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Rollercoaster ride for punters as favourites flop

  March 17 , 2024

In a surprising turn of events at Mumbai`s races on Sunday, Shiraz Sunderji`s protégé, Break Point, emerged as the star of the show, displaying remarkable progress to outshine competitors in the Gr 3 1600 meters Shapoorji Pallonji Breeders Colts Championship. Meanwhile, Pesi Shroff`s hopeful, The Panther, was heavily favoured following a promising fourth-place finish in the Poonawalla Multi-Million. However, much to the dismay of backers, The Panther, the progeny of Churchill, seemed more like a snoozing kitten on race day, failing to muster the needed acceleration and settling for a lacklustre fourth position.

Divine Hope, on the other hand, could have been a contender for victory if not for his tendency to stray off course. Despite a promising start, Divine Hope`s erratic behaviour saw him veering off track, effectively extinguishing any hopes of triumph. The nightmare for punters backing Pesi Shroff`s horses seems to continue, with the once-reliable champion trainer experiencing a rough patch. Gone are the days when punters could confidently back Shroff`s horses and eagerly queue up to cash their winnings. The tables have turned indeed!

Break Point`s triumph was nothing short of sensational. Initially displaying erratic behaviour, Break Point found himself trailing behind as jockey Ajinkya maneuvered him to the rear position. Meanwhile, Divine Hope, leading from the outset, began to stray off course in the final furlong, drifting away from the straight path. As Divine Hope faltered, Break Point seized the opportunity, suddenly finding gaps opening up along the inside. With the agility of a seasoned contender, the offspring of Dreamfield accelerated swiftly along the rails, effortlessly pulling ahead to claim victory with unexpected ease over Divine Hope. Meanwhile, Gambino managed to fend off The Panther, who sluggishly crossed the finish line in fourth place. Break Point was bred at the Dr Kehar Singh Stud Farm.

The rollercoaster of punter woes continued with Malesh Narredu`s Running Star taking centre stage in a spectacular letdown. Touted as the surefire favourite in the Gr 3 1600 meters Forbes Breeders Fillies Championship, Running Star had punters lining up at the betting counter. However, much to their dismay, Running Star seemed like a novice. After an enthusiastic chase of Pyrite into the straight, Running Star fizzled out faster than a damp firecracker, leaving punters scratching their heads.

Meanwhile, Pyrite, the unexpected underdog from the stables of trainer Waheed, embarked on a mission from start to finish, leaving competitors in her equine dust. By the final furlong, Pyrite had built such a commanding lead that victory for the long shot was assured despite veering out of a straight path. In a tale of late bloomers, Spanish Eyes swooped in just in time to snatch second place, while Doctor Dally made a late entrance to claim third.

With Running Star`s stumble following hot on the heels of The Panther`s misfire, it was indeed a double whammy for punters, leaving them wondering if they`d got off the bed on the wrong side!

After a disappointing performance in the previous race where it was heavily favoured, Geographique, trained by Imtiaz Sait, redeemed herself in the 2000 meters Pronto Pronto Trophy, a competition catering to horses rated between 60 to 86. Geographique clinched an effortless victory over Vincent Van Gogh. With just four runners participating, three of which hailed from the same stable, Flaming Lamborghini took the lead by a significant margin, trailed by Vincent Van Gogh, Geographique, and Truly Epic. However, as they entered the final stretch, Flaming Lamborghini faltered, allowing Vincent Van Gogh to surge ahead momentarily. Geographique, with determined strides, swiftly overtook the front-runner, securing a decisive win by a substantial margin of five lengths over the sole credible contender in the race. The veteran nine-year-old Truly Epic, competing for the 56th time in its career, maintained his consistent performance by finishing third. Truly Epic has accumulated stake money in 34 outings, boasting seven victories and placing nearly every time. Due to the scarcity of long-distance races, the same set of horses frequently compete against each other.

Punters who were following the trends were undoubtedly perplexed by the unpredictable fluctuations in the odds in the 1000 metres J Rustomji Soparivala Trophy, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Initially, Faisal Abbas-trained Trigger, making her debut, garnered spirited backing and emerged as a strong favourite, only to be overshadowed later by Sanjay Kolse`s Fast Approach. The unexpected odds quoted on Fast Approach came as a surprise, considering his promising form. As the race approached, Trigger drifted out of betting reckoning, mirroring her absence from contention on the track. Under the guidance of Trevor Patel, the speedy Fast Approach led the pack throughout the race. Despite late competition from the rallying debutant Celestial, who showed commendable progress to secure a notable second place, Fast Approach maintained his lead and clinched victory. Touch of Gold followed behind, claiming third position in the race. The initial disproportionate backing of Trigger and her subsequent absence from contention in the race remains a mystery.

Malesh Narredu trained Bubbly Boy justified the overwhelming support in the betting ring as he claimed victory in the 1400 meters J P Vazifdar Cup, a race catering to horses rated 40 to 66. Under the guidance of jockey Yash Narredu, Bubbly Boy took the lead right from the start and effortlessly surged ahead in the final furlong, leaving behind Zarak and Raffaello, who appeared to have lost their form.

Walter, trained by Shiraz Sunderji, had hinted at readiness for victory with a strong showing in his previous outing, and he duly lived up to expectations by winning the 1400 meters Lahinch Trophy, a race designated for horses in the lowest category. Jockey Ajinkya steered Walter smoothly down the final furlong, propelling it into contention, and the favourite stormed ahead to secure victory by an impressive margin of four lengths. Prince O`War finished second, while Esfir edged out Toofan to claim third place.

The 1000 meters Mogadishu Trophy, a race featuring horses rated 20 to 46, presented a competitive field with serious betting interest on contenders like Goddess of Dawn, Malet Spring, Pure For Sure, and Arbitrage. Goddes of Dawn led deep into the straight but was overtaken by Malet Spring, who then seized control. Despite a late surge from Arbitrage, Malet Spring held on to win by half a length, with Goddess of Dawn finishing third.

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