Pune: The Pune Derby witnessed some fantastic racing action as trainer Malesh Narredu’s prized colt, Pioneer with jockey P Trevor astride kept his date with the 2,000 metre feature event at the Pune Race Course here on Sunday.
Pioneer upstaged his southern challenger, Knotty Ash who is from Prasanna Kumar’s stable, who contested the battle with a lot of courage and gusto.
The afternoon also witnessed close verdicts in most of races in the nine event card but favourites and the fancied horses played a dominant role to the delight of the big derby day crowd.
The crowd that 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.
The action was off with a bang and the jostling for strategised positions was obvious from the moment the gates flung open. The final finish was befitting a race of such high stature.
Pioneer’s victory was not without hiccups. The top class horse was in sweat as he paraded in the paddock while Knotty Ash bore a calm look and went to the start as a 2/1 favourite.
The parade did send some distress signals in Malesh Narredu’s quarters. Otherwise the other runners, Desperado and Knotty Ash had no reason to attract tonnes of money after the field was despatched to the start. Desperado closed as a joint second favourite with Pioneer at 6/1.
An elaborate nine-race card saw some interesting finishes with Pioneer winning the feature event. Pioneer didn’t leave any scope of surprises in the Pune Derby (Gr1). All the credit must go to Soarsh Modi who has been watching his morning track work for the last one month and also his fitness. P Trevor would have surely heaved a sigh of relief, but never showed it nor did he admit it later.
Pioneer is owned by Mr Jaydev M. Mody rep. J.M. Livestock Pvt Ltd, Mr & Mrs Shapoor P. Mistry rep. Manjri Horse Breeders’ Farm Pvt Ltd, Dr Ram H. Shroff an Mr Raj H. Shroff.
Ruffina marched on with her successive run of victories and went on to win the Noshir & Dolly Dhunjibhoy Sprint Championship in record timing.
Ruffina yet again put in a scorching performance to dismiss the opposition with complete authority.
Settling down just behind Victorious March, Gold Bag with Neeraj Rawal in the saddle surged ahead smoothly, the moment they turned for home.
Neeraj Rawal had little as Ruffina confidently shot ahead still on a tight rein. She accelerated approaching the distance post and looked the winner long way from home.
Ruffina earned her winning bracket on her fourth start and improved considerably on her debut nine and dished out a clinical performance in the hands of jockey Neeraj Rawal who too has shown good form this season.
This was Ruffina’s third win in as many starts in Pune, following her back to back wins in Mumbai, making it six in a row between the two centres.
The winner is owned by Dr Cyrus S. Poonawalla, Mr Adar C. Poonawalla and Mrs Natasha A. Poonawalla rep. Villoo Poonawalla Racing & Breeding Pvt Ltd, M/s Saleem Fazelbhoy, Dinsha P. Shroff & Munchi P. Shroff’s Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla,rep. Villoo Poonawalla Racing & Breeding Pvt Ltd.
Race 1: 1. Skysurfer, 2. Divine Power, 3. Kingston Heath, 4. Mighty Warrior. Won by: 3/4, 3/4, Short Neck, Nose. Time. 0:58.61.
Race 2: 1. Arabesque, 2. Seventh Mile, 3. Ahearn, 4. Saltbae. Won by: Nose, 7 1/4, Long Neck, 3/4. Time. 1:00.40.
Race 3: 1. Stormy Atlantic, 2. Chosen One, 3. Jetfire, 4.Sher Khan. Won by: 3, Short head, 3 ¼, 4 ¾. Time. 1:10.01.
Race 4: 1. Brazos, 2. Lucky Luciano, 3. Dazzle N Daze, 4 .Jager Bomb. Won by: 3/4, 3/4, Head, 8 ¼. Time. 2:31.35.
Race 5: 1. Till End Of Time, 2.Star Comrade, 3. Star Bright, 4. Flying Dragon. Won by: 4, 3 1/4, ½, Hd.Time. 1:37.92.
Race 6: 1.Ruffina, 2. Governor General, 3. Lincoln, 4. St. Andrews. Won by: 4, Neck, Short Head, 1. Time. 1:07.93.
Race 7: 1.Pioneer, 2. Knotty Ash, 3. Desperado, 4. Excellent.Won by: Short Neck, Short Head, 1 ¾, 3 1/2. Time. 2:04.24.
Race 8: 1. Lord Commander, 2.Loire, 3.Smar Choice 4.Clark Kent. Won by: Nose, 2, 3/4, Nose.Time. 58.90.
Race 9: 1. Brave, 2. Komodo Dragon, 3. Art Deco, 4. Allegria. Won by: 1 1/2, 1/2, 1, 3 .Time. 0:58.37.