Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jehanbux wins for Dhunjibhoy-Shirke-Desai at Sandown

On July 2, Richard Hughes was aboard Jehanbux, a Giant’s Causeway colt, in a maiden race at Sandown Park in England. Right-handed Sandown is a course located in Esher, easily accessible by train from London Waterloo. The freshman colt came from Richard Hannon’s yard. Trainer Hannon has had phenomenal success with two year-olds in recent times and Jehanbux’s debut was a matter of great interest. For fans in India, why would a colt’s first start on English soil be a worthy news item? Jehanbux was owned by K N Dhunjibhoy, V B Shirke and B M Desai. Does not the name ‘Jacqueline’ come readily to mind?

It was a Friday and a short distance away at Wimbledon, two Ladies’ Singles finals were being played but to a committed racing fan in India, the Jehanbux debut had emotional overtones. A field of 13 answered the starter’s call. Jehanbux, despite running green, was second in a photo. Jockey Hughes got a two-day ban for careless riding. Jehanbux’s second start came at Ascot on July 23 over another 1400-metre contest. There were seven runners and the Richard Hannon pupil was the 4/6 favorite. Unable to stage a winning rally, Jehanbux ran fourth although only a length and a half off the winner.

The scene shifts back to Sandown. It was Thursday, August 5 and the Esher track was holding a twilight meeting. The 6 45 PM race was the Brothers Pear Cider E B F Maiden Stakes over 1600 metres. Jehanbux was a 2-1 second favorite. There were eight runners.

Now, I will let Mr Dhunjibhoy describe the action. I spoke to him Friday morning Chicago time. “It was impressive in more ways than one. There was serious interference with 400 metres to go. Our colt had to be checked. Richard (Hughes) got him out and got going and made up, at least, two and one half lengths on the leader. He won by a neck but I would say, it was a long neck.”

The E B F Maiden Stales was worth 3,238 pounds and Jehanbux, with a 3-1-1-0 record, has 5,213 pounds in his account. The time for the race was 1 46.25. Harlan Honey by Silver Hawk is Jehanbux’s dam. The foal was born on March 19, 2008.

“I go to Europe four times a year. We were in England in April with the intention of buying two fillies. I had been thinking for sometime about racing in England and Ireland. I was at the Tattersalls Breeze-up sales. We liked the looks of a colt we saw. We made the decision to buy him for 80,000 Guineas,” Mr Dhunjibhoy said.

I asked Mr Dhunjibhoy why Richard Hannon was chosen. “We know Richard Hughes very well. He rides for Hannon and they have been a great partnership. Hannon has been very good with two year-olds. It was not a hard decision at all,” he stated.

My next question was where does Jehanbux stand in Hannon’s pecking order. “Hannon has a lot of good two year-olds. He believes that Jehanbux will rank right up with the best. We are optimistic. It is an exciting time,” Mr Dhunjibhoy exulted.

“Tom, I will be in Paris for the Arc in early October. I am hoping to see you there, “ Mr Dhunjibhoy concluded.

Trainer Hannon has several promising freshmen and is coming to a point where in a big race, his best prospect is opposed by another from his yard. Hughes is having a sensational season. He has a realistic chance of landing his first British riding title. He is chasing Paul Hanaghan.

The colors that Hughes uses when riding Jehanbux are different from those he had when aboard Jacqueline. I am unable to determine what they are. Mr Dhunjibhoy was very kind. He sent three pictures and they are all being used with this story. I am not computer savvy and had to enlist my daughter's help to get the pictures in the blog text. You can see the UK colors of Dhunjibhoy-Shirke-Desai. The picture (taken in June)with a rider is of Jehanbux after work on the track. The bottom picture shows Jehanbux on the day of the sale in April. I can see how pictures brighten the text. I am trying extra hard to understand the photo inserting process.

I suggest strongly that fans in India follow the progress of Jehanbux. Please visit Richard Hannon’s website and register. That is a convenient way to be informed of the happenings in the Hannon stable.

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