Imtiaz Sait trained Questina swamped the opposition with a blistering turn of foot down the final furlong to win the 1200 metres DRC Cup, a race for horses rated 40 to 66, the feature event of second day`s Mumbai races held on Sunday at Pune due to COVID imposed restrictions. The day`s proceedings saw quite a few lesser fancied runners win which was only to be expected as the horses are running after a very long break and they need a run before their credentials could be established in a more systematic way.
After a couple of eye-catching efforts during the last Pune season, Questina had won in the early part of the last Mumbai season but thereafter found success eluding her way as she was campaigned ambitiously in the Guineas. Now back in a handicap race on the track on which she had shown promise, Questina did not receive the kind of support that her talented demanded as Dandi March cornered more betting than the rest in what appeared an open time of an affair. The betting doesn`t pertain to the local market as there are no legal betting operations at the racecourse and the other clubs are not allowed to conduct betting on Mumbai races online and are only allowed restricted betting through their morning counters due to unresolved dispute over Royalty.
The speedy Storm Breaker and Hidden Gold raced up with the field and were in with a chance going for the final 300 metres. Dandi March then stole a march but had no answer when jockey Sandesh brought Questina with a powerful run on the wide outside. The progeny of Phoenix Tower picked up speed tremendously and had the race sewn up a long way from home. Dandi March stayed on to take the second position ahead of Hidden Gold.
Vishal Gaikwad trained Luminous was an impressive debutant who had things her way in the 1400 metres Kiara Plate (Div I), a race for maiden three-year-olds. The daughter of Speaking of Which out of multi-classic winning Allaire was settled in a handy position by jockey Zervan as Who Dares did the pace-setting. Rounding the final turn, Luminous smoothly took over the running and sped away for a comfortable win even as favourite Taimur was taking his own time to warm up. Taimur could only get the second position ahead of Arcadia who nosed out the longtime leader to save place money. Taimur was inclined to run out and caused interference to a couple of horses as he was being ridden out in the stretch. The reason why Taimur was the firm favourite in public perception was because of his noteworthy second behind Giant Star in one of his efforts at Mumbai.
Deepesh Narredu trained debutant Noble Queen was an easy winner of the lower division of the Kiara Plate. Noble Queen who appeared to be well-prepared judging by the mock race and the series of workouts that she had been subjected to, was a ready winner. After Casanova Prince took charge at the top of the straight, Noble Queen came through the centre of the track with a strong effort to swoop on the front runner in the final furlong and sped away for a comfortable win. Casanova Prince managed to stay put in the second position and thwarted the bid of favourite North Star who had to be satisfied with the third position.
Dallas Todywalla trained Lorito who had quite a few pieces of smart workouts, was, however, neglected in the betting exchanges in the 1600 metres Grand Passion Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category, as money flowed in the direction of Miss Scarlett who was still a debutant after eight efforts. Lorito who lacked early speed was in the rear bunch till turning for home but once Trevor switched the four-year-old gelding on the wide outside, the progeny of Arazan covered places with giant strides and zoomed past those who were fighting it out along with Martini, Retained Asset and the others. Lorito won with ease from late rallying Chezza who nosed out Retained Asset to get the second position.
There was enough flutter in the market even without the bookmakers in the club premises as the ante-post favourite Flameoftheforest lost supporters in the 1000 metres Astral Flash Plate (Div I), with Sky Fall receiving one-sided support. But in the race itself, Deepesh Narredu trained Bonafide who hit the front from the word `go`, enjoyed a big uncontested lead and stormed clear in the final furlong to win by a widening margin of four lengths. Exotic Queen necked out Godsword to save place money while the favourite Sky Fall finished a disappointing fourth considering the kind of buzz that she created in the grey market. The lower division of the race went the way of Narendra Lagad trained Falconette who held off stablemate Julio Cesaro to land the spoils as a strong favourite. Periwinkle too ran on strongly to get the third position.
Falconette (P S Kaviraj up) winner of the Astral Flash Plate (Div-II)
Tigrio (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Aristos Plate
Luminous (S Zervan up) winner of the Kiara Plate (Div-I)
Lorito (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Grand Passion Plate
Noble Queen (Yash Narredu up) winner of the Kiara Plate (Div-II)
Questina (A Sandesh up) winner of the Drc Cup
Bonafide (Shrikant Kamble up) winner of the Astral Flash Plate (Div-I)