Pune: The Pune Derby was touted as an open race and the suspense was very much in the air. The crowd, which thronged and jostled for a vantage spot, was treated to some fantastic racing action. On the track, however, there was not a moment of calm before the storm.
They were off with a bang and the jostling for strategised positions was obvious from the moment the gates were flung open. The final finish was befitting a race of such high stature. An eventful final day culminated the Pune Meeting 2017 in a grand finale.
An elaborate nine-race card saw some interesting finishes with Lady In Lace winning the feature event. Lady In Lace didn’t leave any scope of surprises in the Stud Pune Derby (GR1). The daughter of Chinese Whisper (IRE)-Sea Spray ran true to form and lasted out the trip but only just. Suraj Narredu would have surely heaved a sigh of relief, but never showed it nor did he admit it later.
But there is no question that both Rochester and Caprisca gained on Lady In Lace in the final moments of the race.
This will keep the hopes alive that they can reverse the verdict during the Mumbai Classics. Kangra played his role of a pacemaker to the hilt. He was quickly out and shot into the lead to make a true pace for the big race. Once ahead, Suraj kept the momentum going and was well in front of Rochester, who tried hard to make an impact on Suraj. Past the winning post, Suraj kept going at a fair clip and almost looked home and dry when Rochester made a swift forward move from the rear to challenge Suraj closer home.
However, Suraj was right up to it and his early lead came in handy and did just enough to stay ahead at the ire and clinch the Stud Pune Derby (GR1). He won as accolades for bringing alive the contest as did Lady In Lace for the breathtaking victory.
The stories that people would carry back home, the debates, arguments and cross-arguments that this particular race would throw open, will surely kindle the Pune Derby fire for a long time to come. Although it was not a cracker, Lord Of The Star galloped at a fair clip and the others were made to follow in close order. Sweet Music initially settled into second place but could not handle the pace and packed up lot earlier than expected.
Once they entered the homestretch, Mygrator was quick to pounce on the frontrunners and took charge, still on a tight rein.
While both Makionl and New England faded away. Mygrator, however, was clear by then and marched on to score his Pune season second victory. The 2/1 favourite was never under threat and he galloped on strongly to notch up a facile victory.
New England l rallied late at the post by head behind to take the runner-up slot. Carrying a saddle full of lead and giving chunks of weight to his rivals, the impressive colt Mygrator redeemed himself by winning the Sir Sultan Chinoy Trophy, another of the top feature races of the day.