travelling well into the straight but perhaps Parmar didn`t anticipate that he could run into a problem by delaying his challenge until he was overtaken by Till End of Time causing his horse to be held up fractionally which made a critical difference to the outcome of the race. There was great deal of support for Princess Annabel who once again lived up to the tag being an unreliable customer by finishing a dismal last, not giving hope at any stage of the race.
Altamash Ahmed trained Serpentine who was not quoted in the ante-post odds came in for spirited betting to end up as the second favourite in the 1200 metres Kanthara Plate (Div II), a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Despite all the hectic activity in the betting ring, the odds on Pesi Shroff trained Sasakwa remained steady. After Untitled led the field into the stretch, Sasakwa moved up with a flourish from about the fourth position at the final bend to grab the lead going into the final furlong and stretched away for a comfortable win over Despatico who once again one found one better for the third time in a row. Untitled stayed on to save place money. Serpentine failed to justify the weight of the money and was never in the hunt eventually finishing dismally highlighting the perils of following the market buzz when the horse under such intense betting doesn`t carry racing form as well.
Altaf Hussain trained Angels Harmony was unlucky to lose last time out as the jockey was unable to correct the outward drift of the horse which had resulted in the five-year-old mare bumping the horse on her outside and dislodging the jockey. She made amends with a comfortable start to finish mission in the 1400 metres Aristos Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. Angels Harmony was quoted at big odds in what looked a minefield of a race. Apprentice jockey Shubham took Angels Harmony on a start to finish mission and the lesser fancied runner stayed put there and won by a comfortable margin of over three lengths. Cray Cray gave a chase, but closer home was overhauled by Saffron Flower for the runner-up berth.
The inadequacies of the free-running Wild Fire to last out the long Mumbai straight came to haunt her prospects once again as the Narendra Lagad trainee faltered in the final furlong to be caught up with the well-backed Ebony in the closing moments of the race in the 1000 metres Jehangir P Dubash Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Incidentally, all the four wins of Wild Fire had come on the Pune track where the straight is not as long as the one in Mumbai. Wild Fire had the speed to enjoy a healthy lead going into the final furlong but Ebony who seems to have struck a purple patch came into contention in the final furlong along the rails and succeeded in getting past the front-runner close home to record an encore. Cezanne ran on to take the third place ahead of Fine Tune. Wild Fire hasn`t seen the winning post for 442 days.
Altamash Ahmed trained Palomar brought off the biggest upset of the day in the 1200 metres Kanthara Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Palomar`s last run was 211 days ago at Bangalore during the summer season where the three-year-old gelding had run more than 32 lengths behind the winner.
The race was dominated by long shots with Palomar who was in the rear of the field at the top of the straight producing a stunning run on the wide outside to grab the lead inside the final furlong. Palomar held off the late flourish of another long-shot Oui Sauvage at fancy odds. Anatevka was third ahead of Odessa whereas the heavily supported Alauddin Khilji was not spotted at the busy end.
Angels Harmony (D R Shubham up) winner of the Aristos Plate
Sea The Dream (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the M H Ahmedbhoy Trophy
Star Comrade (A Prakash up) winner of the Kheem Singh Gold Cup
Sasakwa (Leigh Roche up) winner of the Kanthara Plate (Div-II)
Sharareh (N S Parmar up) winner of the Shantidas Askuran Trophy
Ebony (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Jehangir P Dubash Trophy
Grand Accord (N S Parmar up) winner of the A C Ardeshir Trophy (Gr.3)
Palomar (N S Parmar up) winner of the Kanthara Plate (Div-I)