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Theon gets 360th Classic success for Usha Stud

  January 23 , 2022

Pesi Shroff trained Theon who had gone down to the experienced My Opinion by a narrow margin in the Stayers Cup last month made amends with an authoritative win in the Gr 1 Villoo C Poonawalla Indian St Leger, the last classic of the previous racing calendar, held on Sunday at Mahalakshmi. Jockey Trevor was in the limelight booting home four winners. Theon`s success swelled the classic tally of Usha Stud Farm to a whopping 360!

The Leger was traditionally held at Pune in the month of September but since the racing programme went topsy turvy because of the Pandemic, the Leger was shifted to Mumbai and perhaps for the first time, it was for five-year-olds instead of being for four-year-olds. Theon was the beneficiary of the changed programme as the late-maturing progeny of Multidimensional met with no opposition and cantered home at the expense of multiple classic winner Lagarde for whom the trip proved beyond his compass.

After the eye-catching effort in the Stayers Cup, Theon was considered as a certainty at least in the betting circles as he was expected to defy his handicap mark against the higher-rated Lagarde who had always faltered over the trips which put an onus on stamina. Lagarde was taken on a start to finish mission by Trevor Patel as there was no pace in the race before Apsara Star gave cover and led the way after traversing about four furlongs. Apsara Star led the field into the straight with Lagarde in the chase with Theon shadowing these two runners. Down the final furlong, jockey Pradeep Chouhan got busy on the favourite and Theon easily collared the two runners in front and went away for a win by a widening margin of five lengths. Lagarde was second with Apsara Star in the third position a distance behind.

Jockey Trevor Patel has been richly rewarded for coming back from Qatar to ride the remainder of the winter season in India. It has become very tough for smaller stables to win even the lowest category races as the well-bred horses begin their debut in this category. Pesi Shroff has been dominating the season so extensively that even though four-year-old Irrepressible for running for the first time in her career, she was the favourite to win the 2000 metres Noble Prince Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category.

Another well-bred horse Key To The Mint had the racing experience but he was allowed to run at nourishing odds. Trevor had Key To The Mint dictate the pace in front and he was allowed the luxury of dictating his own pace which worked to his advantage. Key To The Mint had a break of more than four lengths entering the straight and this enabled the front-runner to stay put in front and win the race from late rallying Irrepressible. Nine-year-old Power of Thor nosed out another nine-year-old Brazos to save place money.

Another Pesi Shroff trained The Bawaji who had gone down narrowly to stablemate last time out made amends with jockey Neeraj Rawal riding a confident race in front in the 2000 metres Sonny Brar Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Stablemate Mandeville was slightly held up along the inside for clear room but it was clear that The Bawaji would have won in any case. Treasure Gold was third. Apprentice jockey Kritish Bhagat is being hailed as a jockey of potential but the way he rode Sun Gold did not enhance his reputation. He kept the horse so far back that the last start winner over 1000 metres had no hope throughout despite which he finished with a flourish to come within striking reach of the winner.

The well-bred Exclusive who was making his debut as a four-year-old was the firm favourite to win the 1200 metres Play.RWITC.com Plate (Div I), race for horses in the lowest category. There was inspired support for Lagad trained Remy Red close to race time. In the event, Trevor Patel who got the first run on his opponents going into the final furlong managed to keep his ward in front and thwarted off the strong bid of Remy Red. Seven-year-old Myrcella was third. Another four-year-old debutant Rodrigo, this time from the stables of trainer Dallas Todywalla, had no problem in swamping the opposition in the lower division of the race in the hands of jockey Trevor Patel. Brilliant Light made a late rally to neck out Chastity for the runner-up berth. The nine-year-olds and the ten-year-olds were also in the fray but they can only hope to make up the numbers during the season before fading out from action going by the competitive nature of these races because of too many younger horses dominating these races.

After an eye-catching third in his last start, five-year-old gelding Joaquin from the stables of Shazaan Shah looked too good in the small field of four runners in the fray for the 1000 metres Y M Chaudhary Memorial Trophy, a race for horses rated 60 to 86. Zeeshan let Hidden Gold do the pace-setting before assuming command down the final furlong. Joaquin spurted clear to win from late rallying seven-year-old mare Sharareh. Aegon was third while Hidden Gold disappeared to finish a poor fourth.

The got-abroad filly Balenciaga was believed to be ready to have a bold show in her debut run in the 1000 metres Change of Luck Plate, a race for maiden three-year-olds. However, the daughter of Acclaim was found wanting. Divine Thoughts who came in for good support close to race time was taken on a start to finish mission by Trevor. The fancied runner kicked beyond the reach of the rest in the final 100 metres to win impressively. Brave Beauty ran on to take the second spot ahead of the strong favourite.

Shazaan Shah trained The Rambler who had recorded two back-to-back wins last Mumbai season had come back to an identical winning mark and as such, the one-sided support in the 1400 metres Jehangir P Dubash Trophy (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 46, was on expected lines. Apprentice jockey Kaviraj had no problem in steering the favourite to a facile win by over four lengths. Ron ran on to take the second spot while Fleur De Lys was third another four lengths adrift. It looked as though most runners in the fray were reconciled to the defeat. Vishal Gaikwad trained Evangeline was backed to the exclusion of the rest in the lower division of the race. Jockey Zervan had no problem in guiding the favourite to a start to finish win. Winter Storm ran on to take the second spot ahead of Dreams.

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