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Review of the 2nd day of Pune 2014 - By Shiven Surendranath

Posted on - 29 Jul 2014

Review of the 2nd day of Pune 2014
By Shiven Surendranath
The second day of Poona started more dramatically than most, at least for jockey Shrikant Kamble, who found himself looking at the skies above rather than the horses in front, as Annabeth bumped his grey Admiral Gray at the start dislodging him from the saddle.
Ember Lady, who had no such starting problems from draw 9, grabbed the rails and went for a “start to finish”. The rider less Admiral Gray soon joined her in the straight. As matters turned serious, Ember Lady had a more legitimate challenger on her outside when Kavraj Singh brought Glorious Crown to go ahead with a perfectly timed run near the 200.
All this while Annabeth, was quietly improving position and with 50 to go she strongly challenged Glorious Crown and it looked like an upset was on the cards but Glorious Crown held on and Annabeth lived to fight another day.
Trance, Oriental Rocky and Shygirl had the eyes and ears of most in the next.
Shygirl was the first one beat from the lot when coming into the straight. Oriental Rocky had everything right going for him and was in a handy position. Trance meanwhile was having a tough time negotiating what looked like rush hour Mumbai traffic, getting squeezed out of his lane numerous times.
Traffic or not, Trance, out of the 2007 Poona Derby winning mare Gobelin, was far too good for the field and won leaving the crowd far behind.
Fortune Favours (5th) and You’re The Boss (6th)  had their prep runs and their owners accounts should soon be jingling at the club’s accounts office.
Horse steaks aren’t a specialty in India, but there was a rumour going around that Cut Diamond, the favourite in the 3rd, had been gobbled up the previous evening by some hungry punters. Those gentlemen must have let out a loud burp of pleasure when past the 400 Cut Diamond was going backwards instead of forward.
Into the straight Lucky Charm made a quick move to improve position and it seemed like he might open the account for his stallion, Charmo, in Western India but Lucky Charm soon drifted out under pressure. Sunshine Heart, one of the long time front-runners, meanwhile drifted inwards but still kept going.
On a cloudy day Sunshine finally prevailed,even if it was only for a few minutes, bathing apprentice Santosh G in it’s warm glow as it gave him his first ever winner .
“Horses for courses” might be the old adage but trainer Narendra Lagad definitely has a strongcase for exchanging the word “horses” with “trainers”.
Trainer Lagad, once again opened his Pune season with a bang and scored with a popular double for the day, while making it three for the weekend.
This champion Pune trainer had the favourite in the 4th tuned to the minute. Samay Balwan took a good jump, sat third, lead into the straight and went away to win by 7 ½ lengths. So bloodless was his performance that he almost managed to make horse racing look boring for1:28.92 seconds
“Pepito choked” said the owner of the favourite, after the 5th race.
And choked he did, along with his army of supporters who might have also felt a two handed neck hug.
With Pepito falling back rapidly from 1st to 4th in the straight Spades, who was always sitting a handy 2nd, politely cleared his throat and sailed past notwithstanding the challenge from Simply Divine.
Invincible she wasn’t in the 6th. Drawn 12, the filly never had the speed to make an impression on the front running horses at any stage. If her supporters were still hoping against hope, at 600 from home it was safe for them to tear up their tickets and crumple them in their clenched fists as Brindaban was striding far too easily in front of her.
Deep Diver battled on strongly along the rails at the end but Brindaban was too good for this set and Diwan Arun Nanda’s saffron and white swastika soon flashed first past the post.
Siants and Sinners is the one to watch out for in his next run.
“It is a wise father who knows his own child”- Launcelot, Merchant of Venice, Act 2 Scene 2.
What Shakespeare penned in the 1600’s continued to ring true 400 years later. Which of the three 3 yr olds, carrying classic hopes, was going to be or not to be was the question in the Reuben Star Trophy Division 2
Prakash had asked his owners to be ready to lead in Merchantofvenice. Birthday boy Adhiraj Jodha was more than confident that he would reverse the “The Forbes Breeders' Juvenile Fillies' Championship” verdict on Zenofic and Mallesh was naturally moral on Zenofic, who was the on money favourite.
It was now left to see which father knew his child best.
As the race unfolded Royal Passion was seen striding freely in second spot behind Dhanyavad with Zenofic in 4th and Merchantofvenice along the rails in 5th.
Dhanyavad bought the field home and was soon overtaken by Royal Passion who sauntered away for a 4 length victory over Merchantofvenice even as he gave him weight.
Zenofic was a big let down as he lost his race round the bend.
Eventually Royal Passion’s father knew his child best and he will next be taking a tilt at the Gen. Rajendrasinhji Million.
Fire Engine is the one to note and had a good lung opener to go over a more favourable trip next time out.
The 8th race was crucial from the point of view of the punters. Not only was trainer Narendra Lagad’s Seven Sea’s meant to be the “good thing” of the day it also had a lot of doubles and “kainchi’s” rolling on to it.
At 600 meters, although travelling well,he seemed a little too far back in the pack and when he made his move past the 400 Seven Seas must have been as surprised as Kersi H Vachha, the sporting owner of Star Gazing, to see the horse reveal a sizzling turn of foot and match the favourite stride for stride.
Finally the Seas prevailed over the Stars and trainer Lagad proved once again why trainers like horses are also so difficult to beat on their favourite courses.
All those who had backed the Always A Rainbow progeny, Great Expectations, in the last are reportedly still looking for their pot of gold.
The favourite was at 4th or 5th throughout the race and never looked like living up to his name.
Jockey Sandeep Jadhav rode a top class race on Superlicious. Settled a handy 6th along the rails he waited till he got an opening and then punched bravely for home even as Scarlet Of Hope almost closed the doors on him at one stage.
All in all the first two days at Pune were an absolute cracker with something for everyone and left the aficionados looking forward to the next.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the author's personal views.)

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