Karthik Ganapathy trained Juliette was driven out for a facile by jockey Sandesh in the Gr 2 Western India Race Horse Owners Association Eclipse Stakes of India, a terms race for four-year-olds and over, the feature event of Mumbai races held on Sunday. Sunday was an excellent day in the office for Sandesh who had a rich haul of five winners.
Juliette was the best-performed horse in the fray as she had acquitted well against the best horses in the country as was revealed by her second to Adjudicate in the Indian Turf Invitation Cup race at Mysore in March last year. She has been kept in fine trim and has in fact put on more condition since the last year. Her easy win early in the season was also a pointer to her invincibility in this set though the market trend suggested that the punters were confused as most horses in the fray were in serious consideration, with Juliette herself being quoted at nourishing odds.
Vulcan who loves to run in front had an uncontested lead followed by Roberta, Victorious Sermon, Juliette, Truly Epic, Parisian, Wizard of Stocks and Raees. Vulcan brought the field into the homestretch, with the race picking up momentum. Sandesh brought Juliette with a well-timed run on the wide outside and the fancied runner looked a winner a long way from home. The unbeaten five-year-old mare Parisian gave a hot chase but found the relatively more experienced eventual winner too hot to handle. Victorious Sermon edged out Roberta to save place money.
Sandesh rode a fine race on last start winner Summer Night in the 2000 metres Smasher Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Last start winners Seasons Greetings and Ladida were the preferred horses. Sandesh waited with Summer Knight in the rear group before gradually moving places and brought the lesser fancied runner into strong contention in the final furlong. Seasons Greetings had the lead but after a brief duel for supremacy, Summer Night got stronger. Cabo Da Roca got the better of Ladida for the third position.
Sanjay Kolse trained Pepper who had served notice of an imminent win toyed with the opposition in the hands of Sandesh to claim the 1200 metres Great Investment Plate (Div I), a race for horses in the lowest category in great style. Pepper bounced clear in the stretch with the jockey hardly having to move a muscle and won by a widening margin of seven lengths over Flash Force. Favourite Isle of Skype was hopelessly outclassed and just about nosed out Aira to get the third position. The lower division of the race was also won by Sandesh on favourite Dharasana who despite a wayward drift in the final furlong was strong enough to beat the challenge of late rallying Gutsy girl. Gandalf once again saved place money heading Anoushka at the finish.
Shiraz Sunderji trained One Wish had run a fair race in Forest Flame`s Guineas win and as such, she was quoted at cramped odds to win the 1600 metres Aroma Plate, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. One Wish won but not the manner the odds suggested. One Wish had to survive a late onslaught by Dreams but had enough cushion to pull through. Oui Sauvage was third.
M K Jadhav trained Dragoness came in for one-sided support based on the extensive preparation to have a big say in the 1200 metres Campanero Plate, a race for maiden three-year-olds. Dragoness had been withdrawn at the gates on the last occasion because of her tantrums but this time out, she was not so mulish. Dragoness bolted from the gates to have the control of the race all through and checked in by a big margin of nine lengths plus over Circus Queen and Fortune Cookie. There was a lot of money on Ahead of His Time but the money on him certainly seemed to be so!
Faisal Abbas trained Exotic Queen was guided to a fine win by apprentice jockey Aniket Karande in the 1000 metres Emperado Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Exotic Queen had run behind Enlighted on the last occasion and yet again, the latter was in strong betting to repeat that performance. However, even as Enlightened was sorting out Ms Boss, Exotic Queen on the wide outside moved with big strides and zoomed past the battling duo close to home. Bezan Chenoy trained Aegon towered over the rest on the basis of his close second behind El Capitan. Backed to the exclusion of the rest, Aegon cantered home in the hands of jockey T S Jodha. Sufiyah got the second position ahead of Phoenix Spirit.
The biggest upset of the day came in the 1000 metres A Campbell Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. In a cluster finish, Pokerface nosed out Sharareh and Namaqua to provide apprentice jockey Nazil with an exciting win. Last start winner Menilly who was widely expected to have a decisive say did not show the same spark and finished fifth though not far from the winner.
Pesi Shroff trained Venezuela trounced the opposition in the 1600 metres Toroloco Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 4 to 30. After Kingsway expended himself by running freely in the front, Venezuela who was in the chase, too over the proceedings in the stretch and bounced clear to win by a margin of more than five lengths. Favourite Rudimentary made a late dash to be a disappointing second ahead of Arrecife. Strongly fancied Imtiaz Sait trainee In Contention easily got the better of favourite Minx to claim the lower division of the race to provide Trevor Patel with a lone win for the day. Irish Eyes was third.
In Contention (Trevor Patel up) winner of the Toroloco Plate (Div-II)
Pepper (A Sandesh up) winner of the Great Investment Plate (Div-I)
One Wish (A Sandesh up) winner of the Aroma Plate
Exotic Queen (Aniket Karande up) winner of the Emperado Plate (Div-I)
Venezuela (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Toroloco Plate (Div-I)
Summer Night (A Sandesh up) winner of the Smasher Plate
Dragoness (N S Parmar up) winner of the Campanero Plate
Juliette (A Sandesh up) winner of the Western India Race Horse Owners` Association Eclipse Stakes Of India (Gr.2)
Aegon (T S Jodha up) winner of the Emperado Plate (Div-II)
Dharasana (A Sandesh up) winner of the Great Investment Plate (Div-II)