Sulaiman Attaollahi trained Forest Flame completed a hat-trick with a stylish win in the Gr 1 Poonawala Breeders` Multi-Million staving off the challenge of Golden Oaks in the final 50 metres to win the richest race for the juveniles at the Mahalakshmi on Sunday in front of a huge crowd. In fact, the first three finishers sported the Poonawalla colours with Lombardy who did the front-running staying on taking the third position. For the fourth successive year, the Poonawallas have bred and owned the winner of this race.
Forest Flame`s runaway win in the Breeders` Produce Stakes and the fact that she had already beaten Golden Oaks in her debut run at Bangalore ensured that she went to the post at a very cramped price. Golden Oaks was second in demand at eight to one while the rest were all quoted at big odds. Hyderabad challenger Lombardy was taken to the front by jockey Sandesh with David Allan settling Golden Oaks in the second position ahead of Air Blast and Forest Flame while the rest were spaced out behind. Lombardy quickened on turning for home with David Allan on Golden Oaks going in the chase with David Egan too getting busy on the favourite.
Golden Oaks surged ahead of Lombardy inside the final 300 metres and held the lead going into the final 100 metres even as Forest Flame made steady but sure progress in the persevering hands of David Egan. Forest Flame measured Golden Oaks closer to home and won sparing a little more than a length at the finish. Lombardy was third more than three lengths adrift. The first two finishers are from Bangalore while third-placed Lombardy is from Hyderabad with the local challengers getting totally outclassed. Both Forest Flame and Golden Oaks have established their credentials as horses of immense potential, and it remains to be seen how their progress during the summer season at Bangalore when they need to extend their staying ability over a longer trip.
This was the first success for trainer Sulaiman Attaollahi in this prestigious race. David Egan who has been riding with great success in his debut season in India further enhanced his credentials as an emerging jockey displaying perfect big temperament. Madras Race Club Steward Chaduranga Kantharaj Urs also is a partner in this horse along with the Poonawalla family, D R Thacker and Mukul Sonawala.
Altaf Hussain trained Silver Flames survived by the skin of his teeth to win the1200 metres Kumar R Dalal Gold Trophy, a race for horses rated 80 and above. Silver Flames took over the running from Texas Gold in the stretch and surged ahead. However, he did not quicken enough as the experienced Gazino came up with menacing strides. Both these horses fought out the length of the final furlong and went past the post locked together with Silver Flames saving the day by the proverbial whisker. This was the third straight win for Silver Flames. Excellent Gold was third.
Fanfare got a modest set to break the winless sequence after a gap of 322 days by easily accounting for the opposition in the 2400 metres Mystical Cup, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. After Rogue One led deep into the straight, the Shiraz Sunderji trainee Nicky Mackay brought Fanfare into contention midway in the stretch and after a brief duel with the front-runner, spurted clear to win with ease. Rogue One stayed on to take the second position ahead of stablemate Jager Bomb.
Shazaan Shan trained Joaquin built on his forward run to win the 1200 metres Intervalve Poonawalla Ltd Million, a race for maiden three-year-olds. In his last run, Joaquin had run third to Golden Oaks while El Capitan had finished second four lengths ahead. El Capitan was backed to the exclusion of the rest but much to the chagrin of the supporters, the public fancy took a fly jump at the start and despite an all-out effort by jockey David Allan, he was not inclined to raise a fluent gallop. This left the race at the mercy of Joaquin who led all the way in the hands of jockey Sandesh and easily held off the challenge of Market King who went wide under pressure. Circle of Love ran on to take the third position.
David Egan drove out Imtiaz Sait trained Free Gold to an exciting win in the 120 metres Dr Ghoolam E Vahanvati Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. In a race which saw constant changes in the front, it was Free Gold who came up with a late dash on the wide outside who held off the heavily supported Gods Plan to bring off a win at lucrative odds. Gods Plan was the horse which cornered all the betting in the ring. Going into the final furlong, Highland Lass held the lead but was soon overhauled by Properly Posh who shaped to have a decisive say. Free Gold who was in the rear of the field inside the final 350 metres was angled out to get a clear run on the wide outside. Free Gold produced a strong gallop to contain Gods Plan with Egan`s riding making a difference to the outcome. Trevor on Gods Plan was held up a critical stage of the race which affected his chances. While one jockey extricated himself from the mess, the other got into it! Free Gold was winning a race after a wait of 399 days.
Shiraz Sunderji trained Makhtoob brought off an upset in the 1400 metres Florrie & Freddy Sopher Gold Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Sunrise Ruby held sway till the final moments of the race with aggressive running in front but Makhtoob who made a late rally on the wide outside was able to beat the lesser fancied runner on the post. Sunrise Ruby faced a stiff challenge from owner mate Golden Hind and even as she was struggling to keep the lead, Makhtoob sprung a surprise with a powerful dash. Favourite Sultan Suleiman did not look the part and obviously something is bothering him.
Karthik Ganapathy trained Regal Shot won the 1400 metres Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy (Div I), a race for horses in the lowest category at nourishing odds. Regal Shot had been running consistently though he hadn`t won for 911 days. Jockey Pradeep Chouhan had Regal Shot chase Tough Cop into the straight before storming clear approaching the final furlong and easily held off debutant White River and Nightfall. Favourite Periwinkle was withdrawn at the gates. Pezula who was the favourite never raised a fluent gallop sticking to the rear and finishing exactly the way she began. David Allan drove out Dallas Todywalla trained Éclair, the first favourite for the lower division of the race, to a resolute win. David Allan pushed Éclair to take charge from Principessa inside the final furlong and charged home. Honourable Eyes came up with a late surge, but it did not make any impression on the favourite. Principessa stayed on to take the third position.
Silver Flames (David Egan up) winner of the Kumar R Dalal Gold Trophy
Fanfare (Nicky Mackay up) winner of the Mystical Cup
Joaquin (A Sandesh up) winner of the Intervalve Poonawalla Ltd Million
Forest Flame (David Egan up) winner of the Poonawalla Breeders` Multi-Million (Gr.1)
Makhtoob (C S Jodha up) winner of the Florrie & Freddy Sopher Gold Trophy
Free Gold (David Egan up) winner of the Dr. Goolam E Vahanvati Trophy
Regal Shot (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy (Div-I)
Eclair (David Allan up) winner of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy (Div-II)