Spinoza (Pennine Ridge–Shingle Path) endorsed her staying prowess with yet another impressive victory, making it a back-to-back grand double. He followed his victory in the Maharaja Jiwaji Rao Scindia (Gr 3) in December with an even more emphatic win in the Jeejebhoy Eclipse Stakes of India (Gr 2) on Sunday.
Settling well and early up with the fast pace set by Desert Dust, Spinoza who was third behind Secret Memory (Srinath) easily breezed past the leaders near the 400 metres and devoured ground all through the home stretch at a remarkably fast clip. The final timing of 2 min 02.41 seconds is the fastest this season - just 0.41 secs off the course record! Gruezi (Neeraj) was a touch unfortunate as he was bumped soon on straightening up and had to jostle a bit with Southern Empire. However, Gruezi finished on strongly accounting for all but the winner.
Southern Empire (Prakash) once again failed miserably and the even money favourite was never in serious contention. The Multi Classic winner was reduced to a pale shadow of his past reputation and raced in the rear bunch all through. In the straight, he tried to move out of the traffic snarl and in the process banged into Gruezi just after the turn for home. Southern Empire then had a clear run to go for the kill, but he never got going. It was Spinoza all the way in the home stretch and Gruezi made her presence felt only in the final moments. Spinoza, despite drifting out considerably under pressure, held on by a length. Secret Memory also ran sitting well up with the pace to end a good third, while Cotswold Arms gave a good account of himself by figuring the frame.
Rave On made a successful start-to-finish bid to win the first race of the day with just a little anxiety close home. Leading the field into the straight, Rave On (Kishore) kicked on as his stable mate Marmaris (Shailesh) tried to come alongside, and continued to gallop away at a fair clip. Marmaris just could not quicken enough but kept chasing the leader. Meanwhile, Refuse To Bend, who was racing in the rear bunch, raised a challenging gallop inside the final furlong and started to bridge the gap quite rapidly. Top Action (Vikram) and Tapis (Akash) joined the chasers but could not sustain. Refuse To Bend was the only one to impress beside Rave On and ½ length separated the two on the line. Rave On, who hadn’t done too badly up to this race, was surprisingly neglected in the betting and was quoted at a lucrative 8/1 odds in the ring.
Bridge Too Far (Shailesh), after his suggestive last start second, was the tote favourite. Attempting it start-to-finish, Bridge Too Far faltered in the final furlong when Ring Bearer (Fargeat) produced a fiery onslaught to bolt ahead decisively and pocket the race a few metres from the winning post. Raging Chenb (Chouhan) ran a good race after changing both, name and stable (late Sleight Of Hand). Bridge Too Far was clearly overwhelmed but the one to note was King Of The Ring who covered a lot of ground towards the end and although his recent runs have not been encouraging, and having finished off the frame, the King gave an impression that he is striding his way into good form.
Ruby Rocket (Grant) never really recovered from a lethargic start and failed to justify the ‘favourite’ tag conferred upon him. As if the slow start was not enough, the mare got tangled between horses at a crucial stage in the straight and lost out on whatever recovery was possible and ended in the rut. Appreciate did nothing to prove that his last start shock win over Raquel was not a fluke. Although stiffly penalized, Appreciate could not even finish in the top five. Star O’ War (Rajendra) was in striking position at the 400 m and bounded forward to register a handsome victory. Call To Arms (Aashish) went all out but made no impression on the winner. However, Red Dawn (Kharadi) was the one to catch the eye, as he poked and probed between horses for a clear run, and finally when did see daylight Red Dawn stormed in with a dazzle but could only finish as runner up to the elusive Star O’ War. Crespo (Dasharath) looked like gaining momentum nearing the distance post but failed to sustain.
Arktouros (Diffident–Girl From Ipanema) made an impressive debut, coming from a long way back and easily pass Secret Glory (Prakash) and the half money favourite Western Challenge (Srinath) who were in full flight. Secret Glory took charge early in the straight as Vantage fell back, with Western Challenge in close attendance. Jockey Neeraj Rawal had clearly assessed Arktouros’ response and nursed the gelding calmly even as Secret Glory was setting sights on the winning post. Western Challenge ran on, but could only close in on Secret Glory as he helplessly watched the strongly built Arktouros unleash a seething final gallop to snuff out the opposition without being fully extended and clocking a nippy 1:24.27.
Blue Ray (Alnasr Alwasheek–Bay Of Angels) provided trainer Pesi Shroff a back-to-back double in the division I and II of the YM Chaudhry Memorial Trophy. Rajendra seemed confident right from the start and it didn’t bother him that he was way back in the 12-horse field. In the straight too, Rajendra steered the bay colt on the wide outside and alerted him past the 400 m. Meanwhile, Lone Sentinel was losing out to Spitz (Fargeat) and Riyasat (Srinath) with Indian Summer (Chinoy) chasing them. The fighting trio were stunned by the strong finishing effort of Blue Ray who simply trounced the opposition and just one crack past the pack had Blue Ray bolting away from them leaving the rest to fight for the minor places. Blue Ray clocked a smart timing too of 1:- 24.80 secs for the 7 furlong distance.
The Samsonite Grand Mile saw seven horses going to the post and the favourite Personified duly compiled a fantastic hat-trick, winning all his three starts handsomely. Sitting well up, personified took charge soon on turning for home and sped away under the stick to establish a handy lead mid way up the straight. Livorno (Rajendra), who was racing in the rear, came on strongly towards the finish but never looked like getting the measure of the winner. Chouhan rode a copy book race and never caused any anxious moments and Personified (Razeen–Magical Moments) looked every inch a winner all through. The Karthik ward has developed into a top-class miler and can add to his tally.
Siroco (Kishore) ran straight as an arrow and the earned rich dividends in a fighting finish with Elemntto Angel (Dasharath). Trainer Rehanullah Khan needs to commended for correcting the wayward ways of the dark bay and jockey Kishore played his part to the hilt. As she stepped up the pace for the post, Tantrik faded out as Elementto Angle took command, Noble Replica (Neeraj) went all out but was not getting anywhere with the leader. At the distance post, Siroco appeared, full of running and easily zipped past Elementto Angel who ended next best. Nobel Replica came into place money. The favourite Roman Beauty finished last of ten, despite Grant making all out effort in getting the mare to respond. Roman Beauty just couldn’t raise a gallop and it would be wise to observe her form before waging on her again.
The last race was the most open race of the day but Landlord attracted a lot of betting. Can Can, Cinderella Man, Full Throttle and even Chief Warrior had their share of followers. As it turned out, the race in the straight was a commentator’s nightmare with the lead changing quickly and a wall of horses spreading out to outrace each other. Varun, Quaoar, Love Forty, Full Throttle and landlord were all in a line making a cavalry charge to the fast approaching finish. Can Can (Shailesh) was desperately looking for space and weaved himself through horses and once he got the opening, he swept past all and collared Full Throttle close home to land the spoils in a dramatic fashion. The Nina Lalvani ward covered ground rapidly towards the finish and his final burst was laudable.
Jockeys Rajendra and Kishore Kadam scored a brace each.
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