Cyrus Poonawalla-owned filly puts up stunning performance to trump opponents in avidly followed race at Mahalaxmi Race Course
Mumbai: In an incredible display of sheer horse power, First And Only One, owned by racing’s first family Dr Cyrus Poonawalla and his son Adar, braved what looked like an impossible task at one stage, to win the MiD DAY Trophy, the glamour event of Saturday’s ten-race card.
Dr Cyrus Poonawalla (right) smiles after receiving the MiD DAY Trophy from Kareena Kapoor Khan. Actor Gulshan Grover is to Kareena’s right
The Ace — First One Home filly found herself behind a wall of horses at a crucial juncture with only the final two furlongs to go, but a determined David Allan pulled her out to avoid any traffic problems, and then asked her to go.
Within moments, First One Home accelerated with such gigantic strides that she passed eight of the 11 horses who were racing ahead of her at the time with such amazing turn of foot, that race caller Suhail Mohammed declared her as winner though she was yet to overtake the final three horses.
This was easily the most amazing display in the nine-year old history of the MiD DAY Trophy, impossible ever to be erased from the memory of those who witnessed it live.
Among the impressed lot was Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor Khan who graced the Mahalaxmi turf for the first time as MiD DAY’s guest. “This is my first visit to the racecourse, and I can’t describe how immensely I have enjoyed it,” Kareena told the waiting media. “Thank you MiD DAY for giving me this opportunity to be here today. I have enjoyed this every bit.”
Jockey David Allan astride First And Only One powers past his opponents on Saturday. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
Film star Tusshar Kapoor also accompanied Kareena on the dais, and presented the trophy to the trainer of the winner, Altaf Hussain. An emotional Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, after receiving the MiD DAY trophy form Kareena, said, “I dedicate this trophy to the memory of my beloved wife Villoo, who was the ‘first and only one’ love of my life, that’s why I named this filly First And Only One.”
He added, “I am happy she won the MiD DAY trophy on a day when we have sponsored the Indian Oaks on today’s card in Villoo’s memory.” Dr Poonawalla called Kareena “the sweetest girl”, and said it was a great feeling to receive the trophy at her hands. “I will confess this,” Kareena told the huge crowd that had lined up the paddock to witness the trophy presentation ceremony, and clamoured for her to speak in Hindi, a request she obliged to instantly.
“I never thought this was going to be such an enjoyable experience, and I am really thrilled to know that the winning horse, First And Only One, is owned by my dear friend Natasha Poonawalla’s family.”
Isn’t It Special wins too
The Poonawalla family not only won the the MiD DAY Trophy, but a filly bred by them, Isn’t It Special, also won the grade 1, Villoo Poonawalla Indian Oaks.