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Punjabi Girl defies expectations

  June 17 , 2018

Sulaiman Attaollahi trained Punjabi Girl defied expectations by winning the Gr 1 Fillies Championship stakes, the first classic of the season on Sunday after a pathetic performance in the lead-up race. The transformation came as a surprise because when Punjabi Girl ran last time out, the conditions were similar and the hence the disproportionate improved performance could only be attributed to the slapping of blinkers. In a handicap race, Punjabi Girl had finished 14.8 lengths in her last effort!

With the horses of superior credentials like Punjabi Girl and Catalonia having performed poorly in their lead up races, it was difficult to pick anyone to win this race with conviction. Moreover, this race has the history of producing upsets barring odd exceptions. Isn`t She Lovely who had made an impressive debut was widely reckoned to have a fair chance. Realmoffantasy who had a good record back home at Hyderabad did not have a run benefit to her credit which could be the reason why she was not enthusiastically supported.

Mumbai challenger Oomph took over the running when the horses were dispatched for the mile-long trip, with Realmoffantasy in close attendance while the ones which came into strong reckoning much later in the race like Isn`t She Lovey and Punjabi Girl were in the rear. Rounding the final bend, jockey C S Jodha pushed Realmoffantasy to take over the running. Isn`t She Lovely who was brought from way off the pace, showed out with a strong effort and came to challenge the front-runner. In the meanwhile, Trevor brought Punjabi girl with a lightning run on the wide outside. His stronger finish and the racing experience of Punjabi Girl made the difference to the outcome of the race as the progeny of Win Legend got the better of the front-runner in the shadow of the post and kept Isn`t She Lovely confined to the third place. Realmoffantasy ran to her potential while Isn`t She Lovely relatively lacked experience in comparison to those two who finished ahead of her. She should prove her mettle as she gains in racing experience.

Dancing Dragon has proved to be a revelation as a four-year-old. Rated highly by his erstwhile trainer to be the best horse in his yard, Dancing Dragon made a late debut and has remained unbeaten. His smashing win in a race which had the Fillies Championship Stakes winner Punjabi Girl finishing way behind ensured that this progeny of Phoenix Tower went to the post for the 1600 metres Winner`s Circle Trophy, a race for horses rated 75 and above, at very cramped odds. Trevor was very relaxed on the favourite, sitting way off the pace, allowing the front-runners to expend their energy. Dancing Dragon was brought into the straight along the rails and had a huge opening for himself. Dancing Dragon in no time stormed clear and won by a widening margin of nine lengths over Sana and Bold Command. Dancing Dragon is in tremendous form and he has the potential to graduate into graded race company.

The day`s opener, the 1100 metres Cape Dance Plate, a race for maiden three-year-olds, saw Prasanna Kumar trained Anifa make a winning debut. Charmaine and For Et Amour were the market fancies but both these horses had wide outside draws which on the local track are a big hindrance. For Et Amour also lost ground at the start which took away whatever chances she had of winning. Rank outsider Anifa hit the front from the word `go` and this well-bred daughter of Excellent Art out of top-class sprinting mare Evatina showed enough speed and resolution to draw clear of the rest in the straight. Wings of Desire ran on to finish second ahead of Charmaine. For Et Amour who recovered lost ground quickly and made her move on the wide outside, could not overcome the poor start and could only finish fourth.

Sedulous who had gone fighting as a favourite last week made quick amends when winning over seven furlongs in a race meant for horses rated 45 to 65. Capo De Capi who had run in a much better company was the firm favourite while the rest were all quoted at liberal odds. Surf Romance went on a start to finish mission, with Capo De Capi racing in earnest in the second position. Despite Trevor`s strong effort, the favourite failed to pick up steam and looked a beaten cause well before the final furlong. Sedulous came up with a brilliant effort from about the fifth or sixth position at the final bend to sail past the front-runner to record a smashing win. Surf Romance was second ahead of last start winner Standout. Capo De Capi disappeared from the sight in the final furlong. Capo De Capi`s poor performance is hard to explain.

The lower division of the Ich Dien Plate (Div II), a race for horses rated 15 to 35, threw a confusing scenario. The odds quoted on ante-post favourite Mischief Flyer shot up with big money coming on Brunesco, perhaps more by default. In the event, Mischief Flyer who took over the running from the start had no problem in staying put there. Love for Life chased the front-runner in vain and could only finish second best. Irish Prince who stayed in touch with the eventual winner from the start, held on to the third place from late-rallying Brunesco.

Anfia (A M Tograllu up) winner of the Cape Dance Plate

Mischief Flyer (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Ich Dien Plate (Div-II)

Sedulous (S Zervan up) winner of the V.Venugopal Naidu Memorial Cup

Punjabi Girl (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)

Dancing Dragon (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Winner`S Circle Trophy

Brooklyn Supreme (Chetan Kalay S up) winner of the A.M.C.Gowda Memorial Cup

Grecian Light (Ahsan Qureshi up) winner of the Ich Dien Plate (Div-I)

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