Leo D`Silva trained Corfe Castle put behind the below par effort of last time out and literally mowed down the opposition in the Gr 1 Poonawalla Breeders` Multi-Million, a rich terms race for three-year-olds, the star event of Sunday`s Mumbai evening races. Outstation horses performed well with the second position gained by Bangalore challenger Star Superior. The fancied duo of Pioneer and Athenaeus flopped miserably.
The Poonawalla Million which is in its 29th year, has always held the fascination of owners if only because it is the richest juvenile event in India and the same is held with lot of pomp and pageantry. Though the value of this race is somewhat diluted because of the surfeit of millions, the race has retained its charm not only in terms of the stake money that is on offer but also because of the prestige associated with the race. This year the honour of saddling the winner went to Hyderabad trainer Leo D`Silva who recorded his win in Mumbai as a trainer. Though Leo has been a champion at his home centre for a number of years, he hasn`t raced his wards much outside other than being a regular during the Bangalore Summer Season.
The race had an open look about it as none of the horses had outstanding credentials to back their claim. Malesh Narredu trained Pioneer had recorded back to back wins but those wins had come against modest lot of horses. Athenaeus who had beaten the highly rated Corfe Castle back home at Hyderabad was the most preferred runner among the outstation challengers. The rest of the runners made up the number if only because there was no further data available barring success run maiden races.
Albemarie did the job of setting the pace with Athenaeus, Astral Force, Dance The Dream and Pioneer racing in close proximity while Star Superior, Corfe Castle and Salvatore Dali were all in the rear group. Albemarie was the first horse beat when the others began to essay their challenge in the homestretch. Astral Force and Athenaeus were the first to make their bid with Dance With Dream being boxed behind the quickly improving Star Superior and Corfe Castle and had to be slightly checked. Corfe Castle who was in the penultimate position at the final bend, moved swiftly along the rails and was travelling so powerfully that the horse himself created spaces on the inside and shot ahead with a furlong left in the race. Corfe Castle broke clear of the pack to record a comfortable win by over three lengths in a smart time which was fractionally slower than the course record. Star Superior made his bid on the wide outside and covered plenty of leeway in the straight to take the second position. Oomph rallied along the rails to grab the third position ahead of Astral Force. The fancied duo of Athenaeus and Pioneer were no match for the brilliance of those who finished ahead of them.
Corfe Castle helped create a new record in this event. Last year, Ruffina who is a full sister to Corfe Castle had won this event in identical fashion. Leo D`Silva was immensely pleased with the performance of his ward who he felt enjoyed the extended trip of seven furlongs and also was helped by a trouble-free passage. He said he would be taking Corfe Castle for the Bangalore Summer Season. The performance during the Summer Season has largely been a guide for the classic scenario all over the country.
Vishal Gaikwad trained Masterofbalantrae had won back to back races during the last Mumbai season and hadn`t raced since then. The horse was subjected to strong preparation with the benefit of two mock races and despite the long absence from the track, was well backed to win the Sir Victor Sassoon Gold Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66 along with Tanjo and Albareto. Masterofbalantrae took over the running from Orion`s Belt on turning for home and surged ahead. Tanjo went in chase of the front-runner and the duo fought all the way in the final furlong with Masterofbalantrae holding on to the lead with a resolute effort. Tanjo`s all-out effort thus went in vain. Albareto showed up with a flourish in the final furlong but drifted out under pressure and had to settle for the third slot.
Dallas Todywalla trained Chaplin had flopped over the extended trip of seven furlongs last time out but now brought back to the more suitable trip of six furlongs, he gave an assertive performance in the Red Buttons Plate, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Chaplin easily measured the front-running Slam Dunk in the straight and stretched away for a facile win. Fringe Benefit produced a strong effort to take the second place. In a cluster finish for the third place, Vistana edged out Invictus Maneo and Eternalinspiration. Cerrado who was sporting blinkers for the first time, continued to flop. Renato who stayed in touch with the runners till turning for home, suddenly fell back, went wide in the straight and pulled up in distress.
The withdrawal of join favourite Epiphany at the gates made things easy for the heavily supported Southpaw in the 1000 metres Mystical Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Southpaw went clear in the final furlong and won with ease from Adams Beginning who necked out Fine Tune for the third place.
In a match race for the 1600 metres Rusi Patel Trophy, a race for horses rated 80 and above, Cambridge in the hands of jockey Sandesh led all the way and kept the challenge of Supreme General at bay to land the spoils with great deal of ease.
Narendra Lagad trained Impala had run a fair race last time out but was neglected in the betting ring for the 1000 metres Dr Ghoolam E Vahanvati Gold Trophy, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Run Forest Run was quoted at a very sharp price for his success. Trevor had Run Forest Run lead all the way in the straight but was beaten in the final stride of the race by Impala who put up a gusty effort to win by the proverbial whisker. Pablo was third.
Imtiaz Sait trained Jager Bomb managed to get the verdict in the waning yards of the 2400 metres Intervalve Poonawalla Ltd Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Sagittarius held the initiative in the final furlong but Jager Bomb who finished powerfully, overhauled the front-runner with ease to record a comfortable win. Zanara who held fort for a long time with a front-running mission, weakened to finish third.
A Jodha In It To Win It obliged huge expectations by gamely staving off the spirited challenge of Admo to win the 1600 metres Tattersalls Mile, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Another fancied runner Counsellor performed poorly.
Cambridge (A Sandesh up) winner of the Rusi Patel Trophy
Impala (Dashrath Singh up) winner of the Dr. Goolam E Vahanvati Gold Trophy
In It To Win It (C S Jodha up) winner of the Tattersalls Mile
Jager Bomb (C S Jodha up) winner of the Intervalve Poonawalla Ltd Trophy
Corfe Castle (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Poonawalla Breeders` Multi-Million (Gr.1)
Masterofbalantrae (A Sandesh up) winner of the Sir Victor Sassoon Gold Trophy
Chaplin (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Red Buttons Plate
Southpaw (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Mystical Trophy