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Posted on - 03 Jan 2018

- By Cyrus Naterwalla
Race No. 1 :- The Aziz H. Ahmedbhoy Trophy – Class II and III – Distance :- 1600M
DAFFODIL :- Classic prospect from the Pesi Shroff yard, this daughter of Hills and Stars has run 7 times till date and after a couple of educative runs, rattled off 3 wins in a row in Western India, winning her maiden over 7 furlongs in Mumbai and then scoring in handicaps over a mile and 9 furlongs in Pune, her last win coming over Unforgettable You in Class III. She was then taken to Kolkotta for the Monsoon Derby where she started a hot favourite but was easily beaten by Sana and her last run was a month ago in the South India 1000 Guineas where she was again well beaten ending a faraway 6th. She has been working well since returning to Western India and this Class II and III opposition looks much easier after her last 2 starts. She looks set to resume her progress with David Probert astride and seems to be the one to beat.
UNCLE SCROOGE :- He is an enigmatic 6 year old gelding from the M. K. Jadhav yard who is quite exposed already having run 21 times with 3 wins and 4 seconds to his name. He has won over 1400M and also 2400M so is quite versatile with regards to trip but he has run modestly in his 2 starts since winning over 1400M in the lower class last time out. He finished 5th over this trip to Odessa last time out and even though Neeraj Rawal takes over in the saddle today, he is likely to find one or two too good and should be considered for the minor places only.
BOLD MARCH :- 5 year old gelding trained by Karthik G. he was one of the yard’s Classic hopefuls but failed to figure in the Classics and overall has a patchy record of 3 wins from 22 starts. His last win came in Bangalore over 2000M back in March and since then he has been struggling to assert himself in Western India. He did finish 2nd to Selfie Star over this trip in a similar contest so has to be given a chance in this small field but he seems to be in the handicapper’s grip at present and looks tough for him to overturn the two fillies. Zervan takes the ride and he can be considered as an outsider.
GLORIOUS EYES :- 5 year old filly trained by Imtiaz Sait, she has been steadily making her way up the handicap ranks and has managed to achieve consistency in her last several starts. Her overall record is 3 wins and 5 seconds from 18 starts and she comes into this race fresh off a narrow win over 1800M last time out where she got the better of Zanara and Take Five in a battling finish. She is only up 4 kilos from that last win, looks in good form at present and looks the main threat who can trouble Daffodil if she is slightly off her game. C.S. Jodha retains the ride.
CONCLUSION :- Daffodil is the confident selection to continue Pesi’s fine run in Western India at present and should resume her progress. Glorious Eyes appears to be the obvious danger.
Race No. 2 :- The Londonderry Plate – Class III & IV – Distance :- 2400M
LORD OF THE SEA :- Another progressive 4 year old from the Pesi Shroff yard, he has run 7 times till date and won on 2 occasions. After scoring an easy maiden success over 1800M back in April he ran a good 2nd in Class III to Simons Says but ran like something was amiss when tailed off in the Pune Derby and was promptly gelded thereafter. He reappeared barely 5 days ago over 1600M and in spite of being down 30 kilos in weight, showed great resilience to get up and pip Flying Dragon on the line. Clearly his connections feel that he is able to tackle another run in such a short span of time and he is also likely to relish this significant step up in trip on his pedigree. David Probert is an eye catching booking, he looks better quality than this field and if not feeling the exertion of a 2nd run in such a short span of time, he looks the most likely winner.
SUSSEX PRIDE :- This 5 year old is certainly the pride of Subhag Singh’s small string and is the highest rated of his runners, having shown some impressive form in the latter part of the last Mumbai season. He has been running modestly since then trying to shed some weight and looks worth a try at the step up to this trip as last time out he finished on to be a close 4th behind Glorious Eyes over 1800M. T.S. Jodha who has been riding him on his last several starts keeps the ride and in this small field he looks to have the potential to bounce back if staying the gruelling 2400M trip. He definitely needs consideration.
ASPEN :- 6 year old mare from the stables of Zadmal Singh, she takes a long time to get going and hence the longer the better for her so she is likely to relish the mile and a half trip and she looks to be coming to form as last time out she was staying on strongly at the close to finish 3rd to Samarjeet over 2000M with Harmony and Baby Face behind her. She is likely to improve on that last effort and Bhawani Singh rides her regularly and knows her well so she clearly must be given a good chance here.
BABY FACE :- 4 year old gelding from the M P Jodha yard who does not look a completely straightforward sort and runs erratic races, overall having one win to his name from 9 starts. His win came over 2400M in Pune a couple of starts ago where he beat Othello and King of Killen but his 2 runs this season have been poor. He was first turned over by Samarjeet at cramped odds over 1800M and last time out over 2000M, attempted forcing tactics but fizzled out quickly and finished behind Aspen and Harmony. His hopes are pinned on the return to this 2400M trip and with Dashrath Singh opting to ride Harmony, Nirmal Jodha takes the ride.
CONCLUSION :-  Lord of the Sea appears to be better quality than this field with the only worry being he is running 5 days after having a hard race last time out. Baby Face has a bit to prove now while both Sussex Pride and Aspen look dangers with the latter a proven stayer.
Race No. 3 :- The MathradasGoculdas Trophy – Class I & II – Distance :- 1400M
SHIP ROCK :- 6 year old gelding trained by Vishal Gaikwad who is yet to taste success in Western India but had a good overall record and has run well in all his starts at this centre, finishing up 3rd to Ruffina and Mygrator and has since travelled to Chennai where he finished a good 2nd in the Guindy Gold Cup over a mile. This 7 furlong trip should not inconvenience him and David Probert is a promising jockey booking. He may attempt start to finish tactics here and looks a danger to New England.
CONGRESSIONAL:-7 year old gelding trained by BezanChenoy he has been struggling in recent times in the face of some tough tasks although he has a solid overall record of 5 wins and 6 seconds from 25 starts but his last win came way back in February 2016 and last time out, in what looked an easier task over a mile, he came with a run and then flattened out to end up 5th to Supreme General. He may have needed that run to get fit, might be suited by the drop to 7 furlongs and A. Imran Khan takes over in the saddle from P.S. Chouhan. He could be a danger if returning to his best but needs to show some more spark on the track.
NEW ENGLAND :- 5 year old gelding trained by Imtiaz Sait who has been making massive strides up the handicap route and ran creditably on his first attempt in Group company last time out when finishing a decent 4th in the A.C. Ardeshir Trophy. He looks to have an outstanding chance dropped back down into a handicap and with P. Trevor up, he looks very hard to beat.
GOVERNOR GENERAL :- Now 6 years of age but has been sparingly raced having won 4 of his 12 starts and finished in the frame in 11 of his 12 runs which is a creditable record. He had a good warm up over an inadequate 5 furlongs but finished on nicely to be 4th to Goldie’s Pet and will be much better suited by the step up to this trip. Neeraj Rawal has been booked to ride and off the low weight, he could prove to be a danger to them all.
CONCLUSION :- New England is the confident selection to resume his progress after a fine run in Group company last time out. Governor General off the low weight could be a danger as could the consistent front running Ship Rock.
Race No. 4 :- The Astral Flash Plate – Class V – Distance :- 1000M _
ART O WAR :- 4 year old gelding from the Narendra Lagad yard he has run 13 times till date and after being tried unsuccessfully over varying trips in maidens, he finally managed to gain his maiden success in a handicap over 1200M in the lowest class, leading all the way and grimly holding off stable companion Alfonso. He has finished midfield in his last 2 runs in the higher class and now drops back into this grade. Raghuveer Singh claims a handy 3 ½ kilos and although he has been drawn wide in Stall 10, he is taking on a field lacking strength in depth and appears to have a strong chance to gain another quick success.
BLAZING STEPS :- Hitherto untried 6 year old gelding trained by Altaf Hussain, he has come down steadily in the weights with a string of unplaced efforts but finally showed signs of life on his reappearance run last time out when putting in a strong burst over 1200M and just failing to catch Untitled. That run was quite promising and even though he drops slightly in trip, he is unexposed and could unlock some more improvement. D.S. Daman takes over from B. Nikhil in the saddle and if he is able to build on that last effort, then he could very well gain his maiden success and looks a strong contender in this weak field.
SHAHTOOSH :- 4 year old filly from the yard of Rehanullah Khan she has been unplaced in 5 runs till date but appears to have a nice pedigree and is now eased in grade into the lowest class. She has worked quite reasonably in her last couple of starts and could be an interesting outsider in this field with M. Ayyar claiming an additional 5 kilos. A paddock check is advised and she may be worth chancing if looking well.
SPARKLING THEA :- One of 3 runners for the Narendra Lagad yard this 5 year old mare is beginning to look very neatly handicapped but disappointed on her last run when well fancied but only able to manage 5th behind Zion over this trip with Dashrath Singh up. She may have needed that run and should strip fitter today and the booking of C.S. Jodha suggests that she is the most fancied of the yard’s 3 runners. Her overall record of 1 win from 15 starts does not inspire confidence but she has a good each way chance in this weak field.
CONCLUSION :- A decent sized field of 10 runners but most of them are unexposed 4 year olds with no prior form so making a selection is tricky. On the limited form available, the race appears to be mainly between Blazing Steps and Art O War
Race No. 5 :- The Star Crowned Plate – Div. I – Class IV – Distance :- 1000M
CLYMENE :- Very promising 4 year old filly from the stables of Faisal Abbas, she is open to plenty of improvement having had just 2 runs till date. She was hugely impressive on her racing debut back in August over this trip where she showed blinding speed to blitz her rivals by a large margin, clocking a fast time of 0.58.36 seconds in the process. She was upped to 7 furlongs and tried in the F.D. Wadia Trophy next time out but found that opposition plus the longer trip to be too much for her at such an early stage and ended last of the 7 runners. She has been rested and well prepared since then and reverting back to this trip and with excellent build up track work and P. Trevor in the saddle, she looks to have an excellent chance to make a winning handicap debut off a fair mark in spite of being drawn wide in Stall 11.
LORD COMMANDER:-Another promising and potentially smart 4 year old, this one from the stables of Bezan Chenoy he has had 5 runs till date with a win and two seconds to his credit so far. After starting his career brightly with a second and a win on this track, he seemed to off the boil in Pune, running two poor races before appearing to be back on track last time out over this trip when chasing home Lincoln over 1000M. He is likely to improve on that run and strip fitter, has been working well of late and must be respected in this company with stable apprentice Santosh G booked to ride.
PRICELESS GIRL :- 6 year old mare trained by C. Rajendra, she is lightly raced for her age having had just 8 starts till date and seems to have hit some good form in her last few starts. She was a smooth winner over this trip on her penultimate run in Pune easily beating Grappa and Adele and followed it up with a fine performance here on the opening day when leading for a long way and only overwhelmed in the final strides by Renato and Ascension ending a very close 3rd. She appears to have maintained her form and fitness and should give it a good go  from the front again although she looks out handicapped against Lord Commander on a line through Ascension. Neeraj Rawal is an eye catching booking but she is more likely to place today.
GOOD THING :- This 5 year old mare trained by Adhirajsingh Jodha is a winner of 1 of her 13 starts and looks an interesting outsider here. She has come down to a workable handicap mark and was knocked out of the race right at the start last time out and had run a couple of promising races the 2 previous runs before. She has been showing speed in the morning gallops and if looking well, could be each way value at a long price with S.A. Amit replacing Dashrath Singh in the saddle. Dark horse.
TENERIFE :- Lightly raced 4 year old filly from the S.K. Sunderji yard, she has run twice till date, once apiece in Pune and Mumbai and both times over 1200M. She made a pleasing debut when running an unextended 3rd to In The Stars and Arc Shine but then did not quite progress on her last start here when finishing 8th behind Intrepid again over 1200M. She now drops in trip to the minimum, S. Zervan takes over from P. Trevor in the saddle and she has blinkers fitted for the first time to help her concentrate. She too has been working well, is open to improvement on just her 3rd start and looks an interesting each way prospect.
CONCLUSION :- The top weighted Clymene is the selection to get the better of Lord Commander having showed plenty of speed on her racing debut and returning to that trip after an unsuccessful attempt at further. Tenerife blinkered for the first time today is also worth considering at longer odds
Race No. 6 :- The Captain G. Hall Trophy – Class III – Distance :- 1400M
CERRADO :- Vishal Gaikwad trained 4 year old filly who impressed in her juvenile season on this track last year and was a wide margin maiden winner over this trip on her 4th start, beating Solo Mission by 7 lengths. She then summered in Ooty where she finished 5th to Windsor Forest in the Nilgiris 1000 Guineas and improved to be runner up to Chief of Command in the Colts equivalent. She then went to Bangalore but flopped miserably in the Fillies Trial there and is returning after a substantial break but against much easier opposition. She is entitled to need this run after the long gap and may not be completely wound up but she could be better than her current handicap mark and is dangerous to ignore with Neeraj Rawal booked to ride. Potentially classy and a paddock check is advised.
FAIR WARNING :- Another promising 4 year old colt, this one trained by AdhirajsinghJodha and ridden by Dashrath Singh after having a couple of educative runs on this track last season, went to Bangalore and was successful in his last 2 starts over 1200M, winning fluently on both occasions but he has not seen the racetrack since August. He too looks a progressive sort and his preparatory work has been quite good so although returning from a long lay off, is worth checking in the preliminaries and if he is looking fit and well, he could very well make it 3 wins in a row.
RENATO :- Progressive and unbeaten 5 year old from the Malesh Narredu yard, began his racing career just a few months ago and after making a stylish win on debut over 1200M, needed every yard of the 5 furlong trip to just get up and beat Ascension and Priceless Girl dropped down to the minimum. This 7 furlong trip is likely to see him in a far better light and he is sure to improve further so his 5 kilo penalty looks unlikely to stop him. He has been tracking extremely well since his last run and with Yash Narredu up today, looks a strong contender to complete his hattrick.
ORION’S BELT :- 4 year old filly trained by Narendra Lagad, she looked out of her depth and was well beaten in the Indian 1000 Guineas but had showed a decent level of handicap form before that run, winning 2 of her 6 starts and scoring over this trip in Class IV a couple of runs ago, holding off Turning Point and Dibaba to win resolutely. C.S.Jodha has been booked to ride today but she is taking on a potentially strong field and although she is expected to run well, she is likely to fight it out for minor honours against some smart types and should make the frame.
LADY IN RED :- 4 year old filly from the Dallas Todywalla stable, she also looks a steadily progressive handicapper and comes into this fresh off a win over course and distance in the lower class, getting the better of Celestial Light under an inspired ride from David Allan.5 ½ kilo penalty for the win appears fair, Y.S. Srinath has been flown down for the ride and although she will need to step up and improve on her form to be a factor in what looks a much stronger field, she is fit and well and must be given each way consideration.
BESHIKTASH :- Lightly raced 4 year old from the S.K. Sunderji yard, there is a suspicion that we have yet to see the best of him and he did not run upto his potential when hot favourite last time out on his seasonal reappearance over 1200M. He was an impressive maiden winner the time before that and has plenty of scope to improve after just 4 starts. He is expected to strip fitter and relish the additional furlong and with A. Imran Khan keeping the ride, he looks a big danger to all
CONCLUSION :- Extremely competitive affair with some potentially smart types in the fray and making a confident selection is tough. Both Cerrado and Fair Warning look classy types but may be wanting in fitness after the long lay off and hence this should be a fight between the unbeaten Renato who has looked a smart sort and the enigmatic Beshiktashwho is better than he showed last time out.
Race No. 7 :- The Polish Patriot Plate – Class IV, 5 Years Old & Over – Distance :- 1400M
PACIFIC DUNES :- Improving 5 year old brother to Manifold from the yard of BezanChenoy, he was a shade disappointing when finishing only 3rd behind Zanara over a mile earlier in the season but looked to be progressing well in his 2 previous starts, finishing runner up to Zanzibaar over 1400M and then fluently scoring over a mile on his penultimate start. He has been working exceedingly well in his last few workouts indicating that he has made further progress and Santosh G, who gets on very well with him takes over in the saddle replacing Y.S. Srinath. He looks in fine trim at present and merits serious consideration with a run under his belt.
RELENTLESS PURSUIT :- 6 year old gelding trained by Imtiaz Sait who has just 1 win to his name from 13 starts till date but did finish a promising close ¾ length 2nd to Rapid Girl over this trip on his penultimate start and was clearly in need of the run last time out on his first start for 8 months so is sure to improve and strip fitter. The booking of Y.S. Srinath in place of inexperienced claimer K. Nazil suggests that connections are fancying their chances much more and although he has to prove that he is in the same form, he must definitely figure in calculations.
KODIAK QUEEN :- 5 year old got abroad mare from the M P Jodha yard, she was a debut winner over 6 furlongs but has failed to add further successes since then although she went desperately close over this trip in Pune a couple of starts ago when going down by a whisker to Bunting. She has had 2 below par efforts since then including a lung opener on this track but she appears to have improved since the last run and with D.S. Daman in the saddle she looks an each way contender if showing some improvement.
MASTER OF TRINITY :- 6 year old gelding from the yard of Altamash A Ahmed who is a half brother to Ocean and Beyond but has only managed to win 1 of his 14 starts till date. After a couple of modest efforts during the Pune season, he made a fine reappearance last time out over course and distance when attempting to make all and ending up a close 3rd to Grand Vitesse and Marvel. He is likely to benefit for that run and strip fitter but needs to show that he has attained some consistency as his previous form has been patchy. Neeraj Rawal keeps the ride and if turning up in the same mood, he could very well be able to score from pillar to post.
BROTHERSOFTHEWIND :- 5 year old gelding from the small stable of Trainer Vinesh, he was quite highly regarded by his connections but has managed just one win in 11 starts till date, that win being an upset one over course and distance in April off a mark of 27. He has been given 3 unextended runs since then with feeble riders and P. Trevor is now booked which is a positive jockey switch so he is likely to be involved and off a mark just 7 points higher, he is quite capable of earning another bracket.
FROSTED :- Honest but exposed 5 year old mare who is the 2nd runner from the Imtiaz Sait yard and has won 1 of her 12 starts and been runner up in her last 2 runs over 1400M. She looks to be maintaining her form without showing much improvement and may have competition for the lead from Master of Trinity and is more likely to be a place contender today than threaten seriously from a win perspective.
CONCLUSION :- This again looks very competitive but I will stick my neck out and pick Pacific Dunes who has been working extremely well since his last run and has Santosh G back in the saddle with whom he has run his 2 best races. The list of challengers is long but is headed by Brothersofthewind and Relentless Pursuit
Race No. 8 :- The Star Crowned Plate – Div. II – Class IV – Distance :- 1000M
NAME OF THE GAME :- Speedy 6 year old mare from the yard of C. Rajendra, she has been holding her form well since scoring a gritty 6 furlong success a few starts ago and last time out made a bold attempt over this trip and was run out of it in the closing stages by Backstreet Bay. She looks to be in good touch at present and with Dashrath Singh retaining the ride and a decent draw, she looks one to consider seriously and can earn another bracket if things go her way.
SPEEDO :- 6 year old gelding trained by Adhirajsing hJodha, he finished just behind Name of the Game last time out on his first run in a while and he is likely to strip fitter and may improve past her with the benefit of the run. He had been knocking on the door on a couple of starts in Pune over this trip but as yet has been unable to add to his solitary career success in 29 starts. S.A. Amit keeps the ride and he looks another strong each way contender.
ABRAXAS :- Maiden 4 year old filly who began her career with Dallas Todywalla but was then sold into the Narendra Lagad stable and showed some improvement for her new connections last time out when running on strongly to be 2nd to Blitzkreig over course and distance with feeble claimer on board. She gets a lot more assistance in the saddle with T.S. Jodha taking over today and has also bagged the plum draw in Stall 1. She does have scope for further improvement and is another who is worth considering here.
CAPTAIN :- Speedy 5 year old gelding trained by Faisal Abbas he appears to be a bit of a moody customer and is still a maiden after 11 starts but looks to be on a reasonable mark at present and showed some spark on his penultimate run in Pune when making good late headway from the rear to finish just outside the frame. He has had a lung opener this season to get him fit and his last couple of workouts have been eye catching. C.S. Jodha keeps the ride and he looks to have a strong chance to get off the mark today.
WILSHIRE :-Improving 4 year old from the stables of S.K. Sunderji, he showed signs of coming to hand on his reappearance run here when running a forward race over 1200M and keeping on to finish a good 2nd to Royal Classic. That was his first run with some promise in his 5 starts and he is expected to build on that and progress further. The drop to the minimum trip may not be ideal but P. Trevor has been booked to ride today and with the maximum scope for improvement among this lot, he shapes as a very live danger
CONCLUSION :- A tricky finale as usual and a chance is taken on the enigmatic Captain who appears to be better than he has shown us till date and has worked very well of late. The improving Wilshire should be the main danger along with the unexposed Abraxas
(Disclaimer : Views are entirely that of the correspondent only and RWITC takes no responsibility for the same)

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