Pesi Shroff trained Arcana barely lasted out to win by the skin of his teeth from an aggressive Rodrigo in the 1000 metres Bookmyshow Live Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 65, the feature event of opening day`s races of the Mumbai Racing Season on Sunday. Champion trainer Pesi Shroff started the season on a rousing note saddling home a double.
The RWITC must be complimented for being able to offer higher stakes than other clubs at a time when the club is still facing a financial crisis thanks to the munificence of Zavaray Poonawalla and K N Dhunjibhoy and his friends who have collectively contributed Rs 4.5 crores to enhance the stake money. This is in total contrast to a club like Bangalore Turf Club where members are even scared to put their hands in their pockets lest some money may fall out! You can find great freedom fighters there, fighting for everything that is free.
Coming back to the feature event, Arcana who had won a race at Pune in impressive fashion, was backed confidently to win again though he was running against tougher opposition. The odds did not indicate that he had a tough fight on hand. Apprentice jockey Kritish Bhagat had to struggle to restrain Arcana from bolting as the progeny of Rodrigo O`Connor was inclined to do so. Desert Fire did the pace-setting chased by Arcana with the steadily improving Rodrigo in proximity. Arcana quickened well in the final furlong and opened up a useful lead which turned out to be a winning one. Rodrigo in the hands of Trevor Patel closed with a menacing effort only to find the favourite escape to victory by the shortest of margins possible. To the credit of Bhagat, he put the whip away in the closing strides of the race which perhaps aided the cause of his horse. Esperanza who raced up with the pace-setter was third two lengths adrift, saving place money by a neck from Lord Vader.
There was a big upset in the 1400 metres Gateway of India Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 65. Imtiaz Sait trained Leto, in the hands of Vishal Bunde, found all the spaces close to the rails to come into strong contention in the final furlong from way off the pace. Leto who had consistently placed in all her efforts at Pune battled on with pace-setter Majestic Warrior and got the upper hand inside the final 100 metres. Leto held off the late challenge of Regal Command who overcame a sluggish start to finish less than a length behind the winner. Fancied Fortunate Son too rallied well to neck out long-time leader Majestic Warrior to save place money. Favourite Emperor Roderic was never in the hunt, racing wide and going further wide in the straight to finish poorly.
Lesser fancied Sky Fall from the stables of trainer Dallas Todywalla made it a profitable start-to-finish mission in the 1200 metres Royal Calcutta Turf Club Trophy, a race for horses rated 80 and above. One Wish was the firm favourite though the five-year-old mare did not look outstanding. Augustus Caesar had a good chance of landing the spoils though it was a difficult ride for an apprentice jockey riding without the aid of the whip. Augustus Caesar doesn`t have early speed but has a finishing burst which has to be cleverly exploited. For this to happen, positioning was key. Apprentice jockey Mustakim Alam kept the horse tailed off last even as Sky Fall enjoyed an uncontested lead and had a break of more than six to seven lengths over Augustus Caesar who had to additionally overcome a tardy start. Sky Fall eventually won the race in the hands of jockey N S Parmar with a measure of comfort from late rallying Augustus Caesar who despite covering good ground, was found wanting. Giant Star was third while favourite One Wish ran a very disappointing race.
Malesh Narredu trained Wall Street was an impressive winner of the 1600 metres Welcome Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Wall Street was an impressive debut winner and later on pitched in the Pune Derby ambitiously when he was too inexperienced for a race of such a nature. Racing in a modest handicap company, Wall Street was backed to the exclusion of the rest. Suraj Narredu was unhurried on the favourite as he steadily moved up all through the race to take charge in the stretch to win by a widening margin of five lengths over Emrys. The second-placed horse who raced in the rear in the early part of the race, quickly moved up to stay in touch with the favourite. Emrys appeared to need this run as he was left stranded and had to struggle to keep the runner-up position from Full of Grace and Django.
Pesi Shroff trained Inamorata had been well conditioned at Pune with the benefit of two races, the last one especially being a noteworthy one. Imtiaz Sait trained Pyrrhus had been found wanting at the finish, losing her last two starts in the dying moments of the race. The filly was set to concede one and a half kgs to her rival which perhaps made a critical difference in the end. After Mighty Thunder led deep into the straight, Pyrrhus overhauled the front-runner but could not sustain it till the winning post. Inamorta covered good ground in the final furlong and sped past the front-runner close to home. Mighty Thunder stayed on to take the third position.
Narendra Lagad trained Remy Red finally opened his account in his 14th effort by winning the 1400 metres Truefitt & Hill Founders Trophy, a race for horses rated 4 to 30. Remy Red had on a couple of occasions lost all his chances with slow getaways but of late had been jumping with the field. On the last occasion, he was beaten in the closing stride by Alpha Gene and as such, had every chance to win provided he took a brisk start yet again from the gate. Jockey J Chinoy had Remy Red in a handy second position behind pace-setting Sonisha till the final furlong before pushing the fancied runner to take charge. Remy Red sailed ahead and had no problem in staving off the late bid of favourite Speculator who had to work his way from behind with a ground-saving effort. Truth And Dare finished well to take the third position. Midas Touch who came in for notable support was never in the hunt.
A big touch on Imtiaz Sait trained Pisa failed to come off in the 1400 metres Play.RWITC.com Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46, as raw apprentice jockey Saba who was only riding for the third time in his career, was unable to do justice to the potential of the horse. Pisa was backed down from a higher quote of 6 to 1. Sensibility who led all the way in the stretch had no problem in staving off the challenge of Pisa to win with a measure of comfort. Alpine Star was third ahead of favourite Commandment who put up a tame performance and reportedly broke a blood vessel. Jockey Kritish Bhagat on Silver Bells had a fall as his horse which raced keen ended up clipping the front-running Sensibility.