Imtiaz Sait trained Iron Age once again proved that he was the best sprinter currently racing in Western India when he decimated the opposition hardly raising a sweat in the Gr 3 1200 metres Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy, a terms race for four-year-olds and over, the feature event of Saturday`s Pune races. The nine-event card proved to be a mixed bag as the victory of fancied runners was interspersed with rank outsiders. Jockey Sandesh had a field day booting home five winners.
One may say that there was no betting at the Pune and Mumbai racecourses but the fact of the matter is that racing survives on betting whether legal or illegal. If there is no facility available for betting, there will be no racing and the majority of the owners who are still racing under the existing scenario will quit. Betting is the pulse of the sport though it is a pity that the local enthusiasts haven`t got an opportunity to be present at the course either to watch or more importantly back.
Be that as it may, Iron Age was quoted at a very short price as the others in the fray were no match as the form of these horses have reached a saturation point with no scope for improvement. Jockey Sandesh who had a big day, had no problem in taking Iron Age to the front. The progeny of Strong Suit was not hard-pressed to check-in by a widening margin of five lengths over Augusts Caesar and Hyderabad challenger Smashing Blue. The threat if any for Iron Age can only come from other centres in the premium sprinting events.
Dallas Todywalla trained Successor hadn`t reached the handicap mark that she was capable of as she was ambitiously campaigned in classics over longer trips. Now back to the more suitable trip of seven furlongs, the progeny of Leitir Mor readily justified the strong favouritism. Sandesh had Successor racing a handy third or fourth till the final bend before pressing the accelerator. The response was immediate as Successor quickly asserted her supremacy and was hailed a winner a long way from home. Arcadia covered a lot of ground along the rails to finish second ahead of Exotique, Giant Star and Tigrio who raced up in front but slackened in the closing stages of the race.
A M Jadhav trained Lit had been so well prepared that the three-year-old daughter of Excellent Art was quoted at cramped odds to strike it rich in the 1200 metres Ishpingo Plate (Div I), a race for maiden three-year-olds. Lit briskly travelled in front and drew clear in the final furlong to win with a measure of comfort from Royal Alamdaar, Monarchy and Empower. The last three named horses finished in a cluster for minor placings. Vishal Gaikwad trained Agostino Carracci who was running for the first time after being gelded was expected to prevail in the lower division of the race as the majority of the runners in the fray were not considered well prepared to have a bold show. In the event, Zervan on Agostino Carracci appeared to be travelling well for hitting the target. However, Karthik Ganapathy trained Darwin who came in for noticeable support in the betting to race time, pounced on the front-runner in the closing stages of the race and won in tremendous fashion. Bloomsbury ran on to take the third position ahead of Raffaello.
Pesi Shroff trained Enigma showed so much improvement that the one-sided betting on her success in the 1200 metres Lago Medio Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46, was well justified. Apprentice jockey Kritish Bhagat just had to do the steering job as the progeny of Phoenix Tower put daylight behind herself and the rest when crossing the winning post by a wide margin of over nine lengths. Desert Fire was a tame second ahead of Wayin. El Capitan who was expected to figure at the finish put in a dismal performance.
Sandesh drove out lesser fancied Multistarrer to stave off the late rally of favourite Immeasurable in the 1400 metres Atmosphere Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 4 to 30. Flower Power hit the front from the word `go` and ran like a scalded cat perhaps upsetting the rhythm of those who lacked the early speed. Flower Power led well into the straight before packing up in the final furlong. Multistarrer quickened well from a handy position and stole a march over the favourite who was finding his bearings when the cause had been lost. Farahnoush caught the eye with a powerful effort from way off the pace and advertised her readiness to strike before long. Karthik Ganapathy trained Trinket brought off a big upset in the lower division of the race, taking control of the race in the final furlong and managing to stay put in front to win from late rallying Marlboro Man and Irish Eyes. Favourite Memorable Moments was never in the hunt along with another fancied runner Shadows finishing last.
The way the price shortened on A M Jadhav trained Queen O War just as the price on another fancied runner Bold Legend expended, it was clear that the short-priced horse would have it easy in the 1600 metres Rosmini Plate. As if to justify such an expectation, Bold Legend stayed rooted to the gates at the start and lost all his chances. Queen O War had no problem in disposing of her opponents, winning by over three lengths. Treasure Gold nosed out Circle of Love for the runner-up berth.
Noshir Cama trained Tristar was well backed to have a bold show in the 1200 metres F S Reporter Trophy, a race for horses in the lowest category. The five-year-old mare Tristar drew clear in the final furlong to win from Pride`s Angel who warmed up too late to the cause. On Va Danser was another horse to make a lazy charge and had to be satisfied with the third position.