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Sky Fall prevails in the Dr S R Captain Trophy

  July 29 , 2022

Dallas Todywalla trained Sky Fall came up with an assertive performance to win the 1200 metres Dr S R Captain Trophy, a race for horses rated 60 to 86, the feature event of Friday`s Pune races.

With the horses having resumed racing after a long layoff due to the gap between the Mumbai season end and the start of the Pune season, the form of the horses is yet to settle down. Those with a competitive edge and the ones who regain their peak fitness early are enjoying the advantage till such time the others with equal credentials have the benefit of a race run.

Petronia had been running consistent races in good company and it came as no surprise that she was a strong favourite. Sky Fall had twice found Nothing To Worry prove better though the kind of speed that the five-year-old mare possess can be a big advantage on the Pune track with its short straight. Sky Fall`s speed was a decisive factor as the progeny of Leitir Mor enjoyed an uncontested lead in front in the hands of apprentice jockey Kaviraj and had the race well sewn up a long way from home. Petronia took a long while to warm up and her finishing effort could not take her past Market King who finished second best. Petronia will be more at home over a slightly longish trip as three of her four wins have come over trips longer than six furlongs.

Todywalla`s other ward Ahead of My Time is a star in the making. Bred as a full brother to the top-class performers Ruffina and Corfe Castle, Ahead of My Time was a smashing winner of his debut run and then was a close third in the Poonawalla Breeders` Multi-Million. The form of that race was quite strong though the first two finishers Dexa and Imperial Power did not progress much during the Bangalore Summer Season due to niggling issues. But Ahead of The Time had finished ahead of the subsequent Bangalore Derby winner Supernatural and the price of over even money quoted in the ring was something the punters lapped up with great glee. Sandesh allowed Arc De Triomphe to set the pace keeping Ahead of My Time in a handy second position. Arc De Triomphe who had won twice at Chennai before finding himself out of depth over a trip put up a stiff resistance though it was on cards that Ahead of My Time would prove superior. Arc De Triomphe stayed on to thwart the late bid of Alastair and Queen O`War to retain the runner-up berth though he looked vulnerable in the closing strides of the race.

Imtiaz Sait trained Fleur De Lys won the 1800 metres Jamshed Dalal Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46, against the run of expectations. The seven-year-old mare surpassed everyone`s expectations when winning after a whopping wait of 939 days. The experienced Fleur De Lys perhaps relished the underfoot conditions as also the fact that she was allowed to run freely in front, enjoying the uncontested lead. Apprentice jockey Kaviraj had no hesitation in letting Fleur De Lys enjoy a big break over the rest and the race was as good as over even before the front-runner went past the final furlong. Royal Alamdaar ran on from the rear of the group to edge past the favourite Sky Storm to get the second position. Queen Regnant who was loitering in the rear also gained places in the straight to finish fourth.

Punters are often confronted with the problem of picking horses which haven`t won for a long period. Their last runs may not be suggestive but the fact that they would have come down in scales is enough to put doubts in the minds of the punters who often go with past glory. Majestic Warrior hadn`t won for more than 500 days though he had run good races in decent company and as such, punters hoped for a turnaround as Pune is a happy hunting ground for trainer Lagad whose patience gets rewarded during this season in particular. Majestic Warrior as is his wont led from the front but had no answer when Pepper, another horse who hadn`t won for a very long time, came up with a spirited run. Pepper overhauled the front-runner with ease and sped away for a facile win. Rhythm of Nature showed some aggression when running on from behind to take the third position.

Hoshidar Daji trained Arabian Phoenix readily obliged in the 1400 metres Season Opener Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Dali Swirl had the first run on his opponents as he shot ahead on turning for home but could not sustain the lead when Arabian Phoenix swooped on him. The latter proved far superior when skipping clear for an easy win. Leto showed some intent when finishing third. Favourite My Treasure was never in the hunt.

Shazaan Shah trained Esperanza had been well prepared to have a decisive say in the 1000 metres Classic Talk Plate, a race for maiden three-year-olds and it was reflected in the confidence with which she was backed in the betting ring. Zervan had no problem in getting Esperanza to dominate the proceedings and the favourite won by a widening margin of five lengths in the pouring rain. Golden Lioness and Mojo occupied the next two slots.

The Stewards decided to cancel the last race of the day due to persistent rain which had compromised the underfoot conditions as also due to the visibility factor.

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