Touted as the best horse in Mauritius for some time and adored by the fanatical public, Il Saggiatore, started as the warm 1/5 favorite to make it back to back wins in seven days at Champ de Mars on Saturday.
The fairytale however was ended by the talented first time Mauritian starter, Ice Axe, the son of Western Winter, who won in a course record time.
The Ricky Maingard trained inmate was the second favorite and the talk around town was that he was well and the stable were excited about this prospects.
As the race developed over a distance of 1500m, 100m shorter than the Il Saggiatore victory last weekend, Ice Axe took a commanding lead around the bend leading into in the straight with the favourite some way back but running on like a freight train. Unfortunately, the extremely short straight at Champ de Mars is unforgiving to horses making a late run and the champion failed to collar the raising star on the line in a heads up heads down verdict.
There was no disgrace in defeat but it left the punters disappointed. Jockey Robbie Burke made it up in a small way by taking out the very next event.
The Prime Minister of the island made an appearance to present the Group 1 trophy to connections in what was a grand gesture by the no.1 citizen.
This Mauritian group 1 was an enthralling end to a week of festivities and celebration. 200 years have passed since the initial races at this famed track to place and long may the history of Mauritian racing carve its niche in the world of thoroughbred horse racing.