Altamash Ahmed trained Augustus Caesar fought a thrilling battle with Awesome One all the way in the final furlong before prevailing in the 1400 metres Rajpipla Trophy, a race for horses rated 60 to 79, the feature event of Friday`s Mumbai races. Augustus Caesar looked vulnerable when Awesome One essayed a strong challenge in the final furlong, but the favourite dug deep and managed to prevail by a short neck.
Augustus Caesar who was bidding for a hat-trick was backed strongly to maintain the winning form while Awesome One too had his share of supporters to bounce back after a longish wait of 166 days. Augustus Caesar led from the start with Frivolous in the chase followed by Awesome One and Zenon. Awesome One cruised up alongside Augustus Caesar and shaped to collar the favourite but the latter fought back valiantly in the hands of jockey Neeraj Rawal and held the advantage till crossing the post. Zenon was third a distance behind.
Pesi Shroff trained Del Mar miraculously covered up for a poor ride by jockey Trevor and managed to win the 1200 metres Damodardas C Shah Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Del Mar did not make brisk progress early on and was in the rear though he was travelling handily. In the stretch, Trevor got into a mess trying to come through the middle and had to switch the horse on the wide outside with just a furlong left in the race. Luckily for the backers of Del Mar, the three-year-old gelding had enough class to measure the front-running Properly Posh in the waning yards of the race. Divine Glory was third ahead of God`s Plan.
Vishal Gaikwad trained Van Dyke who was running after 519 days was confidently backed to make a winning come back in the 1600 metres J V Shukla -Ashwamitra Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66 albeit with the benefit of two mock races. Van Dyke in the hands of jockey Trevor Patel got up just in time to edge past Western Front after chasing him into the straight. Closer home, Western Front ran out of reserves and Van Dyke could overhaul the long-time leader to prevail by half a length. Incidentally, the last time that Van Dyke had won was 713 days ago. Fencing who graced the wrong end of the field ran on strongly to finish third. Till End of Time who was in the betting ran a disappointing race.
Pesi Shroff trained Nicollini did not make the expected progress and was sorted out closer to home by Shiraz Sunderji trained Athulya in the 1800 metres Allaire Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. After Rogue One led deep into the stretch, Nicollini took charge and enjoyed a good a few lengths lead over Athulya. However, Nicollini who is by Epsom Derby-winning Australia out of Indian Derby-winning Jacqueline did not pick up speed and Athulya was able to rally well and nail the front-runner in the closing strides of the race. Rogue One stayed on to take the third position.
The betting trend in the ring for the 1400 metres Isn`t She Special Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 4 to 30, threw a confusing picture with Titanium and Twinspire getting support more by default than with any conviction as the form of both these horses didn`t look great. Narendra Lagad trained Black Cherry appeared to be quietly fancied at 7 to 1. Titanium who was handily positioned at the top of the straight did not look capable of delivering the expectations as he struggled to overhaul pacesetter About The Cloud in the stretch. Even as he was struggling, Black Cherry moved up from about the fifth position at the final turn and came up with a big run and sailed clear inside the final 200 metres and won with by a margin of over two lengths. Grand Sinatra ran to get the better of Titanium for the second position while the other horse in betting Twinspire was an unimpressive fourth. M K Jadhav trained Peerless was the favourite to win the lower division of the race. Peerless waged a stiff battle for supremacy in the final furlong with Regal Shot before storming clear to win the race with a measure of comfort. Dragonmoss ran on to save place money.
Malesh Narredu trained Mystic Bay proved too good over a scurry in the M M T Pandole Plate, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Mystic Bay did not receive the kind of support he deserved with Namaqua being enthusiastically supported to bounce back to winning ways after a gap of 182 days. In the event, Namaqua who led in earnest weakened in the stretch the moment Mystic Bay essayed his challenge. Mystic Bay bounced clear in the final furlong to provide visiting jockey David Egan with an easy win. Chephirah held off late rallying Ebony to get the runner-up berth.
Van Dyke (Trevor Patel up) winner of the J V Shukla - Ashwamitra Trophy
Athulya (Nicky Mackay up) winner of the Allaire Plate
Augustus Caesar (Neeraj Rawal up) winner of the Rajpipla Trophy
Successor (David Egan up) winner of the Y M Chaudhry Memorial Trophy
Black Cherry (J Chinoy up) winner of the Isn`t She Special Plate (Div-I)
Del Mar (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Damodardas C Shah Trophy
Mystic Bay (David Egan up) winner of the M M T Pandole Plate
Peerless (Akshay up) winner of the Isn`t She Special Plate (Div-II)