The Sahaan Multimillion race at the Mahalaxmi racetrack on Saturday culminated in a nail-biting finish, with the first six horses passing the winning post within a narrow band of only two-and-half lengths. The Pesi Shroff-trained Elizabeth in the end was the deserving winner, having accelerated from the last position at the turn to sweep past the entire field, and passing leader Star Trainer (R Hughes up) almost in the last stride on the finish line.
As the gates opened, Star Trainer was quickly taken to the front by Irishman Richard Hughes, followed by Beautiful Stranger, Black Magic Woman, Ciel Indienne, Speed Six, Rajasthan Royals, Hatsuhana and Pepe Junior, with Elizabeth (S Pasquier up) choosing to bring up the rear. As soon as the field straightened for home, Star Trainer looked like getting away with his start-to-finish tactics as most of his rivals were already off the bridle but couldn't make any impression on him. However, soon Elizabeth emerged from the rear, with Pasquier maneuvering his way deftly as first Ciel Indienne, and later Hatsuhana threatened to hamper her flight as they could not keep straight under pressure.
Khushroo Dhunjibhoy, who owns winner Elizabeth along with partner Vijay Shirke, told Sunday MiD DAY after the race: "It sure was a pulse-pounding finish. And our hearts were in our mouths at one stage when those two horses hampered her run." But in the end, Frenchman Stephane Pasquier astride Elizabeth managed to overcome all traffic hazards, and produced a decisive flourish from the five-year-old mare to nail Star Trainer within the sniffing distance of the winning post.
Dhunjibhoy had praise for the jockey who rode exactly as per the instructions. "We told him to settle her at the back and make his move only when the race got serious," he added, "she (Elizabeth) loves to come from off the pace, and gives out her best." Trainer Pesi Shroff, who saddled Elizabeth, emerged as the star professional for the day with a treble, having earlier led in Hennessy (Allair Plate) & Stromboli (Worthwhile Plate).