In a remarkable co-incidence that has uncanny similarities to the infamous Bullseye episode as far as the timing is concerned, another Pesi Shroff-trained horse, three-year-old Maisha, returned positive for a banned drug that is routinely used to treat depression in menopausal women. Strangely, the same drug was also found in another horse, Mohegun Sun trained by M K Jadhav, who has a 45-year drug-free record as a horse trainer.
It may be recalled that the Bullseye report had come in just before the race club's managing committee elections last year, and the Maisha-Mohegun Sun reports came in yesterday, less than a week before the same elections, scheduled to be held on Dec 16.
Strangely, Bullseye was owned by Vijay Shirke and KN Dhunjibhoy who are locked in a bitter fight with the ruling Vivek Jain group for the control of the elite race club, and though both of them do not own either Maisha or Mohegun Sun, it is a known fact that their horses are trained by both Pesi Shroff and M K Jadhav.
Maisha had recently won her prep race, the Maharaja Of Morvi Trophy, and is the ante post favourite for the Indian 1000 Guineas to be run this Sunday, while Mohegun Sun had last raced ten days ago and had finished 11th in a 12-horse field.
Sabotage not ruled out
When mid-day contacted Pesi Shroff, he confirmed the news, and said, "It's like someone slaps you in the dark and runs away--no trainer in his right mind would administer medication to a horse."
"There has to be a scientific investigation and a scientific answer as to why a consistent performer like Maisha, with an unblemished record, would be found with a drug that, I am told, is an antidepressant used in Menopausal women?," Shroff added, before asking, "and look at the other horse--Jadhav's Mohegan Sun, he is a gelding (male horse), does it make sense?"
On specifically asked if he again suspected sabotage as he had alleged in the Bullseye case, Shroff said, "I had suspected sabotage in the Bullseye case, and as per the investigation, all the people I suspected, from top to bottom, are the ones that have turned up to be involved in that case."
When Vivek Jain, RWITC chairman, was contacted for reaction on Shroff's suspicion about the sabotage angle, he said, "As far as the Bullseye case is concerned, the investigation is on; and as regards this (Maisha) case, we don't know the full facts as of now except that there is a positive report."