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The Brilliant Squanderer was The Greatest Indian Thoroughbred - By Bob Sawhny

Posted on - 31 Jan 2011

The Brilliant Squanderer was The Greatest Indian Thoroughbred
By Bob Sawhny
The Indian Derby has been the most coveted racing prize in the country since 1943 and like all great races it has its share of all that makes racing the best supported spectator sport in the world.
Class, courage, soundness, speed, stamina and pedigree are the main attributes that are usually found among the champion thoroughbreds who have won The Indian Derby. They have, however, been a few exceptions viz., Martial Law who cut a snail-like time of Two minutes 50 seconds whilst winning The Derby in 1952 & Pyare Miya who was a maiden before he won the 1975 Indian Derby.
Triple Crown Winners - Commoner (1954), Loyal Manzar (1962), Prince Pradeep (1964), Red Rufus (1966), Our Select (1968), Squanderer (1977), Almanac (1982), Astonish (1992), Indictment (1997)  and Smart Chieftan (2000) were all exceptionally brilliant horses.
The phenomenal wonder filly Jacqueline, the joint property of Mr. & Mrs. Vijay Shirke, Mr. Khushroo N. Dhunjibhoy & Mr. Berjis Minoo Desai was the greatest India filly, as she became the only horse in Indian racing history to win over Rupees Three Crore in stakes and four successive Indian Classics in 2009 - 2010 viz., The Indian 1000 Guineas, Indian 2000 Guineas, The Indian Oaks and The Indian Derby. However, The six outings that she had on the Mumbai track during the 2009-10 season, especially the 2400M races in the Derby and the Invitation Cup where she succumbed by a mere head to Becket after a very tough tussle - unfortunately took its toll on the wonder filly, after which, she was aptly retired to the Nanoli Stud and covered by the classy - stallion Glory of Dancer and the invaluable foal is expected around the end of March 2011.  
Jacqueline will then be mated with the great colt Galileo at the renowned Coolmore Stud (Ireland), by the end of April 2011. Galileo is a superb son of Sadler's Wells who has won The Epsom Derby, Irish Derby Stakes, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes Ascot (GB) in 2001. Furthermore, Galileo was adjudged The European champion 3-year-old colt in 2001.
Reportedly, two foals are expected from the mating of Jacqueline with Galileo and as per highly excellent mutual understanding with the owners of Jacqueline and the owners of the highly renowned Coolmore Stud (Ireland), one foal will race in Europe and the other one will race in India.
Other great fillies were Fair Haven (1969) and Amazing Bay (1996) who won The Indian Oaks, The Indian Derby and The Indian St. Leger. Plus, The classy filly Her Majesty owned by the late A. C. Ardeshir was another - All Time Great who was extremely unlucky not to have won the Derby in 1947 (as she was seriously injured when she bumped into here stable mate Equity). However, she won all the other Indian Classics in a sensational manner.
In addition, were it not for their ill-luck, Adler, (who did not participate in the 1993 Indian Derby due to an injury he sustained in the 2000 Guineas), Elusive Pimpernel (who was a last minute withdrawal in the 1995 Indian St. Leger due to suspected stifle problem) and Continual, (who could not compete in the remainder of the classics after his scintillating win in the – R R Ruia Gold Cup due to a severe fracture he suffered during a work-out about a fortnight prior to the Derby- would all have certainly joined the elite triple crown club.
The trio of - Squanderer, Elusive Pimpernel and Adler trained by the greatest trainer that India has ever produced - Rashid Byramji were all equine superstars. It would be well worth comparing their meritorious feats to gauge as to who could be termed the greatest.

ELUSIVE PIMPERNEL (Wattlefield - Right Step), Chestnut (1991) - Retired as a six-year old after 22 glorious wins from 23 starts including The 1995 Indian Derby (Gr. I), The 1994 Indian 2000 Guineas (Gr. I),The Indian Turf Invitation Cup, President of India Gold Cup (Gr.I) and Nizam's Gold Cup (Gr. II) twice, Mysore Derby (Gr. I),Bangalore 2000 Guineas (Gr. I),the R.W.I.T.C. Invitational Trophy (Gr. II), Eclipse Stakes of India (Gr. II) and many other premier events. It is pertinent to note that although Elusive Pimpernel was the winner of 22 races he was not a Triple Crown winner.
Undoubtedly, a great horse, Elusive Pimpernel, however, blotted his record, a wee bit, by losing to Consequence in The Idar Gold Trophy (1995) in which he failed to carry his heavy impost of 63 kgs.
ADLER (Riyahi - Schiaparelli), Bay 1989: Unbeaten in his eight starts in India, the impeccably bred Adler was sparingly raced mainly due to stifle problems. His principle victories were the Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Gr. I) Indian 2000 Guineas, Indian St. Leger and The RWITC Invitational Trophy in which he revealed an electrifying turn of foot that left his rivals stone cold.
Adler, was also not a triple crown winner as he did not participate in The 1993 Indian Derby due to an injury he sustained in The Indian 2000 Guineas (He also won one race and placed once from nine starts in USA). Were it not for fitness problems, the sparingly raced Adler, who was endowed with tremendous acceleration -would have won many more races on the Indian Turf.
SQUANDERER (Valoroso - Milky Way): An extremely versatile Triple Crown winner (1977) who won as many as 18 races from 19 starts and placed third once. He won his last 15 races in a row and the only race he lost-due to a slightly hampered passage resulted in Squanderer losing to Red Satin in The Colt's Trial Stakes at Bangalore.
Some of Squanderer's principle victories were in 1976-77, Indian 2000 Guineas, Indian Derby, Indian St. Leger, RWITC Invitational Cup, Bangalore St. Leger, Maharaja's Gold Cup, President of India Gold Cup and The Indian Turf Invitation Cup and in 1977-78, Nizam's Gold Cup, Governor's Cup - Bangalore, President of India Gold Cup and the Eclipse Stakes of India.

SQUANDERER (Jagdish up) being led in by joint owners Ranjit V. Bhat (left) and Indru Mirchandani (right) after winning The 1977 Indian Derby. Trainer Rashid Byramji is on the extreme left.
Squanderer's superb performance when he beat the English filly Certainty (Ernie Johnson up) in The RWITC Invitation Cup when he was severely baulked in the straight - was one of the finest races ever witnessed by racegoers on the Mahalaxmi course. A concise narrative of the race being, that in the final 300M of the race Squanderer (Jagdish astride) was very badly hem in on the inner rails behind a couple of front runners whilst Certainty (Ernie Johnson up) in full acceleration whizzed past the former and it seemed that Squanderer was a totally beaten horse.  However, with barely 200M to go and Certainty in full steam about 3 lengths ahead, jockey Jagdish got Squanderer out of his plight and from almost his zero speed, Squanderer gathered tremendous momentum to give Ernie Johnson the shock of his life as eventually Squanderer decisively beat Certainty in a miraculous manner like a champion. So, Squanderer’s magnificent victories with Jagdish astride will live on in the memories of racegoers who were fortunate enough to have witnessed his mind-blowing dazzling talents.
Summing up and taking all relevant criteria into account and having seen every Indian Derby since 1960, in my indomitable opinion, Squanderer owned by the late joint owners - Ranjit V. Bhat and Indru Mirchandani was an exceptionally great horse and could rightly be considered as the greatest Indian thoroughbred of all time.

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