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Pesi Shroff, Malesh Narredu split honours as season kicks off

Pesi Shroff and Malesh Narredu, both former ace-jockeys-turned trainers, renewed their rivalry on the first Sunday of the just-begun Mumbai racing season, each saddling a brace on the seven-race card. 

In the process, Narredu also picked up the feature event of the afternoon, the Maharaja Of Morvi Trophy, with 3y old Colombiana (P Kamlesh up).

Pesi Shroff scored a double by winning both the opening and closing events of the programme--the Royal Calcutta Turf Club Trophy with Lord Jim (NS Parmar up) and the Col Mahadik Memorial Trophy with Solange (PS Chouhan up). Both winners saddled by Shroff went out as overwhelmingly backed public choices.

Kamlesh kept Colombiana a handy third as Mount Rushmore and Sugar Bay cut pace with each other, with Bold Appeal and Magnificence content to grace the rear end.

The Kolkata-based jockey, who donned the ‘Saffron, white swastika’ silks of the Nandas, kept the piping-hot on-money favourite on a tight leash until the turn, so much so that he actually allowed the two behind him to join him as all the horseheads were turning for home.

However, nearing the two-furlong marker Kamlesh loosened the grip on Colombiana only slightly and the son of Noverre out of Wonder Smile displayed excellent turn of foot to surge clear of the rest almost in a trice.

It was a rather leisurely victory for the Sohna stud-bred, who clocked 1:25.61 for the seven-furlong trip, when finishing two-and-a-half lengths ahead of Magnificence (Vaibhav up), who spared another length to Mount Rushmore (Chouhan up).

Narredu’s other winner, Sweeping Star, was ridden by his son Yash Narredu to a facile victory in the Star Admiral Plate. Sweeping Star ran friendless at 10-1 as almost all the betting money in that race found its way to Avant Garde ridden by Neeraj Rawal and trained by Altamash Ahmed. Yash decided to set his own pace soon after crossing the first furlong of the mile contest, and then made every furlong post along the way a winning one.

Neeraj Rawal astride the favourite Avant Garde did try to issue his challenge midway in the homestretch, but the filly simply failed to quicken, and Sweeping Star sailed away for a comfortable victory, her fourth from six starts so far.

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