Shivalik Storm, ably ridden by A Sandesh, overpowered the favourite Your Royal Majesty close to the wire to win the grade 3, A C Ardeshir Trophy, the feature event of a seven-race card that was run at the Mahalaxmi Racetrack. The winner, trained by Cooji Katrak for owners G Shewakramani, Vikram Singh and Kishore M Dhingra, took home Rs 9 lakh.
Shivalik Storm had never won beyond seven furlongs, and in fact, had miserably performed over the mile trip in all his three earlier attempts, whereas Zachary, when in form last season, was a specialist miler. However, that brilliant form of Zachary was clearly a thing of the past as he just failed to match strides with Shivalik Storm who stepped up speed at the two-furlong marker after stalking Your Royal Majesty (Trevor up) all the way.
With Zachary dropping out of contest, both Trevor and Sandesh went stride for stride until the winning post, but Sandesh managed to outwit his arch rival, thanks mainly to a tiring Your Royal Majesty who started showing the signs of fatigue in the last 100 metres.
The day began with an effortless victory for the Altamash-trained Siobhan (Trevor up) who annihilated her rivals when winning the Sir Jamsetsee Jeejeebhoy (VI Bart) Cup on a tight rein, followed by The Unicorn (NS Parmar up) who made every post of the 2000-meter trip a winning one in a successful wire-to-wire bid.
The Unicorn was trained by Pesi Shroff, who also bagged the day's honours by leading in two more winners on the card, thus scoring a popular treble. Shroff's other two winners were Myrtlewood and debutant Gestapo. The Style Cracker Million was decisively won by Faisal Abbas-trained Holy Smoke.
The deteriorating health of Dr MAM Ramaswamy was the central point of discussion among racegoers yesterday. Rumour mills went into overdrive on Saturday speculating that 'Ramu', as the doyen of Indian horse racing is affectionately called, had passed away.
However, when mid-day contacted Mr Ramkrishna, secretary of the Madras Race Club and a close confidante of the turf baron, late on Saturday night, he described Dr Ramaswamy's condition as "critical", but added that he was on life support.
It may be noted that Dr Ramaswamy, reportedly with failed kidneys and exacerbating liver complications, was admitted into the intensive care unit of a Chennai hospital last week.