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Posted on - 23 Dec 2017

- By Cyrus Naterwalla
Race No. 1 :- The Au Panache Plate – Class III and IV – Distance :- 2000M
DROGO :-4 year old colt trained by Imtiaz Sait, Drogo has been steadily progressing up the handicap ranks and has 2 wins to his name from 13 starts till date although he has placed on a number of occasions. After winning over 1800M in  Class IV on his first start in Pune, he ran 3 modest races over middle distances in Pune in this grade, but looked like he was ready to get back to winning ways last time out when finishing on nicely to take 2nd behind Big Sur over 1800. Big Sur has gone on to win again giving strength to the form and with Drogo working well and likely to benefit from the run, he looks set to resume his progress with P.S. Chouhan in the saddle.
ASPEN :- 5 year old mare trained by Zadmal Singh, Aspen is a winner of 3 of her 16 starts till date which is a decent record and while she has won over 1800M before, her last couple of wins have comes over 2400M and she seems to require that much distance to be seen to best effect. Indeed her last win on her penultimate start came over 2400M in Pune where she outstayed a weak Class IV field to win convincingly. This looks the bare minimum distance she needs as she takes time to get going and with her regular rider Bhawani Singh up, she could run into a place here.
HARMONY :- 5 year old mare who has moved recently to Narendra Lagad’s yard and has shown much improvement, winning twice under his care in her last 5 starts. Both those wins came over a mile in Pune but she finished tailed off behind Selfie Star on her last start in Mumbai and has to prove that she has improved for that. Dashrath Singh is up again, she should stay this far and if showing some improvement she is capable of being involved.
SAMARJEET :-Progressive 3 year old gelding from the S.K. Sunderji yard, Samarjeet has run 8 times till date and after showing nothing on his first five starts, sprung a surprise over a mile to record his maiden victory with Baby Face back in 4th that day. He then appeared not to stay the 2400M trip in a race which was won by Baby Face but turned over his old rival on their previous meeting on this track over 1800M where he prevailed by a head in receipt of 2.5 kilos. He is now conceding half a kilo with an additional furlong to travel so although he should stay this far, he looks out handicapped on the terms. C.S. Jodha takes over from A. Imran Khan and he looks capable of improving again but will find it hard to beat Baby Face now.
BABY FACE :- 3 year old gelding trained by M.P. Jodha he appears to be better with more galloping ground and his only win till date in his 8 race career was when upped to 2400M and staying on strongly to beat Othello but he has lost to Samarjeet on either side of those runs, last time overturned at a very short price when beating by a head in a fighting finish. He is now 3 kilos better off for that run and has an extra 200M to travel both of which are in his favour so he is expected to finish ahead of Samarjeet today. P. Trevor takes over from Y.S. Srinath in the saddle and he looks a strong contender today .
CONCLUSION :-This appears to be a straight fight between Drogo and Baby Face with preference for the former who appears to have slightly better form. Baby Face however is in receipt of 5 kilos from the older horse and has more scope to improve so it would not be a surprise if he were to prevail.Samarjeetis out handicapped against Baby Face but can spring a surprise if showing further improvement and being allowed his own way up front.
Race No. 2 :- The Kheem Singh Gold Cup – Maiden 2 Year Olds – Distance :- 1400M
MOZART :-2 year old colt trained by Pesi Shroff and is one of two runners for the handler in this race and is a got abroad out of the Champion 6 furlong colt Dream Ahead. Dream Ahead was a dual Group 1 winner at 2, winning the Prix Morny and the Middle Park Stakes as a 2 year old and went on to claim the Darley July Cup, the Betfred Sprint Cup and the Prix De La Foret as a 3year old, all Group 1 contests. Desisterna the mother was a German mare who was unplaced in 2 starts and came to India in foal. Mozart looks a promising sort on paper and although he has just had one easy piece of work so far and is likely to be short on fitness, could prove to be an above average sorts who warrants respect in this field.
PULVERIZE :-Is also a got abroad from the powerful MAM Ramaswamy yard and is trained by Karthik G. His sire Saamidd was trained by Saeed Bin Suroor and won the Group 2 Champagne Stakes over 7 furlongs as a 2 year old and was 2nd in the Listed Paradise Stakes over a mile. He is a half brother to Amazing Skill who won 3 races over 7 furlongs and a mile and also looks a promising sort. He too has just been given a couple of easy workouts and the booking of Bhawani Singh suggests that he may be out for an airing today but a paddock check is advised and he should be considered.
RETAINED ASSET :-Comes from the yard of Adhirajsingh Jodha and appears to have been given the maximum amount of prep work amongst this entire lot although his pedigree is not as showy. He is a half brother to Roman Ridges who raced in Kolkotta and had 1 sprint win to his name in 27 starts. Retained Asset is possibly the fittest of this bunch and is to be ridden by Dashrath Singh but he may be vulnerable to something with a little more quality.
SULLIVAN :- The 2nd runner from the Pesi Shroff stable, this one is by Phoenix Tower and is a full brother to Sir Percy Blakeney who raced just once for the same connections finishing 3rd, and a half brother to Shalom who was unplaced in 2 career starts so the siblings have not done a lot of racing. Sullivan too looks a nice sort and will be ridden by S. Zervan but he also has just gone one easy piece of work and is entitled to need this.
ART MANOEUVRE :- This filly appears to have a speedy pedigree being by Excellent Art but the dam Shadow Roll produced the well performed Solange who won 3 of her 7 starts over middle distances and was 4th in the Indian 1000 Guineas while the other half brother Majestical has been a moderate performer till date. Trained by Narendra Lagad and to be ridden by C.S. Jodha, she is likely to be quite speedy and shapes as an each way prospect here.
OOMPH :-Comes from the stable of Vishal Gaikwad and is by Midnight Interlude out of a mare called Jahanara who raced in England owned by the same connections and won 1 of her 7 starts over 1200M. She also appears to have been reasonably well prepared and is likely to be one of the forward ones here so with A. Sandesh up, she looks a strong fancy and is expected to run well
CONCLUSION :-Very difficultto recommend early season 2 year olds with nothing to go on except pedigree and preparatory work. Oomph appears to be more forward than the others and is the tentative selection here although the Pesi Shroff duo Mozart and Sullivan are nicely bred and could win this on their class alone. Pulverize is also respected
Race No. 3 :- The Municipal Commissioner’s Trophy – Maiden 3 Year Olds – Distance :- 1600M
BISHOP OF DERRY :-Once raced gelding from the stable of Vishal Gaikwad, he was given an educative run over 1200M in Pune where he finished mid division and he is expected to have learnt from that run and stripped fitter. He has been given plenty of work before this run so is sure to have improved and the step up to a mile should suit him well. Neeraj Rawal has been booked to ride and he is expected to run a much better race today. He is a half brother to Uncle Scrooge so this distance looks right and he must be considered.
MANDRAKE :- Has a similar profile to Bishop of Derry, having had one easy educative run in Pune but this one is trained by Pesi Shroff and is a half brother to Medici who ran 4th over 1000 a couple of meetings ago. Mandrake appears to have improved judging from his recent workouts and with S. Zervan in the saddle, he is expected to leave his last run well behind and looks set for a bold show.
SAGITTARIUS :- Twice raced and trained by Sanjay Kolse, he is a half brother to Rare Rhythm who won 3 races on the trot in Bangalore and also to Glorious Reward who won thrice in Western India before travelling down south and adding 5 more wins all over middle distances. He made a pleasing debut when finishing on to be runner up to Admo over 1400M but then disappointed next time out when only managing 6th to Collegium when a warm favourite. He is the highest rated of this lot and could improve after just 2 starts and with A. Imran Khan up is another who must be seriously considered here.
SOUTHERN STORM :- Southern raider trained by S. Ganapathy, he has a lovely pedigree out of Epsom Derby winner Pour Moi out of a Dansili mare who has thrown some useful progeny abroad and this is her first foal to race in India. He has already raced twice till date, showing a little improvement upped to 7 furlongs on his last start when ending up 6th to Cantabria. He has been working well since coming down to Mumbai and P. Trevor has been booked to ride so he is another who is worth a paddock check and could very well improve enough to take this.
ARASHI :- Rock of Gibraltar filly trained by Pesi Shroff, she has not quite set the world alight in her 3 runs till date but after finished a modest 4th on debut on this track last season and having a lung opener in Pune, she showed some improvement when making late headway to be 4th to Lady In Red over this trip last time out and he subsequent work suggests that she has improved further. A. Sandesh takes over in the saddle from NeerajRawal and with the yard beginning to pick up steam this season, she looks a strong contender.
KIMBERELLA :-Once raced filly from the stables of ImtiazSait, she has always been highly regarded by her trainer and was quietly fancied on her debut over a mile in Pune where she got the hang of things late and finished on to be 4th to Auburn. She is sure to have improved for that run and stripped fitter and SurajNarredu has been booked to ride and her prep work has been satisfactory. She is likely to eventually come into her own over longer distances and may find things happening too quickly here but is worth a paddock check and could be a good outsider.
CONCLUSION :-A tricky contest to work out with several of these having legitimate claims and Arashiis selected to improve on her late finishing 4th last time out. The beautifully bred Southern raider Southern Storm looks an interesting contender and rates as a live danger as do Mandrake and Bishop of Derry. Sagittarius too is worth giving another chance to and could be involved.
Race No. 4 :- The KusumbenDhirubhai Shah Trophy – Class III – Distance :- 1000M
LINCOLN :-Speedy 3 year old colt from the Pesi Shroff yard, he has raced 6 times till date with 2 wins and 3 seconds to his name. His pattern of racing in previous seasons suggests that he needs a run every season before running upto his best and hence he is expected to run much better than his forward run over 1200M earlier in the season where he appeared to blow up in the straight and was turned over at cramped odds by Lady Sergeant. Back down to this minimum distance, he will take a lot of beating and H. Zeeshan rode a nice race when winning on him in Pune and takes a valuable 5 kilos off. He should be fitter and sharper and looks the one to beat.
ELYSEE :-Speedy 3 year old mare from the stable of S.K. Sunderji, she has run 7 times so far exclusively over sprints and has 2 wins and 3 placed efforts to her name. She was a convincing winner over Ridgewood Star and Touch Me Not in her last start in Pune with the same rider up but it was disconcerting that she whipped around on her seasonal reappearance and failed to raise a gallop. Ajinkya returns to ride her replacing C.S. Jodha and if behaving properly this time, she could prove to be a danger
JUGGERNAUT :- 3 year old gelding from the Narendra Lagad yard, he has already had plenty of racing and got the better of Elysee over this trip early in the Pune season before adding another win over 1200M later in the season. He however finished well behind Lincoln last time out and with C.S. Jodha in the saddle, he looks the lesser fancied of the yards 2 runners.
LOIRE :-Another 3 year old from the Narendra Lagad stable and probably the more fancied of the pair on jockey bookings with Dashrath Singh booked to ride. Loire has run 5 times till date and showed good improvement during the Pune season, winning back to back races over this trip before running a respectable 4th on her seasonal reappearance where she was not beaten too far behind Shamwari and Wise Child. Loire seems to be progressing nicely over this minimum trip and shapes as a clear danger.
ORACLE :-Trained by NazakChenoy, this 3 year old gelding is unbeaten on this track, winning both his juvenile starts over 5 furlongs smartly but was disappointing on his 2 subsequent runs in Pune. He failed to show is usual speed when finishing a poor 3rd to God’s Own on his first start and then attempted 6 furlongs where he could only end up 4th to Gazino. He returns to his favoured track and his optimum trip, seems to have been sharpened up with the short break and with P. Trevor booked to ride, looks likely to cause problems if returning to his best.
CONCLUSION :-Lincoln is selected to make up for his last effort over 1200M and get back to winning ways. The speedy Oracle shapes as a live danger if back to his best while Loire also merits consideration
Race No. 5 :- The Maharaja Jiwajirao Scindia Trophy (Grade 2) – Terms, 3 Years Old & Over – Distance :- 1800M
TEMERITY :- Lion hearted Multiple Group Race winner trained by Pesi Shroff, who returned as good as ever in the A.C. Ardeshir Trophy, getting up in the last stride to collar the runaway B Fifty Two whom she takes on again today with Aster Rose a length away in 3rd. That made her impressive tally 8 wins from 12 starts till date and with the additional distance sure to favour her, she looks a leading fancy to repeat on the same terms. NeerajRawal as usual takes the ride and she is very much the one to beat.
WHOMAKESTHERULES :- Tough and gutsy 4 year old colt trained by Malesh Narredu, he was the winner of the Kolkotta Monsoon Derby and Colts Trial Stakes but then suffered a setback which forced him to miss the rest of the Classic Season. He has been slowly finding his way back to form since then and finished 3rd in the Indian St. Leger before travelling to Hyderabad to chase home Salazaar in the Golconda Leger. The return to this trip is likely to suit him, He has been working well of late and rediscovering his old form, he will clearly be in the mix with SurajNarredu in the saddle.
ASTER ROSE :-Quality 3 year old filly trained by Arjun Mangalorkar she hit a purple patch towards the end of the Pune season, cantering home in the Fillies and Mares before getting the better of the colts in a thrilling finish to the RWITC Gold Cup. She may have needed her first run on the Mahalaxmi track when finishing a close 3rd to Temerity last time out and over this additional furlong, she could go very close with Dashrath Singh retaining the ride and in receipt of 5 kilos.
B FIFTY TWO :- Has performed with credit in similar contests and after winning the A.C. Ardeshir last year, nearly defended his crown in resolute fashion, looking to have stolen the race from the front before being nabbed right on the line by Temerity. Trevor takes over for A. Imran Khan in the saddle, he is not likely to be taken on for the lead and if controlling the gallop from the front, may be able to exact revenge
CONCLUSION :-This again promises to be a very close affair and a thrilling finish looks in store between Temerity, B Fifty Two and Aster Rose who all finished less than a length apart in the A.C. Ardeshir. The Shroff filly gets the nod over this additional furlong and is expected to confirm the form but either of the other two could upset with Whomakestherules capable of adding some spice to the mix
Race No. 6 :- The S.M. Shah Trophy – Class IV – Distance :- 1400M
COLLEGIUM :- 3 year old gelding trained by S.K. Sunderji, he had run 9 times till date and has been outside the frame on only 2 occasions. He gained a long overdue maiden success on his last run in Pune over this trip, beating a decent maiden field convincingly and last time out, he may have found weight a stopper when trying to lead from the start and weakening to be 5th to Lady In Red. He may have needed the run that day on his handicap debut and A. Imran Khan retains the ride but he may need a slight easing in the weights or a change of tactics before he can get back to winning ways. Has each way claims but may struggle to win.
MOUNT MCKINLEY :- Potentially very exciting but problematic 4 year old trained by AdhirajsinghJodha who returned from a year off the track to run twice in Pune, sent off favourite on both occasions but weakening after being in the fighting line. He could still just be finding his way back after the injury which kept him out of racing and NeerajRawal takes the ride so he looks worth considering as a good outsider but needs to show some more spark on the track before he can be seriously recommended. For Jackpot consideration.
SAFDAR :- well bred 4 year old colt trained by Rehanullah Khan, he has not quite been able to display his full potential in his limited career so far and has been campaigned over a variety of trips, winning once in his 11 race career. He ran an excellent race with a feeble apprentice up over a mile on his last start in Pune finishing a half length 2nd to Eiger’s Tiger and should not mind the slight drop in trip. P. S. Chouhan has an excellent strike rate for the yard and Safdar must be respected as a strong each way player in this competitive event.
KNIGHT’S QUEST :- 4 year old gelding from the Narendra Lagad yard, he appears the more fancied of the yard’s 2 runners and has been performing quite consistently since gaining his maiden win last season and did win over this trip in Pune. He finished an excellent close 2nd to Slam Dunk over 1200M off a similar mark in Pune and his last run is best ignored as he dropped the rider soon after jump out. He appears to be in good heart at present and with Dashrath Singh up, looks another worthy of consideration.
DIBABA :- 4 year old filly from the Sanjay Kolse yard, she has hit a good level of form since winning fluently over this trip early in the Pune season finishing runner up to Star Comrade next time out and then a close 3rd to Orion’s Belt. She has had a lung opener this season when finishing 4th to Zanara is expected to build on that effort now. She has been kept fresh and S. Zervan is an interesting booking so she looks in good touch and comes into the reckoning.
PRICELESS ART :- Nicely bred 3 year old who made a belated racing debut in a weak 5 furlong contest and was green and inexperienced in the finish which cost her when going down by a head to Mind That Bird. She is likely to improve considerably for the experience and looks to have been given a chance by the handicapper although she has to prove that this longer trip will suit her. YashNarredu takes the ride and with normal progression, she looks to have a strong chance.
CONCLUSION :-Extremely tough and competitive handicap and difficult to spot a winner here. Perhaps the lightly raced filly Priceless Art can improve enough to take this with normal progression and she is the selection. List of dangers is long and is headed by Safdarand the consistent Knight’s Quest
Race No. 7 :- The Conrad Pereira Trophy – Class IV – Distance :- 1000M
INVICTUS MANEO :- Unbeaten 3 year old trained by AdhirajsinghJodha and ridden by Dashrath Singh, he was a classy winner on his belated racing debut in Pune, showing a neat turn of foot to win with aplomb from Arc Shine and Nembe Greek and he is sure to improve for that run. He appears to have maintained his form and fitness judging from his subsequent track work and looks set to make it 2 from 2 with a decent draw and Dashrath in the saddle again.
STUNNER :-Experienced but exposed 3 year old filly from the Dallas Todywalla yard, she has been frustratingly finishing 2nd or 3rd in each of her starts over this trip before she finally managed to score her maiden win at the 8th attempt, beating My Precious and Malavika in a maiden with Arc Shine back in 4th. A line through Arc Shine makes it tough for her to beat InvictusManeo but she has already had a run this season so should be fit and well and will make a bold bid to bounce back with P.S. Chouhan back to replace P. Trevor.
EL TYCOON :-Enigmatic 4 year old colt from the small stable of Vijay Kasbekar, he often runs in and out races as evidenced by his record of 1 win in 18 starts but he did finish on nicely to be runner up to Renato over 1200M last time out. S.G. Prasad has been riding a few winners of late and he could be a rank outsider who could spring a huge surprise so is worth keeping an eye on.
MULTISTAR :- well bred and lightly raced 4 year old filly from the S.K. Sunderji yard, Multistar had given signs of coming to hand a couple of starts ago and took advantage of the drop in grade to score a stylish victory over this trip on her last start in Pune. She has invoked a 7 kilo penalty for that run but is still quite unexposed over this trip and may well have more to give. A. Imran Khan keeps the ride, she is working well and should make a strong bid to go in again.
FURIOSA :- Very speedy 4 year old filly trained by Faisal A Abbas, she has been running forward races over 1200M the last twice, just being pipped close home by Juliano on her penultimate run and then finishing a close 3rd to Philadelphia on the opening day. She should do better now dropped down to the minimum trip but may be taken on for the lead by Stunner or El Tycoon and may set this race up for the closers
CONCLUSION :-InvictusManeo is the selection to show improvement from his debut run and maintain his unbeaten record in this company. Impressive last outing winner Multistaris the main danger along with the consistent Stunner who looks a safe place bet
Race No. 8 :- The Persian Prince Plate – Class V – Distance :- 1600M
FANTASIA :- Unexposed 3 year old filly trained by MaleshNarredu and to be ridden by SurajNarredu, she has run once apiece in Pune and Mumbai and showed a little improvement upped to 7 furlongs when finishing 7th to Lady In Red. She has been dropped in grade into the lowest class, her recent workouts have been quite encouraging and the additional furlong should be in her favour. She commands respect in this grade and further improvement can see her having a bold show.
TOWERING STORM :- Another improving 3 year old trained by Faisal Abbas, he has run 5 times till date and has placed 4th on a couple of occasions but has been working very well for some time now. He was only campaigned over sprint trips on his last two starts in Pune and this step up to a mile seems sure to seem him in a better light. S. Zervan has been booked to ride, he continues to work well and looks a strong fancy to succeed now.
STAR SCHOLAR :-Fully exposed 4 year old handicapper trained by Dallas Todywalla, he has been tried over a wide variety of trips and has managed to win twice in his 24 race career. He is guaranteed to get this far, has had a lung opener already this season when finishing 5th to Happy Birthday and should strip fitter with A. Imran Khan taking over in the saddle. He is working well and can be involved in the finish but looks vulnerable to the lightly raced 3 year olds who have the scope to improve past him. Each way player.
STARR VERDICT :- Another lightly raced and unexposed 3 year old, this one from the yard of Rehanullah Khan, he showed some promise last time out when finishing on late to be 4th over an inadequate 5 furlongs and should be much better suited by more galloping ground. He too, has been working quite well and with R. Ajinkya good value for his claim, he is another who should be kept an eye on and can potentially improve.
RESURGE :-4 year old filly who was sold out of MaleshNarredu’s yard and is yet to put in a noteworthy performance in her 9 runs until date. She finished 6th behind Make It Shine over 1000M earlier in the season but is now stepping up to which should be a more suitable trip and Dashrath Singh takes over in the saddle so she is an unknown quantity who could have improved for her new yard and shapes as an interesting outsider.
CONCLUSION :-Open looking finale with Towering Storm selected to get off the mark at the expense of the other unexposed 3 year old Fantasia. Resurge looks an interesting alternative at a longer price and can spring a surprise.
(Disclaimer : Views are entirely that of the correspondent only and RWITC takes no responsibility for the same)

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