After a long time jockey A Sandesh was seen riding some incredible races at the Mahalaxmi racetrack. The Matheran boy used the Sunday card to get back into great form, and inched closer to his arch rival Trevor Patel in the jockeys championship tally. He scored a quadruple yesterday to take his tally to 34 wins, breathing down Trevor Patel's neck who is sitting at the top with 35 wins. With six more weeks to go before the Mahalaxmi season ends in late April, the contest between the two ace riders will only get more interesting by the day.
In the main event, the grade 2, CN Wadia Gold Cup, Sandesh settled trainer Vinesh's Jack Frost in fifth berth, with only Alaindair behind him, even as favourite Cameron dictated pace to Commodore, B Fifty Two and Veronese. However, sensing that the pace was too slow, he quickly brushed up approaching the five-furlong marker to stalk the front-running duo on the outside. On turning for home, Commodore (Neeraj Rawal up) easily got the measure of leader Cameron, but had to fight with all his reserve fuel when Sandesh urged Jack Frost who gained on him with every stride. Commodore virtually surrendered to Sandesh's onslaught as Jack Frost skipped away in the final 50 meters to post an easy victory for owners Peter Deubet, Xerxis A Shahiwalla and Mrs Ferzin V Gaikwad.
Sandesh began his day with a 13-to-1 shot in Brahmachari trained by Imtiaz Sait to win the Mulraj D Goculdas Trophy, a class I event over six furlongs; and immediately followed it up with the Rehanulla Khan-trained Vice Admiral (5-to-1) in the Behram Engineer Trophy, named after the gentleman who retired as secretary of the race club after a longish stint. After failing to save place money with next two mounts, Sandesh bounced back Jack Frost as described above, before wrapping up the last race of the card with the 7-to-2 favourite, Motherland trained by Dallas Todywalla, to bag the upper division of the Indian Navy Trophy.
Interestingly, this was the second turnaround in the last one month by the ace jockey whose form has alternated between the best and the worst. Exactly a month ago, after riding Irish Bailey to victory on Feb 12, Sandesh had gone without a win for 18 straight mounts, and on Sunday when he rode a loser astride Star Scholar in the first race, he was going into this 10th straight ride without a win. But when he brought long shot Brahmachari from the rear of the field with a flourish in the final furlong to sweep past the piping hot favourite Paramour (Trevor Patel up), the losing run was broken, and the next three victories on the card have landed him just one point away from Trevor in the championship battle.
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