Doubles galore in Pune

The most lucrative of these braces, in terms of the betting odds, was the one saddled by trainer Faisal Abbas, who picked up the B K Lagad Memorial Gold Trophy with a rank outsider, 12-to-1 Dreamliner (C S Jodha up), and exactly an hour later, saddled another shocker of a winner when Dashrath Singh brought his Ishpingo (incidentally, winner of the MiD DAY Trophy on the Christmas day two years ago at Mahalaxmi) with a scintillating stretch run in the final furlong to steal the Antonios Trophy at the massive odds of 20-to-1. A mere Rs 100 roll on these two horses would have earned Rs 27,200 as profit for anyone who backed it.

Jockey Dashrath Singh had himself ridden another 9-to-1 shot named Burn (trainer: Antia) earlier to victory in the opening race of the afternoon — his double’s followers collecting a cool Rs 20,900 on a Rs 100 investment.

Sandesh, who matched Dashrath Singh’s feat in the saddle, also hogged the limelight when he treated the field of the grade 3, Eve Champion Trophy, the feature event, with utter contempt. The Altamash Ahmed-trained horse unleashed a powerful gallop midway in the straight and streaked ahead from the inner lane, decimating his rivals to sail away to a nine-and-a-half length victory for owners Dr Nevill Devlaliwalla & Paawan Sakseria. The champion jockey who hails from the same hometown, Matheran, as that of legendary Vasant Shinde, had earlier steered Rehanullah Khan-trained Cosmic Dancer to a popular victory.

Trainer Pesi Shroff also led in two winners, Roswald (M Kharadi up) & Amistad (S Zervan up), but while the latter was, as a normal Shroff winner generally is, the favourite, the former really rubbed it in when he, available at 10-to-1, managed to lead by several lengths despite setting slower fractions, and finally drew away for a seven-length victory, tricking his four rivals which, ironically, included stable mate Hamlet who was a piping hot on-money favourite.

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