Sulaiman Attaollahi trained Forest Flame managed to stave off the stiff challenge from Miss Muffet and also benefitted from the misfortune of Alluring Silver to achieve the target of winning the Gr 1 Gool & Soli Poonawalla Indian 1000 Guineas, a terms race for four-year-old fillies, the feature event of Sunday`s Mumbai races held at Pune. Forest Flame is owned in partnership by the Zavaray Poonawalla family along with Chaduranga Kanthraj Urs, Mukul Sonawala and D R Thacker.
Forest Flame who had won four races on the trot including the Bangalore 1000 Guineas and the Poonawalla Breeders` Multi-Million was expected to maintain her dominance and the price quoted for her success indicated this belief. Forest Flame however did not have things her way. She had to be ridden out to prevail in the end. A combination of circumstances including the slow pace of the race made Forest Flame toil harder but the fact remains that there could have been a twist to the tale had it not been for jockey Suraj Narredu on Alluring Silver running into a storm at a crucial stage of the race. While Forest Flame kept her date with destiny, Alluring Silver`s hopes were dashed as the luck of the race was against her.
Jockey Akshay Kumar on Smashing Blue found himself in the front as the others managed to get cover for their horses. The pace of the race was a crawl which also had a bearing on the way things panned out. Smashing Blue led the field into the straight with Miss Muffet hot on her heels with jockey Trevor Patel on favourite Forest Flame looking for spaces to make his bid and getting them. Suraj Narredu on Alluring Silver chose to take the gap on the inside but with Smashing Blue shifting back to the rails and One Wish rolling in, Alluring Silver was sandwiched between these two and had to be checked. The jockey had to get Alluring Silver to change course and though the filly finished with a powerful effort, she had too much ground to cover in too short a time. Forest Flame who was set alight by Trevor did not show the patented turn of foot as Sandesh on Miss Muffet was able to get his horse to put up a game fight. Forest Flame got stronger close home and spared a shade less than a length at the finish while Alluring Silver was a similar distance behind the runner-up.
Noble Queen who was racing in the rear of the field went down in the stretch resulting in jockey Yash Narredu suffering a collar bone fracture.
Forest Flame could next be competing in the Indian Oaks. However, she will not go into that race with an aura of invincibility. The one horse which surely would be a hot horse for the Oaks will be the Imtiaz Sait trained Miss Muffet who stayed on strongly. She is bred to stay and she will be a formidable horse in the Oaks.
Last start winner Hidden Gold recorded an encore yet again at the expense of Storm Breaker but more authoritatively this time out. Storm Braker was strongly preferred to put it across Hidden Gold in the 1000 metres Col Kaikhushroo Maneckji Bharucha Memorial Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. After chasing Impala into the straight, Hidden Gold asserted his superiority in the final furlong and stormed clear to win the race easily from Storm Breaker and Memorable Memories.
Despite drifting out of a straight course and racing on the outer side of the track, Pesi Shroff trained Roaring Tiger was driven out by veteran jockey Srinath to contain the challenge of stablemate Fire N Ice to win the 2400 metres Uttam Singh Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Moriesiki was third while Historian did not show any improvement despite having recorded an impressive win last time out.
Vishal Gaikwad trained Birkin Blower was widely expected to record an encore as the horse which had finished behind him in the last outing had recorded a smashing win in the next essay and as such, the four-year-gelding went to the post for the 1200 metres Venus De Milo Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 46 at a very short price. Birkin Blower led from the start but close home began to slacken. Shamshir Sword who had lost some ground at the start steadily made progress and pounced on the front-runner in the final furlong and edged past the favourite in the closing strides of the race. Officer In Command was third some lengths adrift. The lower division of the race was won by long shot Rambler who took charge from the front-running Rospomare in the stretch and drew clear to win with ease from Stick To The Plan and Grand Sinatra. Favourite Hioctane ran way below par.
Victorious Sermon bounced back to winning ways with a comprehensive win in the 1600 metres Sir Rahimtoola Chinoy Trophy, a race for horses rated 60 to 86. Zervan had victorious Sermon lead from the start and the fancied runner who was at one time considered a classic prospect enjoyed in the foray in front and kicked clear in the stretch to win with ease from Mount Moriah who was the strong favourite. Odessa ran on to take the third position more than four lengths adrift. Last start winner Gallantry was a non-starter.
Pesi Shroff trained Seasons Greetings came good in the 1400 metres Lady In Lace Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 4 to 30. Pradeep Chouhan took Seasons Greetings to the front from the word `go` and the favourite easily tackled the challenge of Beejay. Strongly fancied Posse was a tame third. Shiraz Sunderji`s Summer Knight had no worthwhile opponents to tackle in the lower division of the race and the favourite provided an arm-chair ride to victory for jockey Sandesh. Trinket was second ahead of Gandalf.
Rambler (H Zeeshan up) winner of the Venus De Milo Plate (Div-II)
Victorious Sermon (S Zervan up) winner of the Sir Rahimtoola Chinoy Trophy
Seasons Greetings (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Lady In Lace Plate (Div-I)
Nothing To Worry (S Zervan up) winner of the Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy (Vi Bart) Trophy
Roaring Tiger (Y S Srinath up) winner of the Uttam Singh Trophy
Hidden Gold (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Col. Kaikhushroo Maneckji Bharucha Memorial Trophy
Forest Flame (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Gool & Soli Poonawalla Indian 1000 Guineas (Gr.1)
Shamshir Sword (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Venus De Milo Plate (Div-I)
Summer Night (A Sandesh up) winner of the Lady In Lace Plate (Div-II)