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Golden Neil finds his bearings in Air Force Trophy

  February 19 , 2023

Narendra Lagad trained Golden Neil who was ambitiously campaigned over the extended trip of 2400 metres in the Indian Derby after two back-to-back wins, was back to racing in a handicap race, the 1600 metres Indian Air Force Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66, the feature event of Sunday`s Mumbai races. Golden Neil performed to his ability over the reduced trip where he toyed with the opposition to win by a widening margin of six lengths in the manner of a horse who could be trusted to win again.

Golden Neil was backed to the exclusion of the rest with the odds offered on Sierra Del Plata expanding indicating a lack of confidence in the ability of Pesi Shroff trainee to deliver the goods. Sandman led the field from the start with Golden Neil travelling easily in the second position followed by Sierra Del Plata and the rest. Golden Neil smoothly cruised past the front-runner in the stretch run and had the race sewn up a long way from home in the hands of apprentice jockey Mustakim Alam. Sandman battled on to stave off the challenge of Sierra Del Plata to retain the runner-up berth.

Sandesh had an armchair ride on Altaf Hussain trained Snowfall in the 1200 metres Amateur Riders` Club Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Northern Singer ran freely in front and accompanied Snowfall into the straight. Snowfall assumed command inside the final two furlongs with Sandesh hardly having to move a muscle and stormed clear to win with a great deal of ease from late rallying Outlander and Buckley. Outlander lacked early speed but covered a lot of ground in the stretch to be a noteworthy second.

Subhag Singh trained Demetrius had caught the attention of the discerning when the five-year-old ran a suggestive fourth to Snowfall in his last effort. The betting for the 1200 metres Dr A H Sayed Plate (Div II), suggested that it was hard to pick any horse as the winner with any degree of conviction. The odds offered were generous with Lord Murphy being the preferred one at 3.25 to one. After the speedy Teispes led the field into the straight and weakened, Lord Murphy who was in the chase then shot ahead and shaped to win as he had a good break over the rest. However, Lord Murthy appeared vulnerable when Demetrius began to cover the ground with menacing strides and had no problem storming close home for a comfortable win. Lord Murphy managed to keep the second position from Mount Sinai. The upper division of the race saw rank outsider Fancy Nancy bring off a surprise win. The betting suggested that it was an open affair. Sussing who closed as the favourite led in earnest into the final furlong but was floored by a long shot from the stables of trainer Imtiaz Sait. Fancy Nancy got the better of the front-runner with a measure of comfort and spared a length at the finish. Tarzan ran on to take the third position.

The benefit of a few runs had the desired impact on the fortunes of Waheed trained Star Gallery who managed to prevail in a tight finish in the 1400 metres Lt Col Govind Singh (VRC) Trophy, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Star Gallery shot into the lead down the final furlong but managed to survive the late assault of debutant Axlrod who charged home with menacing strides. However, Axlrod veered out under pressure which perhaps put paid to his hopes. Winter Agency was third in a close finish involving the long-time leader Giant King and favourite Alexandros. The last named failed to pick up momentum and was under pressure all the way in the stretch and looked a beaten cause.

Hoshidar Daji trained Brave Beauty had recorded an impressive win last time out and an encore looked a distinct possibility in the 2000 metres Sonny Brar Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Brave Beauty Alpine Star and Gangster did the front-running even as the fancied Brave Beauty and Jerusalem was relegated to the rear group. Jockey Nazil was alert to the task and got busy as soon as the horses straightened for home and opened up a lead which turned out to be a winning one. Jerusalem made a big rally from the last position only to run out of ground. Gangster stayed on to take the third position from Whatisinaname who was finishing on purposefully.

Nirad Karanjawalla trained She Is On fire won the 1600 metres Sion F Nessim Plate, a race for horses rated in the lowest category. She Is On Fire assumed command going into the final furlong and managed to thwart the bid of favourite Walter who failed to perform to expectations and ended up a tame second. Shadows necked out Freedom to save place money.

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