Pesi Shroff trained Christofle held off stablemate Sea The Sun to win the Gr 3 1600 metres Shapoorji Pallonji Breeders` Juvenile Colts Championship, a terms race for three-year-olds, the feature event of Sunday`s Mumbai races. M K Jadhav trained Waikiki won the Forbes Breeders` Juvenile Fillies Championship, the other highlight of the day. Jockey Trevor Patel had a treble for the day.
This year`s Invitation Cup weekend saw the four Group I races being won by got-abroad horses, all of them above the classic age, putting a question mark on the Indian-bred horses which had dominated the classics during the last year. Pesi Shroff believes in arming himself with the best of the Indian produce and the got-abroad so much so that his firepower is always imposing for the others to handle especially in the classics and graded races. In Christofle and Sea The Sun, the one-two finishers of the Colts Championship, he has horses which can make a mark in the classics. Much will be heard of them if they campaign during the Bangalore Summer Classics. There is no doubt about the impeccable pedigree that they command besides the fact that they have also proved to be first-season performers.
Coming back to the race, it was hard to look beyond Christofle who had recorded a smashing debut win. By the French Derby winner Le Harve who has already made a mark as a stallion, Christofle towered over the opposition, with the only possible threat expected to come from the progeny of Sea The Moon, namely Sea The Sun who had run second in his debut outing. In keeping with the market expectations, Christofle recorded a comfortable win over Sea The Sun, with the well-performed horse in the fray, Believe finishing third ahead of Pesi Shroff`s other got abroad Alexandros.
Sea The Sun who was drawn wide went wider at the jump out and it took more than a furlong for jockey Pradeep Chouhan to bring the juvenile back on an even keel and push him to the front to set a good pace. Christofle had cover from the stablemate. Sea The Sun was not inclined to give up easily and held the lead deep into the final furlong before Trevor got Christofle to cover the leeway and surge ahead in the closing stages of the race. Christofle went on to win by a shade more than a length. Sea The Sun held firm in second position advertising its capability in the process. Believe ran on to finish third ahead of Alexandros.
M K Jadhav trained Waikiki was an impressive winner of the Fillies Championship. Backed to the exclusion of the rest on the basis of her impressive winning performance, Waikiki was relaxed in the penultimate position by jockey N S Parmar as Momentous did the front running. Rounding the final turn, Waikiki made swift progress and Parmar was able to push through the gap between Momentous and Transcend to storm ahead. The filly showed maturity to take the narrow gap without any hesitation. Transcend looked menacing but hurt her own cause by being erratic, with jockey Nazil not having firm control of the horse and that effectively put paid to her hopes. Waikiki went on to record an easy win over Transcend, with Versace a faraway third.
M K Jadhav had a double for the day as earlier in the day, Fortunate Son who had served as a pacemaker for King`s Ransom in the Indian Derby was back in a handicap race and was backed confidently to resume winning ways in the 1400 metres Pronto Pronto Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Fortunate Son had the beating of South India Derby winner Dyf in one of his outings before being consigned as a pace-maker. Fortunate Son led from the start and despite coming under pressure from stablemates Great Guns and Nolan, pulled away, in the end, to win comfortably in the hands of Parmar. Dexa who was running after a longish gap ran on to finish fourth but whether this run would help the Poonawalla Multi-Million of last year to bounce back, remains to be seen.
Dallas Todywalla trained It`s My Time was running after a gap of 197 days. As trainer Dallas Todywalla explained, the four-year-old, after an impressive win, had given a dismal performance in his next outing. On subsequent examination, it was found that he had chips in both knees which were removed. Dallas said that he had thought that It`s My Time was a semi-classic horse and since the problem bothering the horse had been set right, he expected his horse to have a bold show. The odds on It`s My Time drifted out close to race time with heavy money coming for Wild Thing and Pyrrhus. Sandesh had It`s My Time take a handy position behind Mighty Wings who set the pace. It`s My Time cruised past the front-runner at the top of the straight and sped clear of the field to seal the race a long way from home. Long shots Lord Fenicia and Flashing Famous occupied the next two slots while the fancied duo was not sighted. There was an ambitious objection by the jockey of fifth-placed Toussaint Neeraj Rawal against third-place Flashing Famous who had T S Jodha in the saddle for interference. The objection was quickly thrown out.
Hoshidar trained Misty made a smashing debut in the 1000 metres J Rustomji Soparivala Trophy, a race for three-year-old maidens. Maysara who had a forward run last time out was the first favourite, with Misty at long odds. Maysara who had to dispute with Moonlight Kiss for the lead in the early part of the race seemed to be on course for victory by having a good lead going into the final furlong. Misty who loitered in the rear position, warmed up to the task in the stretch run and flew home on the wide outside in breath-taking fashion to win in great style to provide Trevor Patel, his second win for the day. Misty has shown promise but needs reiteration in light of the fact that Maysara looked an ordinary type of horse which will keep prolonging her stay in the lower class. Senorita D was third.
Shiraz Sunderji trained Walter towered over the opposition on sheer consistency in the 1600 metres Midnight Madness Trophy (Div I), a race for horses in the lowest category. Sandesh waited with the favourite till the final furlong before pushing the favourite to take charge. Walter sailed past those in front and won by a widening margin of three lengths over Freedom who held off Charming Star to get the runner-up berth. Shazaan Shah trained Myrcella brought off a big upset in the lower division of the race getting the better of Duffy with a late charge in the closing stages of the race. Favourite Malakhi was in with a chance but she remained one pace and was beaten to the third position.
Trevor Patel had a treble for the day as he drove out Intense Belief to get the better of long-time leader Spirit Bay in the closing strides of the race to win the 1200 metres Phoenix Tiger Trophy (Div I), a race for horses in the lowest category. Spirit Bay led all the way only to find Intense Belief proving her nemesis for the second time during the season. Nord ran on to finish third. Favourite Tarzan failed to raise a fluent gallop and was never in with a chance. Long shot Divine Soul won the lower division of the race in the hands of apprentice Bhosale at long odds. Despite going wide in the straight, Divine Soul had enough firepower to stave off the strong challenge of Teispes and Count The Wins.