Katrak, Sandesh steal limelight
Trainer Cooji Katrak and jockey Sandesh combined to dominate the opening day of the Mumbai racing season 2013-14 that got underway on Sunday at the Mahalaxmi racecourse.
The pair won three of the eight races on the card, including the feature event, the Maharaja Of Morvi Trophy. Sandesh also rode an extra winner for trainer Altamash Ahmed, steering Alaindair to victory in the Mathradas Goculdas Trophy.
Katrak had entrusted four of his main hopes to jockey Sandesh, who won the championship crown at the recently-concluded Pune season. The trainer-jockey pair advertised their intentions right from the first race when Sandesh astride Katrak ward Belmont shaped like a winner near the distance post before favourite Janis Jay, trained by Imtiaz Sait, wrested back the initiative to win the Gateway Of India Plate.
However, they won the next two races back-to-back with Starry Eyes who humbled her two rivals in the Maharaja Of Morvi Trophy, and Rosie Sunshine who dramatically accelerated in the homestretch to claim the Star Fortune Plate. two hours later, Katrak and Sandesh struck yet again with popular choice Shivalik Storm, who scored in the Nyayo Plate.
Most race results were along expected lines, with Alaindair and Starry Eyes both keeping alive their Classic aspirations with impressive wins in their respective races. However, another three-year-old in Beforememoryfades also thundered onto the scene posting a fine win over favourite Sheer Class in the race of hope Gold Cup in a smart timing of 1 minute 23.56 seconds for seven furlongs that compared well with 1 minute 23.24 seconds clocked by Alaindair for the Class I race. Beforememoryfades was saddled by Nosher Cama and ridden by Neeraj Rawal.