Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Karmic connection

Image credit: RWITC Ltd

By Suraj Narredu

The more I think the more I believe our family has a karmic connection with the Pune Derby. As you know we basically hail from Pune, and though my family has settled in Bangalore after my father Satish made it his home, my uncle Malesh still lives here. He is the one who almost monopolised the Nanoli Stud Pune Derby, winning it seven times. My father had his share with two wins astride Dr Ramaswamy's Scenic Royale and Forest Fantasy. So I was obviously looking forward to continue the family tradition.

I also was itching to win the Classic for another reason. In recent weeks, despite my best efforts I had to play second fiddle to winners in three group races at three different centers--Kolkata, Hyderabad & Mysore. Of course I lost to far superior horses, but I was getting more eager to win a Classic now.

I had a good horse this time in Hills And Stars--she had won her races easily although not everyone was impressed because what she beat was not much. But the trainer (Vinayak) was very confident. I had ridden her in her last start so I was sure she was equal to the task on hand. I thought if the pace could be fast, she would have the best chance--I was secretly praying for a fast pace.

I was keenly watching how the track played on Sunday. In the earlier races, most winners emerged from the horses who kept up with the pace, so I decided to play it that way. You can see though I raced fifth or sixth, I was never more than 3-4 lengths off the leader at any stage.

Luckily for me Pronto Star set a fast pace, and when he came apart Lake Michigan took over momentarily to bring us into the homestretch. My filly was moving so well at the time and was so keen that I let her have her way and eased her into the lead. And the moment I urged her, she skipped away with such force we had a 3 length lead in a trice. I knew no horse would be able to challenge us now and we had won the race.

(As told to Prakash Gosavi)

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