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Joseph O’Brien tastes Indian success atop Centrestage

By: True Blue   December 23 , 2012

Centrestage (Noverre-Naivement), the Vijay Mallya owned filly from Pesi Shroff`s yard, gave Irish jockey Joseph O`Brien his maiden Indian success as she notched her second career victory in the P. M. Rungta Gold Trophy.

Centrestage (Joseph O`Brien up), winner of P M Rungta Trophy, being led in by trainer Pesi Shroff.

With A. Sandesh left standing on the starting stalls as King Julien jumped out riderless, the field was effectively reduced to six and Brave Vision took the responsibility of showing the way to his rivals. Barringo slipped through the shortest way home as the field was homeward bound but couldn`t get past Brave Vision. Meanwhile the lanky Joseph astride Centrestage changed gears and got the filly to get going. She veered out momentarily under pressure but Joseph got her back on track swiftly and then strode clear of Brave Vision and Barringo. The former lost the second slot by a whisker and his rider was reportedly pulled up by the stewards for his ‘pretending to use the whip in the closing stages of the race`.

Dashrath Singh stole the limelight with a fine winning treble. His first two winners came right at the start of the day astride Be Cool (Ontario – Be Mine) and Dance Debonaire (Royal Gladiator – Danseuse) who were saddled by S. K. Sunderji and Narendra Lagad respectively. Be Cool took some jostling in the initial stages of the five-furlong scurry but made steady progress under Dashrath`s urgings to easily overhaul leader Al Zamarud close home. Trump Card and Victorious Cause ended third and fourth respectively.

Bonobo led the over the mile-and-half trip and had Dance Debonaire in chase as the five horse field was strung out in a single file. The real action started only when the heads turned for home with Dashrath making his move with Dance Debonaire followed by Suraj Narredu astride favourite Romantic Beauty. In the ensuing battle between the latter two horses, Dance Debonaire maintained her narrow margin to beat her elder half sister by a head. Although she is no great shakes, the run of Romantic Beauty was worth taking with a pinch of salt.

Before the meaningful races in the card could be run, S. Zervan ridden half-money favourite Clinton (Razeen – Veena`s Pet) from Shyam Habbu`s yard registered an encore. Clinton though had to be ridden out to keep Red Baron at bay. Swift Memories retired to finish third after leading all the way while Angel Crown completed the frame.

The fancied duo Divine Inspiration and Il Moran were upset by A. Sandesh ridden Winning Destiny (Ikhtiyar – Willy Nilly) in the lower division of the G. Essaji Trophy. The Rehanullah Khan trained gelding went straight down to business as the gates opened and was never headed by any of his rivals. Richard Hughes ridden Divine Inspiration raised a late gallop only when the race was in the safe-keeping of Winning Destiny (formerly Cheponski) while Il Moran ended last after being in the hunt till the last furlong or so.

The race for two-year-old maidens had an exciting finish in store. Veena`s Star headed the field and brought her nine rivals into the home stretch. As Veena`s Star ran out of fuel and started to retreat, Rekindle (Alnasr Alwasheek – Mitzvah) took over the running when spurred by Liam Jones. The Karthik Ganapathy schooled filly was strongly challenged by Trance, who had her own band of followers. Rekindle emerged victorious after a keen tussle with Trance and later survived the frivolous objection lodged by Dashrath who rode Trance. Falcon ended a game third ahead of My Freedom. Amistad may have needed this outing as he ran on from the rear to end fifth.

Dallas Todywalla trained MasterOfTheSky (Major Impact – Matisse) made amends for his previous failure as Suraj Narredu succeeded in getting him to hit the front. The chestnut colt brushed off the none-too-serious threat posed by his rivals shortly after turning for home and raced away merrily for the second win of his career and the first for his new owners. Mahima rallied late to finish second while Awesome Smile came from nowhere to finish third ahead of Bongani.

Sheer Romance (Oath – Romantic Notes), who failed to figure on board in all her three attempts during the Pune season, showed remarkable improvement on that form to graduate from the maiden ranks. The Narendra Lagad saddled filly put in a sustained run in the hands of Dashrath opposite the stands to collar Prince, RidingOnTheStorm and Blessed who were racing ahead. Windmill Lady woke up late from her slumber and finished runner-up with her late flashy run. Blessed and Prince followed them home.

After playing second fiddle on three successive occasions, Faisal Abbas trained New World (Razeen – Forest Paradise) finally found his mark when ridden by Trevor Patel. No-hoper Star Builder led the field followed by Crrisp, Sophisticated and favourite Winston. Crrisp led briefly in the final run-in but had Winston and Sophisticated gnawing at his heels. Winston grabbed the lead with Joseph O`Brien driving him hard but New World had gained momentum. The second favourite surged ahead and despite lugging-in badly thereafter, Trevor did well to keep him on course his maiden win. Winston kept the second place while Shadow of Time laboured hard before ending in the money ahead of Sophisticated, who gave a forgetful performance.

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