Dallas Todywalla trained Excellent maintained his winning run by easily accounting for the opposition in the 1600 metres Gr 3 S A Poonawalla Million, a terms race for three-year-olds, the feature event of Sunday`s Pune races. The Poonawalla family is always known to spend money to promote their events and this had paid off with a colourful gathering thronging the race course to bring some cheer to the mundane proceedings.
Excellent opened as a short-priced favourite in the morning odds but the same expanded to more than the double the value that he was quoted at. This was because Van Dyke who had run a faraway third in the Bangalore Summer Derby came in for spirited support in the hope that his experience would be key to his chances. In the event, such an expectation was misplaced with Van Dyke, after being prominent into the straight, disappeared from sight in the stretch and eventually finished in the penultimate position. Neeraj Rawal who had Excellent racing in a handy second position got busy on straightening for home and the favourite easily overhauled the front-runner and went storming ahead. Adjudicate came up with a big challenge along with Pioneer and Bangalore challenger New Moon who would have been better served by a more experienced rider and better positioning. Excellent had enough cushion when passing the post ahead of Adjudicate. Pioneer rallied well to stave off New Moon for the third position.
Pesi Shroff-trained Costa Brave looked set to continue his winning form in the 1400 metres Serum Institute of India Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. The progeny of Phoenix Tower was well supported to win. Costa Brave encountered an unexpected resistance from front-running Flag Flying before the favourite shook off his challenger to record an emphatic win. Pablo struggled in a forward position but managed to save place money from Arc Shine.
Malesh Narredu trained debutant Excellent Sorrento rallied late in the race to clinch the 1200 metres Villoo C Poonawalla Million, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Chosen One had stolen a march with a furlong left in the race but close home was overhauled by the flourish shown by the progeny of Excellent Art. Sharareh was third ahead of Outrageous who performed way below expectations. Favourite Excellent Times also finished in distress in the last position.
Apprentice jockey A S Peter drove out Malesh Narredu trained Enchanted to a resolute win in the 1200 metres Dr P K Sardeshmukh Maharaj Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. The open nature of the race was reflected in the odds offered by the bookmakers. Peter manoeuvred Enchanted from the wide outside to take over the running midway through the race and thereafter drove out resolutely to keep his horse in front. Xoxo made a strong bid but fell short. Skysurfer got the better of favourite Run Forest Run to save place money.
Imtiaz Sait trained Iron Age had won in such emphatic fashion that it was hard to look for any other horse to win the 1000 metres Kumar R Dalal Cup, a race for horses rated 50 to 76. Jockey Trevor Patel had an armchair ride to victory on the short-priced favourite who won the race by a widening margin of five lengths without the jockey having to make any exertion. In the form that he is in, the progeny of Strong Suit should maintain his winning ways. Colombiana Princess got the second spot ahead of Fine Tune.
M K Jadhav trained Till End of Time brought off a remarkable win in the 1600 metres Rao Saheb Kedari Gold Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Till End of Time hadn`t won for a long time and the filly was quoted at long odds. Punters found it hard to pinpoint any horse with any degree of conviction to land the spoils. Sandesh sat unperturbed on the lesser fancied runner in the last position till turning for home. When he made his move midway through the stretch, the response from the progeny of Dancing Forever was remarkable. Till End of Time zoomed past Valegro to win as she pleased. Zanzibar made a late dash but had to be content with the third spot.
A quiet gamble was brought off on Smart Choice in the day`s opener, the 1000 metres Jaidev Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. In the hands of apprentice jockey Raghuveer Singh, Smart Choice produced a powerful burst of speed in the final furlong to win from Cezanne. Favourite Bidstone Hill was in the hunt right till the end before weakening to finish third.
Smart Choice (Raghuveer Singh up) winner of the Jaidev Plate
Enchanted (A S Peter up) winner of the Dr. P. K. Sardeshmukh Maharaj Trophy
Excellent Sorrento (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Villoo C. Poonawalla Million
Excellent (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the S. A. Poonawalla Million (Gr.3)
Costa Brava (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Serum Institute Of India Trophy
Iron Age (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Kumar R Dalal Cup
Till End Of Time (A Sandesh up) winner of the Rao Saheb Kedari Gold Trophy