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PAST THE POST - A Review of the A.C. Ardeshir Trophy (Grade 3) - By Cyrus Naterwalla

Posted on - 07 Dec 2017

PAST THE POST – A Review of the A.C. Ardeshir Trophy (Grade 3)
By Cyrus Naterwalla
The first Major Terms Race for older horses of the current Mumbai season – The A.C. Ardeshir Trophy (Grade 2) saw a select field of 7 runners declared to start with an even mix of 3 fillies, 3 geldings and a colt. The race appeared to wear a competitive look on paper with Phoenix Tiger and Aster Rose closely matched on their last meeting in Pune in the RWITC Gold Cup and Temerity expected to be in the mix fresh from a short break. Escala and B Fifty Two both appeared to be held by the principals on their Pune running and the dark horse was thought to be the rapidly progressive New England who was tackling group company for the first time after an impressive showing in handicaps. In the paddock, both the Fillies Temerity and Aster Rose stood out on their looks, Temerity in particular looking a picture and seemingly recovered from her dismal run in the Indian St. Leger. The Imtiaz Sait trained pair of B Fifty Two and New England also looked fit and well and ready to go. Aster Rose was made the favourite and was very firm at 9/4 with Phoenix Tiger next best at 3/1 and Temerity available at 13/4.  The field broke to a lovely dispatch from the mile marker and it was B Fifty Two, adopting similar tactics to when he won this race last year and going ahead to set up his own pace to Temerity racing a close 2nd with the Bangalore challenger Escala settling into 3rd a couple of lengths away. Racing 4th holding the fence was New England with Aster Rose switched off in 5th by Suraj Narredu keeping company with Phoenix Tiger who was making gradual progress on the outside with Supreme General a close last. The pace was steady through the first half and B Fifty Two continued to show the way to Temerity in 2nd with Escala being joined on the outside by Phoenix Tiger who had made rapid headway to be a close 3rd and the others holding their positions. The pace began to pick up as they passed the 800 with B Fifty Two and Temerity still moving well in 1 and 2 and opening up a 2 ½ length break over Escala and Phoenix Tiger, both of whom were just being niggled to hold their positions, New England poised to strike behind these, Supreme General being niggled along as well and Aster Rose still on the bridle and held up a close last. B Fifty Two was first into the straight, about a length ahead of Temerity yet to make her move with Escala and Phoenix Tiger the first pair to look in trouble and drop away, Aster Rose making smooth progress along the inside, Supreme General and New England both making their challenge on the wider outside. B Fifty continued to battle on in front and responded well when A. Imran Khan pulled his stick, finding another gear and keeping Temerity a length away with Neeraj Rawal now also getting serious with the Invitation Cup winner and Aster Rose also coming in full cry with Suraj Narredu down the outside of this pair as the race appeared to be between these three. B Fifty Two was still a length up with 100M to go but Temerity’s superior stamina and gutsy attitude was clearly on display and she ate up ground with every stride to draw level and put in a final lunge as the pair flashed past the post locked together in an absolutely thrilling finish with the commentator unable to call who had won. Aster Rose ended up a gallant close 3rd just a length away while there was a gap of 3lengths back to New England who ran on to fill the frame.
Temerity thus displayed her class as she was conceding weight all around and running over a trip which would be the bare minimum for her at present. She looks set for an exciting season ahead and is expected to do well in the distance Terms events. B Fifty Two who had finished only 5th in the RWITC Gold Cup made a gallant effort to defend his title from last year and almost pulled it off. He was given a fine front running ride by A. Imran Khan and was downed by literally a whisker. He showed just how good he can be when allowed to dictate the pace and reversed the form decisively with both Aster Rose and Phoenix Tiger. He looks good to earn another Group success this term although he will need to dodge Temerity. Aster Rose also ran a brave race in defeat but Temerity proved her superiority over her rival as she conceded 5 kilos and was still a length superior. New England was not at all disgraced on his first foray into Group company in a race where the Terms were totally against him. He looks likely to win one of these before too long and should be a cinch dropped back into a handicap. The disappointment of the race was the Ex 2000 Guineas winner Phoenix Tiger who was expected to relish this mile trip and improve on his fine effort in the RWITC Ltd. Gold Cup. He was clearly not at his best and will now bear watching next time out. Escala and Supreme General were out of their league in this company and finished accordingly. 
(Disclaimer : Views are entirely that of the correspondent only and RWITC takes no responsibility for the same)

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