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FROM THE HORSES MOUTH - Article for Thursday, 13th February, 2020 - By Cyrus Naterwalla

Posted on - 12 Feb 2020

FROM THE HORSES MOUTH - Article for Thursday, 13th February, 2020
 
- By Cyrus Naterwalla
 
 
Race No. 1:- The Blurr Plate – Div. II – Class V – No Whips Allowed – Distance :- 1000M
 
MAESTRO :- 6 year old gelding from the stable of Nazzak B Chenoy who has won 2 of his 18 starts till date, both the wins coming this season and both over 1200M, nosing out Officer in Command in his penultimate start to record his 2nd success. He ran poorly over 1000M last time out finishing 8th but has placed over it a couple of times in Pune and currently seems to be in good form. Gagandeep Mann takes the ride today, the field does not appear to be a particularly strong one and hence he warrants each way consideration and is likely to be involved.
 
ALLEZ LA BLEUE :- 4 year old filly trained by Altamash Ahmed who has run just thrice until now and is a bit of an unknown quantity. She has run only in maiden company until now, running twice in her juvenile season and finishing unplaced on both occasions and was then off the track for 9 months, reappearing on the final day of the Pune season where she again finished unplaced. She makes her handicap debut today and should improve from that Pune run. A Prakash who has been in good form this season has been booked to ride and having just her 4th start, she is open to improvement and if looking well in the preliminaries can spring a surprise. Dark horse.
 
DILBAR :- Speedy looking 4 year old filly from the H.J. Antia yard who has run just 6 times and is yet to show off her best but gave a glimpse of what she is capable of on her penultimate start when running a forward race in spite of being drawn very wide and kicking on to finish a close 3rd to Judy Blue Eyes over this trip. Again drawn wide on her last run over 1200M, she showed early speed and led into the straight before retiring and will be suited by the drop back to the minimum. She has again been drawn slightly wide in Stall 9 but not as wide as the 2 previous outings and this field looks decidedly weaker. D.R. Shubham has already won a similar race this season for the stable and in this company, she looks to have an outstanding chance to get off the mark and should be strongly fancied.
 
OUTSTANDING :- Fully exposed 6 year old mare from the yard of S.K. Sunderji who’s overall record is uninspiring having managed just 1 win from her 29 starts although she has also managed to place on 8 occasions. She looks to be relatively well placed at present, finishing runner up on a couple of occasions in Pune and has had just one start this season towards the end of December, finishing a close 2nd to Isinit with Maestro back in 6th. She has not run since then so returns from a short break but looks capable of being involved in the finish if resuming in the same form. P. Shinde who rode last time out keeps the ride and while she does look like she is likely to be involved in the frame from a good draw in Stall 2, her overall record is a slight dampener from a win perspective.
 
THEA’S PET :- 6 year old mare who is one of 4 runners for the Narendra Lagad stable in this field and appears to have the best rider with in form claimer P.S. Kaviraj booked to ride. Formerly known as Rishab’s Pet when in the care of Faisal Abbas, she did manage 1 win over this trip to shed her maiden tag and went on to finish a close 2nd over 1000M again off a mark of 39. Her mark has now slipped to 20 so she looks to be extremely well placed on the scales at present and she has had 2 runs this season to get her fit, making up a little ground from the rear last time out to finish 6th to stable companion Abraxas. She has to show that she retains her old ability after a string of poor efforts but is attractively weighted if she can produce her best form and is capable of striking here/
 
CONCLUSION :-Taking on mainly exposed older horses today, Dilbar looks to have found a good opportunity to get off the mark and is selected to emerge from the maiden ranks today. Her 3rd place finish on her penultimate run looks good enough form to score here. Outstanding, in spite of returning from a break shapes as the main danger while Thea’s Pet looks well handicapped on her previous form and can also be involved.
 
Race No. 2 :- The Picasso Plate – Class IV & V, 5 Years Old & Over – Distance :- 1000M
 
PLEIADES :- Lightly raced 5 year old gelding from the stable of Nazzak B. Chenoy who has won 2 of his 11 starts and has looked to be in reasonably good form on his last several starts. Taking his time to come to hand, he got off the mark on his 6th start around this time last year, pipping Isinit by a length over 1200M and then went on to finish a close 2nd to Shivalik Queen on his final run that season. He added another success over 6 furlongs in Pune where he had Ustad Pedro back in 4th when scoring by 1 ¾ lengths from Super Mario and he should confirm that form again today. He is having his first start this season so does seem to have fitness to prove and would have ideally preferred a 6 furlong trip instead of 5. Neeraj Rawal has been booked to ride today, he could have found some more improvement over the break and must be given an each way chance in spite of top weight and looks likely to be involved in the finish/
 
DANCING LANCES :- Enigmatic and lightly raced 5 year old gelding trained by Altaf Hussain who appears to be a quirky sort judging from the fact that he has raced just 5 times till date. He was well fancied on his first two starts, sent off a short priced favourite on debut but failing to sparkle and showing a little improvement next time out to finish a fair 3rd. Reappearing after a 5 month break, he scored a shock maiden win over 1200M in Pune, with Pleiades finishing 5th that day and today’s rider on board but was withdrawn on his next intended run. He made his season reappearance in January over this trip when probably in need of the run and did not run badly to finish 6th behind Slam Dunk. He should strip fitter for that run and improve and is still relatively unexposed. Akshay Gaikwad seems to get along with him well and understand his quirks and if he puts his best foot forward, he looks very capable of being involved and must come into consideration.
 
ISINIT :- Now 8 years of age but seemingly getting better as she progresses in her career, this 56 race veteran from the yard of S.N. Joshi has won 4 times and also placed on 18 previous occasions, and in spite of rigorous racing, appears to be in great heart at present. She has already had 5 runs this season, winning once and placing twice, the win coming over course and distance with today’s rider on board beating Outstanding by half a length. Upped to this class, she advertised her well being last time out when finishing on strongly to be runner up to Conscience and appears to have maintained her form and fitness. She looks to be at the top of her game at present and is expected to be involved in the finish.
 
USTAD PEDRO :- Sparingly raced 6 year old gelding who is one of 5 runners in this race for Narendra Lagad and a point to note is the booking of P. Trevor today suggesting that connections are quite strong. Winner of 2 of his 15 starts, he has been quite versatile racing over 1000 – 1400M and one of his 2 successes did come over this trip. He has had 2 runs already this season, both over 1200M and now drops down to this minimum trip. He did finish well beaten just 11 days ago so for him to improve enough to win now looks difficult but he looks capable of making the frame in this field and is worth considering each way with a strong rider up.
 
BRAVE :- Well bred 7 year old who has been performing well over this trip of late and has bagged the plum rail draw today which should suit his front running style. Winner of 2 races from 23 starts, he is not particularly consistent but usually runs well over this trip, both of his previous wins coming over it. He has had 4 starts already this season and went desperately close on his penultimate run when nabbed just a couple of strides from the post by Untitled with Westeros back in 3rd. He finished 4th behind Conscience last time out and is closely matched with Isinit on that run. P.S. Kaviraj who has been in good form recently takes the ride and he looks likely to attempt to make al.
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WESTEROS :- Speedy 5 year old gelding trained by Dallas Todywalla who has won 1 of his 9 starts so far and seems to be effective over sprint trips. He has run well on 2 of his 3 starts this season, finishing runner up to Tasch on the opening day and after a poor run in between, putting in a good effort last time out to finish 3rd behind Untitled and Brave. He is closely matched with Brave on that running and P.S. Chouhan as usual takes the ride. He looks to have a good each way chance in this company and should take a hand in the finish.
 
CONCLUSION :- A tricky event and difficult to make a clear selection but the speedy Brave might be the answer having bagged the rail draw and been in good form of late. Dancing Lances is also feared having had a lung opener this season although he is a moody customer while Pleiades is also considered although he may be rusty having his first run this term. Isinithas been in fine form and also comes into the mix and this is probably a race which is better left alone
 
Race No. 3 :- The Red Buttons Plate – Class III & IV – Distance :- 1600M
 
RHAPSODY :- Improving 4 year old filly from the powerful Pesi Shroff stable who has been raced selectively and has an excellent 50% strike rate with 3 wins from her 6 starts so far. A classic hopeful after scoring a runaway success over a mile in Pune, beating Hokkaido decisively by 2 ½ lengths, she managed to finish only 5th in the Pune Derby upped to 2000M. A winner over 1800M on her seasonal reappearance this term, she was taken to Bangalore to contest the Oaks but came up well short finishing a faraway 3rd to Anjeze. It is possible that she does not stay longer distances so she reverts back to a mile now which should suit her and she has had a short break to recover from her Oaks exertions. Her pattern so far has been to win alternate races so going by that she is due a win today and Y.S. Srinath has been booked to ride. She should do much better back at this more realistic level and looks a serious contender today back at this more suitable trip.
 
WESTERN FRONT :- Well performed 5 year old gelding from the Dallas Todywalla yard who likes to race prominently and has been fairly consistent in his 12 race career with 3 wins and 3 second place finishes mainly over this sort of trip. Needing a lung opener this season, he went very close over course and distance last time out, going down by half a length to Van Dyke with Fencing finishing 3rd that day. He comes out half a length better than Fencing and 2 ½ lengths better than Van Dyke on that running and David Egan who rode last time out, retains the ride. He looks to be progressing with his racing and looks to have a strong chance to score on the handicap.
 
VAN DYKE :- Very highly rated 5 year old gelding trained by Vishal Gaikwad who looked to be a Classic prospect in the making before suffering a setback which saw him off the track for a year and a half before making a winning reappearance in spite of the long absence, getting going late in the day to just collar Western Front close home and score by half a length. He was running after a very long break so is sure to improve significantly for that run and the handicapper has given him a chance with just a 4 kilo penalty. He is 2 ½ kilos worse off with Western Front on that last running but he is expected to be able to improve enough to defy that penalty. P. Trevor who rode him last time out keeps the ride, he looks to have the scope to make further improvement and is strongly fancied to defy the handicap and go in again.
 
ATHULYA :- Improving 4 year old filly from the in form yard of S.K. Sunderji who is a winner of 2 races from her 9 starts but has looked quite progressive in her last few runs and seems to be improving still. Winner of her maiden over 1400M on her final start in Pune, she has run thrice this term, making steady progress with each of her races and scoring over a mile last time out, getting up late to get the better of Nicollini. She has a 5 kilo penalty to tackle for that win and will continue to be partnered by Nicky Mackay. She is faced with much tougher opposition today so needs to improve significantly on the bare form and although she appears to have maintained her form and fitness, she looks more likely to fight it out for minor honours .
 
FENCING :- Exposed 7 year old mare trained by AdhirajsinghJodha who has won 4 of her 28 starts so far and seems to have hit a fine vein of form in her last 2 starts this season. She seems to be at her best over this mile trip and after finishing a very close 2nd to Golden Era who went on to win again, on her penultimate start, she again ran well to finish a good 3rd behind Van Dyke and Western Front last time out and is just half a length worse off with Western Front on that running. She looks to be well within herself at present, Dashrath Singh retains the ride and although she seems to lack the scope of improvement of the younger horses, she looks to be well placed on the scale and should not be ignored .
 
CONCLUSION :- Competitive in spite of the small field but Van Dyke is sure to improve for his run last time out which was his first run in 18 months and is selected to defy a 2 ½ kilo handicap differential and go in again. Rhapsody shapes as the main danger while the ever consistentWestern Front is the best on handicap and is also a danger
 
Race No. 4 :- The Priceless Plate – Class V – Distance :- 1600M
 
ONE FOR THE GLORY :- 4 year old gelding trained by Vishal Gaikwad who seems to be a late maturing type, having made his racing debut as a 4 year old on the 5th of January. A half brother to the speedy Bolt he seems to be more of a staying prospect and both his runs have been over a mile. He  was in fact sent off first favourite on his racing debut but clearly was in need of the run, ending up 4th to Ithaca in a race which has worked out very well with the winner, 2nd and 3rd all going on to win races subsequently. He ran a much better race next time out on the Derby weekend when upped to Class IV, leading for a long way and finishing on to be a close 4th to Bait & Switch. He drops back down in grade now and P. Trevor takes over from S. Zervan in the saddle which looks a big positive. The draw has not been kind to him, drawn very wide in Stall 15, but that should not be so much of a factor over this mile trip and he is expected to run well and fight out the finish. Form choice/
 
ÉCLAIR :- A half sister to two decently performed sorts like Uncle Scrooge and Bishop of Derry, this 4 year old filly from the Dallas Todywalla yard was given a lung opener over a sharp 6 furlongs on her belated reappearance after a long absence and should be much fitter and sharper with a run under her belt. She ran thrice in her juvenile season and the form reads quite well, finishing runner up to Makhtoob on her debut over 1400M, then running a fair 4th behind Juliette and Victorious Sermon before finishing a decent 4th in the Juvenile Fillies Championship behind the likes of Kariega and Thailand. Now running in Class V and with David Egan taking over in the saddle, her last couple of workouts have been impressive, she is likely to be much better than her current mark and looks a serious each way contender if she has made further improvement and must be one for the short list in this large field.
 
PARISIAN :- Highly rated 4 year old got abroad filly who represents powerful connections, being owned by the Shirke – Dhunjibhoy partnership and trained by Pesi Shroff. The dam was by the speedy Indian Ridge out of a Sadler’s Wells mare and the progeny who raced abroad both won races in England and Ireland so she looks a promising sort on pedigree and her sire Champs Elysees should inject the required stamina for this mile trip first time out. She appears to have been given enough preparatory work to be fit and ready to go although the booking of N.S. Parmar for her debut run may suggest that she is out for an airing. A paddock check is advised to ascertain her condition and if she looks fit and well then she begins life off a lenient handicap mark and could be good enough to tackle this lot and making a winning debut. One to note.
 
MULTIBAGGER :- Thrice raced Multidimensional filly from the S.K. Sunderji yard who has been fancied on a couple of occasions over sprints but failed to shine and is now being tried over a new trip. Working well from the beginning of the season, she was an odds on favourite to prevail on the opening day over 1000M but weakened after taking charge to end up 4th behind Godsword. Upped to 1200M and entrusted to Nicky Mackay next time out she again ended up 4th to Kalina, and is now being tried over a more galloping trip. Her half brother Hulk Smash managed just 1 third placed finish from his 14 starts so the pedigree is not inspiring but she may be able to unlock some more improvement over this longer trip and could battle it out for minor honours with Nicky Mackay in the saddle.
 
STARS FOR YOU :- Another potential improver, this one from the stable of Rehanullah Khan, she is the first foal of the classy Starry Eyes – winner of the Forbes Breeders Juvenile Fillies Championship Gr3. Runner up in the Indian Derby Gr.1, The Poonawalla Breeders’ Million Gr. 1 and the Gool S. Poonawalla Million Gr.3 and 3rd in the Indian 1000 Guineas Gr.1 The Indian St. Leger Gr.1, the RWITC Ltd. Gold Cup Gr.2 and the Fillies and Mares Stakes Gr. 3. She has been given 2 easy runs over inadequate trips, making some late headway over 1200M in the higher class last time out to finish 5th to Ron. She played up at the gates and was withdrawn on her last intended start on Derby weekend and is now eased in grade and upped to what should be a more suitable trip. C.S. Jodha has been booked to ride, she looks to have the scope to make some more improvement and is another unknown quantity who could prove to be a factor in this field and definitely should come into calculations. Has possibilities .
 
EX’S AND OH’S :-  4 year old filly trained by Imtiaz Sait who has a smart pedigree but is beginning to look exposed after 7 starts and appears to be just a modest sort at present. She looked to be finding form earlier in the season, ending up an excellent close 2nd to Akina Speed Star over 1800M on her penultimate run, but seemed to take a backward step last time out when strongly fancied over this trip and ending up a poor 5th to Rumba. A. Sandesh takes over in the saddle today for P. Trevor, she may still have further scope to improve and looks capable of getting involved if that last run is to be ignored. However, she looks vulnerable to classier types and is again more likely to fight it out for minor honours today against some potentially smarter and lesser exposed types.
 
SWEEPING MOVE :- A veteran in this field at age 9 but still seems to have the zest for racing and has been performing well in similar events this season, finishing a faraway 2nd on the last 2 occasions. She was a faraway 2nd to Rumba over a mile on her penultimate start and finished on in similar fashion over 1800M last time out, again finishing on late to be 2nd to Tasman. After being ridden by Bhawani Singh on the last 2 occasions, Neeraj Rawal has been booked to ride today which is a positive. However, she appears to be again pitted against some promising younger horses who have plenty of scope so while she is likely to fight it out for frame honours, it looks tough for her to win this having managed just 1 narrow win in her previous 25 starts. Place contender.
 
BIG BEN :- Maiden 5 year old gelding trained by M.K. Jadhav who is a half brother to Mekong Delta and seems to be just about coming to hand after having had 11 starts. He raced mainly over shorter distances in his first few starts without showing any ability but seemed to unlock some improvement when stepped up to a mile and above and last time out over 1800M, showed some ability for the first time when finishing on to be 3rd just behind Sweeping Move. That run suggested that he may just be coming to form now, he has been fitted with blinkers for the first time and K. Nazil takes the ride in place of N.S. Parmar. He comes right in at the bottom of the scale and if building on that last effort, can upset.
 
CONCLUSION :- A large field with several unexposed types but the debutant Parisian represents powerful connections and looks a potentially exciting got abroad who could prove to be too good for this lot first time out. In case she is in need of the run, One For The Glory seems to have a good level of form and could be the alternate solution as also Éclair who had very smart juvenile form and should be fitter after a lung opener.
 
Race No.5 :- The D.P.C. Kapadia Trophy – Class IV & V – Distance :- 1400M
 
RON :- Improving 4 year old gelding trained by Adhirajsingh Jodha who is a full brother to the likes of Saffron Flower, Fencing and Al Azeem (Stand and Dance) who were useful performers for the yard. He has run 4 times till date, having an educational run in Pune but has showed good form in his 3 starts this term. Finishing on well to be 3rd to Questina over 1200M on the opening day, he went on to finish a good 3rd again over this trip behind Noble Heir before opening his account dropped to 1200M last time out when hard ridden to beat Mikayla’s Pride by 2 lengths. He may have found that trip on the sharp side that day so the return to 1400M seems logical and he is likely to have improved again. A 5 kilo penalty for the win seems fair, A. Sandesh who rode last time out retains the ride and remaining in the same grade, he looks to have a strong chance to repeat and should make a bold bid for an encore.
 
OUI SAVAGE :- Stable companion of Ron and a half brother to the speedy Columbianaprincess, he is lightly raced having had just 7 starts and after seeming to go off the boil after his maiden win on his 2nd start, appears to be regaining his lost form. He finished on smartly to be a flying late 2nd over 1200M to Palomar when returning from a 4 month break and again made progress from the rear to finish a close 4th to Del Mar last time out. He comes from well off the pace so it may be worth trying him over this additional furlong and the booking of P. Trevor today is an encouraging one. He is tackling this trip for the first time but it is likely to suit his style of racing and he looks a strong each way contender if this new trip unlocks some more improvement.
 
BLACK CHERRY :- 4 year old filly trained by Narendra Lagad who has run 10 times till date over varying trips but looked vastly improved last time out over course and distance when coming with a powerful run to put the race to bed in a matter of strides and shed her maiden tag with ease with today’s rider up. She scored by 2 ¾ lengths from Grand Sinatra in the lower class and has been promoted now with a 5 kilo penalty. That was the first time that she was tried over 1400M so she is still unexposed over this trip and she looks open to further improvement. J. Chinoy who rode her last time out retains the ride, she seems to have maintained herself well since the last run and although taking on tougher rivals today, looks to have a strong chance to repeat and should not be ignored.
 
MOUNT MORIAH :- Improving 4 year old gelding trained by Dallas Todywalla who has run thrice till date, given an educative run over 1200M on his debut in Pune and has been tried twice over middle distances this season, running well on both occasions. He was a close 2nd to Lion King over this trip on his penultimate start before leading for a long way over a mile before being collared close home by Power of Thor and Fanfare, ending up a very close 3rd. Perhaps his stamina gave way over the longer trip last time out so he returns to 7 furlongs today and David Egan takes the ride for the first time replacing P. Trevor. He runs in new colours today for the first time, looks to be open to further improvement and is another who must be given a good each way chance and is likely to be involved.
 
SPEED AIR :- Sparingly raced 4 year old gelding in the care of Deepesh Narredu who returned after a long absence presumably after a setback, over an inadequate 5 furlongs and advertised his fitness when finishing on strongly to be runner up to Hidden Gold. He had run twice before in his juvenile season and went into many notebooks on his debut over 1200M when finishing on late to be an excellent 4th to Thailand, Missing You and Copper Queen. He ran poorly however in the Breeders’ Produce Stakes next time out and did not race again until his run about a month ago. He is sure to come on for that effort and improve and up at what should be a more suitable trip, with P.S. Chouhan in the saddle, he looks a strong contender to improve and looks to have a good chance to shed his maiden tag today.
 
EGALITE :- Once raced got abroad 4 year old gelding from the Pesi Shroff stable who was backed on his debut over what looked a sharp 1000M and seemed to find things happening too quickly managing to beat just one runner home. He should have learnt from the experience and stripped fitter today and is now being tried over what should be a more suitable 7 furlongs. Yard’s runners invariably find a great deal of improvement from their debut run so he is clearly expected to run much better today and is likely to give a much better account of himself and can be involved in the finish with N.S. Parmar booked to ride today. Keep an eye /
 
CONCLUSION :- Another tough and competitive event with several runners able to stake a claim and it is hard to narrow down the field. The ones who appear to be having an edge are Speed Air, who ran attractively over a sharp trip after a long lay off, Ron, who was a decisive winner over 1200M last time out, Mount Moriah who looks to be progressing nicely and the unexposed Egalite. The winner should emerge from amongst this quartet
 
Race No. 6 :- The Sir Charles Forbes Trophy – Maiden 3 Year Olds – Distance :- 1000M
 
AEGON :- Speedy looking debutant who is owned and trained by BezanChenoy and who’s full brother Aceros has performed relatively well so far in Bangalore. He has been showing out well in the morning gallops and Neeraj Rawal has been booked to ride suggesting that he will be fancied first time out. As with most of these, he is worth checking out in the paddock to see how fit and ready he is but looks to be one of these with a good chance to score in this field although he has bagged a very wide draw in Stall No. 10. Each way prospect and should finish in the frame.
 
RAMBLER :- LeitirMor colt from the stable of Shazaan Shah who has an attractive pedigree but is eventually likely to come into his own over middle distances. Both of his siblings have already earned Black Type, his half sister Glittering Gold finishing 3rd in the South Indian 1000 Guineas Gr. 2 and the Mysore 1000 Guineas Gr.3 while his half brother Rikki TikkiTavi was 2nd in the Major P.K. Mehra Memorial Super Mile Cup Gr.1 and 3rd in The Colts Championship Stakes Gr. 1, the Golconda Derby Gr.1 and the Golconda 2000 Guineas Gr.3. His full brother God’s Plan has shown promise in his limited runs so far and he appeals from a pedigree standpoint. He too looks to have been given a decent amount of prep work and has been moving well in the morning trials. P.S. Chouhan his retained rider takes the ride and he looks set to give a good account of himself on debut and should have a bold show first time out.
 
THEA’S CASTLE :- Arazan gelding trained by Narendra Lagad who has had just 3 workouts of late so may not be fully wound up but appears to be a speedy sort. Both his siblings Lady Barrington and Highland Lass have performed moderately in the sprint category and this 5 furlong trip should be right up his alley first time out. Stable jockey Dashrath Singh takes the ride, he merits each way consideration and could be involved in the frame.
 
GOLD CHARM :- The only runner in this field with prior experience which is a huge positive, this Adhirajsingh Jodha trained Varenar filly ran a forward race and rallied to finish up 4th to Benghazi over 1200M on debut and should benefit for the experience and also relish the shorter trip. She is likely to be fitter after the run, A. Sandesh takes over in the saddle from Dashrath Singh and she looks to have an excellent chance against a bunch of first timers and is strongly fancied to score here.
 
SMOKIN’ HOT :-  Exciting looking debutant from the Pesi Shroff yard who’s sire No Nay Never was an American Speedball who won the Gr. 2 Norfolk Stakes at Ascot and the Gr. 1 Prix Mornay in France and is sure to have injected some speed into his progeny. She has shown a decent amount of speed herself in her preparatory work and is likely to give a very good account of herself first time out. A paddock check is advised to ascertain her fitness but she appears to have had as much work as any of these, and with P. Trevor up and a good draw in Stall 4, she is strongly fancied to make a winning debut.
 
CONCLUSION :- No real form to go by and Smokin’ Hot looks another exciting prospect from the Pesi Shroff yard and is selected to get the better of Gold Charm who is the only runner with prior experience, having finished a decent 4th on debut. Rambler looks a promising sort and is also expected to run well.
 
Race No. 7 :- The Blurr Plate – Div. I – Class V – No Whips Allowed – Distance :- 1000M
 
HIGHLAND WOODS :- 6 year old gelding from the stable of NazakChenoy who returned to racing in Pune after a year and a half off the track and has been working his way back into form slowly. Winner of 1 of his 14 starts, the win came just before his setback and although he has managed to finish 2nd on 2 occasions since his return, he has not been able to increase his tally. He has had 4 starts this season, finishing 2nd to Antarctica over 1200M on his penultimate start and dropped to this trip last time out, he ended 6th to Untitled in the higher class. He would ideally prefer an additional furlong but is eased in grade into the lower class again and A.S. Peter has been booked to ride. He looks to be in decent form at present and can make the finish interesting.
 
RED CARNATION :- 5 year old gelding who is one of 4 runners from the yard and will be ridden by in form apprentice P.S. Kaviraj. Winner just once from his 20 starts, he has managed to place on 8 occasions and there seems to be an excellent chance that he will place again today but his win record is uninspiring. His solitary win did come over the minimum trip though and he has run forward races over 1200M the last twice so should appreciate the drop to 1000M. He looked a winner briefly on his penultimate run before being collared close home by Direwolf and Golden Steal (winner since) and last time out ended up a close 4th although no match for Odessa. He looks to be fit and well at present, has bagged a good draw in Stall 4 and looks a strong each way contender over this minimum trip.
 
ROMANTIC WARRIOR :- 7 year old gelding trained by H.J. Antia who has won 2 of his 19 starts till date and looks to have come back down to a handy mark. Both his previous wins came in relatively quick succession over sprint distances and after a string of poor efforts, he indicated that he was potentially well treated last time out when running an encouraging 4th behind Hidden Gold over this trip with the same rider up. That run suggested that he was coming back to form, he is now on a mark of 30 compared to his earlier mark of 45 and with D.R. Shubham retaining the ride, he looks to be a strong contender to score now and must be respected.
 
SALTBAE :- Speedy 4 year old gelding trained by Deepesh Narredu who was a pillar to post winner over 1200M in Pune and although he has not reproduced that effort in 3 starts since, he has been in or just outside the frame in both his previous runs this season and may have needed those to regain some fitness. He was 5th to Judy Blue Eyes over this trip last time out so Dilbar’s run in the opener may give an indicator to his chances and stable apprentice Gagandeep Mann takes the ride today. He seems to be working quite well of late and looks another worthy of each way consideration here.
 
HOLLYWOOD PARK :- Home bred half brother to Sabiq who was effective over a mile and from the small stable of Vinesh, this once raced filly was given an educative run over this trip in the higher class on her debut a month ago and is likely to have learnt from the experience. Her subsequent workouts suggest that she has improved since then and she is now eased in grade and P. Shinde has been booked to ride. She is an unknown quantity who should improve for the experience and looks capable of springing a surprise if she can reproduce her excellent work .
 
VA BENE :- Highly regarded 4 year old from the yard of Altamash Ahmed who has also run just once before, running quite promisingly over this trip on her debut in Pune when finishing a fair 5th to Warrior Clan. She has been brought along steadily since then and was scheduled to run in late December but was withdrawn the evening before the race. She too looks an unknown quantity who could be better than her current mark and although she might need a run after the extended break, A.Prakash has been riding well this season and she must be considered if looking well in the paddock. Dark horse .
 
CONCLUSION :- This is likely to be a straight fight between Romantic Warrior and Red Carnation both of whom look well handicapped and ran suggestively last time out. The former gets a slight preference. Va Bene and Hollywood Park are unexposed and could potentially spoil the party,
 
(Disclaimer : Views are entirely that of the correspondent only and RWITC takes no responsibility for the same).  
 
 

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