A Look Ahead To The Casino Royale Indian 2000 Guineas (Gr.1)
By Mahendra Mallya
The Indian 2000 Guineas comes as the second Indian classic following the Indian 1000 Guineas and unlike the first Classic, this race is open to both genders. This race is an important landmark in a racing thoroughbred’s career as it brings under the scanner, the potential candidates for the premier race of the centre – The Indian Derby.
In the 68 versions of the Classic, 20 winners of the 2000 Guineas have raised their performances and won the Indian Derby. Many, who had finished in the frame in this race, raised their levels and topped in the Derby. Ten of the winners of the 2000 Guineas have stamped their superiority during the season and beyond and won the coveted Indian Triple Crown! So if one wants to ‘catch them young’, there can be no better yardstick than the Indian 2000 Guineas.
From a winner’s purse of Rs 20,000/- in its year of inception, won by Princess Beautiful in 1942/43, the total stakes for the Casino Royal Indian 2000 Guineas 2010 hovers just above the Rs 6 Million mark. The highest ever stakes for this race was in the year 2008/09 when the total stakes peaked at just over Rs 7.2 Million. Mr Jaydev Mody’s Autonomy won the race that year. Autonomy made up for his Derby loss that season, by winning the Grade 1, Indian Turf Invitation Cup at Hyderabad.
For the first time ever, an Indian Classic is being associated for a noble cause. The RWITC and the sponsors Casino Royale have come together and used the high popularity of this race to draw the focus on the harsher realities of innocent children in our society. Terming the race as a “Race for a Cause’, the two organizations have provided a platform for those with a warm heart to donate for the cause of the Happy Home & School for the Blind. The entire proceeds of the drive will be donated to this noble school which tenders care, education and training to over 200 visually impaired children – the less fortunate, yet cheerful gen- next.
With the action off the track being so heart warming, the Indian 2000 Guineas is sure to provide a sizzling finish to complement the ‘Race for a Cause’. A fairly large field of 14 will go to the gates. The ones with the biggest chances and are likely to dominate are given below:
Ocean And Beyond: Winner of the Nanoli Pune Derby and well rested thereafter. He has not had a prep run, but is seen working well on the morning tracks. He has had the feel of the turf in a mock race for horses taking part in the classics. Onassis won that mock race with Ocean And Beyond finishing a close second just ahead of Berlusconi, another main contender.
Eloise:The only filly in the fray but surely a potent force going by her current form. She started off this season with a flourish, winning The Sir Charles Forbes Trophy beating Star Warrior in a fighting finish. Her run in the Indian 1000 Guineas was eye-catching, finishing in close with the super duo of Siachen and Moonlight Romance. If she improves on that run, she would certainly trouble the colts.
Immense: A top line contender from Bangalore, he has the Mysore 2000 Guineas under his belt beating Sun Kingdom the recent winner of the Bangalore 2000 Guineas. Immense has arrived well ahead of the targeted race and looks right on course in his training.
Berlusconi: One on the upward curve. Certainly in the reckoning on pure merit. He won his first two assignments in Pune and displayed great talent in both speed and stamina. Finished a noteworthy third in the Nanoli Pune Derby and was seen moving on tight reins in the mock race won by Onassis. Looks in fine trim and should be involved in the finish.
Beautiful Stranger: Winner of the ‘Juvenile Derby’ – the PBMM earlier this year. He looks to have found his feet once again after a temporary dip in form while in Pune. He won his prep race showing a powerful finish on the opening day over a six-furlong sprint.
Moon Star and Camacho: Fought out well in their last encounter and the former managed to edge his rival out close home. Both contenders are capable to trouble the best.
Star Future: With four wins from five starts he would certainly fancy his chances. His latest success over a mile enhances his chances. Not to forget that he has beaten the highly rated Moonlight Romance by over 5 lengths during last Mumbai Season. Although he won a mile race in his last start in Pune, he came under slight pressure towards the finish. He will have to be lot more powerful at the business end to come up trumps here.
Star Warrior: Took off well at the start of his career with back to back wins. He has not really fired on since. He ran second to Eloise in his season opener and was then sent to Hyderabad for the 2000 Guineas. He ended a close second to Astounding Gallop after arriving late on the scene. He has shown a lot of promise on occasions, but has never really made his opportunities count.
Macchupicchu and Tender Romance: Both coming from Pesi Shroff’s stable have won their respective first assignments this season. Both are fairly good contenders and they seem to be peaking at the right time. However, it won’t be an easy task for either and will have to come up with something extra to return victorious.
Su Chaliyo:Took his time getting into the groove but has improved a lot of late. His latest victory was a runaway one when he cantered all alone in a small field winning The Sir H M Mehta Trophy over a mile. For Su Chaliyo, this is his biggest challenge yet and has his task cut out.
Batista and Starrer have not been as consistent as a Classic contender should be. They have had their moments in the Sun but have not carried on their good work. However, horses have confounded many an expert. They fill the bill of being the outsiders or the shock elements.