Richard Hughes’ ploy to mark Red Romeo (Kinane), chase the favourite all the way, and step up his challenge in the final run paid off rich dividends. Autonomy (Razeen–All Heart) produced a strong run towards the finish to reverse the verdict in his second encounter with Red Romeo and snatch a scintillating victory close home in the PBMM (Gr 1). Autonomy had succumbed without even raising a fight in the Nitco Million when partnered by CD Hayes. However, Hughes made ample amends and timed his run to perfection to get the optimal result when the duo started going stride for stride in the final furlong.
Aurora Aurealis (Narredu) set the tone with an edgy Successor for company, Mark Of Gibraltar was well up, and Red Romeo was in the mid-bunch being chased by Autonomy all the time. On Straightening up, Aurora Aurealis kicked on; while Successor came under pressure, Juventus (Fargeat) was keen to stride ahead but was hemmed up on the rails. Red Romeo burst on to the scene and immediately started to dictate terms. Autonomy was unsure for a few moments and Richard got him out in a flash before Red Romeo could bolt too far ahead. Then began a power-packed battle of two of the most prolific riders in the world. Had Mick Kinane shown Red Romeo daylight a wee bit early? Some might argue so on hindsight; however, at the rate Autonomy devoured ground in the home stretch, it was apparent that Red Romeo would return second best. It was an absorbing battle and a fitting finale to the supremely showcased ‘Juvenile Derby’.
Of the finishers, Aurora Aurealis ran a terrific race to sustain the electric pace all through and stubbornly held on to the third spot. Juventus (TS Jodha) may rue the lack of clear passage and not without reason as Aurora Aurealis was not giving any quarter whatsoever and they both finished together! Fleeting Arrow resorted to take the turn wide and make his bid closer to the outer railing to run a good fifth. Southern Summit (Srinath) came from the rear, was the widest one at the turn, and ran on to run ahead of Star Wave, Mark Of Gibraltar, Successor and Palazzio’s Sun.
A strong crowd of close to 15,000 witnessed the PBMM and the collections were close to one crore mark. Glamorous models displayed the attractive collections of designer Delna Poonawalla. The crowd in the members’ and first enclosures were treated to free entry and refreshments courtesy the Poonawalla group and one lucky gentleman walked away, or rather sped away, with the Mahindra Logan car for the lone correct nomination of the order of the first four in PBMM race. It was an enjoyable, well-planned and executed race day and kudos to the Poonawalla Group for promoting their race as one of the best races in the country.
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