Dallas Todywalla trained Ruffina recorded a spectacular win in the Gr 1 Poonawalla Breeders` Multi-Million, the biggest race for juveniles, the feature event of Sunday`s Mumbai races. The daughter of first season stallion Excellent Art, Ruffina confirmed her status as a horse of amazing talent when blasting the opposition with a blistering turn of foot which had everyone gasping in wonder. The three-year-old filly who is owned by Dr Cyrus Poonawalla in partnership is the second horse to win this race in the colours of the Poonawalla family. Her Excellency had won this race in 1997 in the same colours. The breath-taking win of Ruffina should surely boost the prospects of Poonawalla Stud Farm`s new resident stallion Excellent Art tremendously.
The Poonawalla Multi-Million has generally not favoured the favourites. Ruffina had won both her outings in great style, the last win suggesting that she was truly exceptional. Though the race was very competitive with quite a few emerging stars in the fray, Ruffina went to the post as a strong favourite. Bangalore challenger Tutankhamun and Awesome Hooves were next in demand.
Lincoln and Phoenix Falcon were the pace-setters as the field set out for the seven-furlong trip. There was drama being enacted in the mid-field where both Tutankhamun and Ruffina were placed. Suraj Narredu kept Ruffina on the inside till approaching the final bend. David Allan showed tactical brilliance when he sold a dummy to Suraj by changing his mind swiftly by electing to come on the outside of Suraj who was astride Tutankhamun. Suraj perhaps was anticipating David to come on the inside of him but found himself denied a clear when Ruffina came on the outside of him. Tutankhamun was fractionally baulked for an opening even as Ruffina came up with giant strides and went storming clear with 300 metres left in the race. Tutankhamun went in chase of the favourite but the task was a futile win as Ruffina showed tremendous acceleration which she easily sustained till going past the winning post. Tutankhamun was a well-beaten second ahead of Timeless and Perfect Star. The winner clocked an excellent time of one minute 22.02 seconds. There should be no problem in tackling the extended trip of the Guineas and Ruffina should be a force to reckon with in the Fillies Classic depending on where her connections target the extremely talented filly. Ruffina simply outclassed the opposition with an a mind-boggling performance. Jockey David Allan was equal to the task displaying tremendous confidence and tactical sense and swelled the list of successes in big races in India.
Malesh Narredu trained Benefactor was an impressive second behind Awesome Hooves in his last run in a six-furlong million on the Derby day. Now taking on a less competitive opposition, Benefactor went to the post as a very sharp priced favourite to win the 1200 metres Dr Ghoolam E Vahanvati Gold Trophy, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Benefactor chased Gazino well into the straight before storming clear for an easy win. The one to catch the attention was Forest Fairy who finished powerfully to take the second position. Her finishing burst over a sprint was a good sign as the distance was sharp for the progeny of Arazan. The dam of Forest Fairy is a winner of the Indian Turf Invitation Cup.
The fancied runners flopped in the 1400 metres Hello! Classic, a race for horses rated 80 and above. Paramour was the one to get maximum support to win the race ahead of The Champ and Rule Downunder. Celtic Prince had less takers. Jockey Neeraj Rawal took Celtic Prince to the front from the start and the progeny of Dancing Forever kept on increasing the lead in the homestretch to go beyond the reach of the rest well before the final furlong. Paramour found the front-runner too hot to handle and had to settle for the second place ahead of Rule Downunder and The Champ who finished dismally in the fourth position.
Malesh Narredu`s Chizzler had made a belated winning debut in his last outing. The four-year-old progeny of Arazan who had undergone a tie-back operation was nevertheless backed strongly to record an encore. Jockey Sandesh kept Chizzler in the second position as Pink Panther set a fast pace. Chizzler gained ascendancy inside the final 300 metres as the four-year-old gelding went into a decisive lead. Miss Saigon made a good rally from way off the pace but found that the front-runner had gone too far from her. There was a dead-heat for the third position with Pink Panther and Dancing Lord going past the post locked together.
Faisal Abbas trained Abbey achieved a hat-trick of wins while denying the same privilege to Allora in the 1000 metres Serum Institute of India Trophy, a race for horses rated 53 to 79. Abbey led from the start and skipped clear when under pressure from Allora. With Trevor Patel not getting a clear run along the rails, he had to switch out but before he could do so, Abbey moved out forcing the jockey to go back to the rails. In the manoeuvre, Allora lost whatever little chances she had and had to be satisfied with the runner-up berth. Undisputed ran on well to take the third position ahead of Incentio.
Trevor Patel drove out Zadmal Singh trained Adeline to nose out Airlift to win the 1200 metres Rusi Patel Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Adeline battled it out with Grey Flannel to gain control of the race but the win was achieved only after an extensive hard work. Airlift closed with a powerful burst but found the front-runner escape to victory. Grey Flannel was third.
It took an all-out effort on part of jockey Neeraj Rawal to get Geranium to thwart the bid of Othello and Kitty Hawk to win the 2400 metres Intervalve Poonawalla Ltd Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Othello who took a fly jump at the start recovered swiftly and headed the field with a furlong left in the race. Geranium had to be driven out to get the better of the front-runner which the favourite achieved in the shadow of the post. Kitty Hawk too threatened with a strong rally but fell short.