As we head into more high-octane horse race action, here’s wishing all our readers a happy and prosperous New Year. In our first racing weekend review of the year 2020, we look back on a special day at the Mahalaxmi Race Course in Mumbai.

Jockey Sandesh made the last race day on 2019 in the city his own. He scored 5 wins on the trot, including our two featured races. Did he succeed astride horses we picked out? Read on to find out:

The Kusumben Dhirubai Shah Trophy

A 1000m sprint for horses between 40 and 66 in the rating chart, this one got off to a fine start on Sunday. All the horses were fit and in fine form, resulting in arguably the best race of the day. The tote favorite was Storm Breaker, who was our top choice for this event as well.

As the second-best, we chose Arc Shine, with En Sabah Nur a very intriguing long-shot prospect. Of these three, Arc Shine finished at number 5, leaving the other two to battle it out for the top three slots.

The surprise early lead in the race was Impala, about whom we will learn below.

Results summary:

En Sabah Nur – The bay gelding sired by Diffident was one of the five winning horses ridden by Sandesh this day. In a race dominated by Impala from the start, Sabah Nur gave chase and ultimately finished ahead by just a nose. The gelding gifted his trainer Narendra Lagad with a third win out of 8 races. He had odds of 27/4 before the race.

Impala – The early leader was a 4-year-old bay gelding born to Win Legend (JPN) and Native Princess (USA). A stablemate of En Sabah Nur trained by Narendra Lagad, he had Dashrath Singh as his jockey. The finish was quite tight, with Impala barely managing to hold on to second by a margin of a long neck. He has scored 9 top-four finishes out of 20 races with 3 wins.

Storm Breaker – The tote favorite kept up the challenge gamely until the end, but could not get the better of the front runners. The son of Leitir Mor was actually under heavy pressure from Rising Brave in fourth and barely managed to keep himself in third by a nose length. He had odds of 93/100 before this race.

The Maharaja Jiwajirao Scindia Trophy

The feature event of the day saw another upset for a tote favorite, with La Rondine bested by a lesser fancied contender. This one was a 1800m race (Grade 2) with six horses, all of whom finished the race.

In our preview, we expected La Rondine to come out on top, with Bronx widely expected to give chase. Our dark horse in this race was Tasawwur,  who had none other than Sandesh in the saddle.

All three of these horses finished at the top of the pile.

Results summary:

Tasawwur – This was one of Sandesh’s finest efforts of the day, as he guided the 36/10 rated son of Multidimensional past La Rondine. Tasawwur won by a convincing margin of almost 2 lengths in the end. His rating was just 77 for this race. He now has 5 wins out of 8 under trainer Adhiraj S Jodha.

La Rondine – The filly sired by Kingda Ka had jockey David Egan in the saddle for this race.. Though they gave it everything, they could not overcome Tasawwur’s staying power in the end. La Rondine was the highest-rated horse (114) in this race with odds of 24/10. Her win record stands at 4 out of 12, with another 6 in the top four.

Bronx – Nosher Cama’s ward had a decent performance well within our expectations for this race. The 5-year-old gelding had PS Chouhan in the saddle. They finished one and a half lengths behind La Rondine in third. Bronx had odds of 5/2 for this race.

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