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UNRAVELLING THE CLASSIC CONUNDRUM - A Preview Of The Eve Champion Triophy (Grade 3 ) - By Cyrus Naterwalla

Posted on - 11 Aug 2018

- By Cyrus Naterwalla
The Eve Champion Trophy is one of the premier distances races for horses 4 years old and over and sets the tone for the staying events to follow in the Pune season. The race carries a Grade 3 status and usually attracts small fields with favourites generally having a good record in the race. In 2015, it was the wonder filly Amazing Grace who carried favouritism to a facile victory en route to her multiple Group Race successes. In 2016, The Unicorn, again trained by Pesi Shroff, shocked the 25/100 favourite Myrtlewood to score a shocking upset. Last year, it was the mercurial Columbiana who produced a strong performance to hold off Germanicus with Winter Renaissance back in 3rd.
This year’s renewal has brought together a comparatively large field of 7 runners but seems to lack a bit in quality with some of the runners in the fray mainly staying handicappers.
An assessment of the primary contenders is given below
B FIFTY TWO  (Phoenix Tower   x Baileys On Line )
TRAINER :-  IMTIAZ SAIT                                    
RATING:- 116                                                         
DRAW :-   1
STARTS :-  32                                                           
WINS :-  8
The highest rated horse in this field by some way and already a Multiple Group Race winner, usually relishing small contests where he is allowed to dictate the pace although he is able to come from off the pace as well. In P.Trevor, he has a master tactician who knows the horse intimately and has been responsible for many of his recent successes. This is the first time that he is contesting this contest and he looks a leading contender on form and on rating. He has been campaigning against the best in the business for some time now, running creditably again during the last Mumbai season. After just being pipped on the post by Temerity in the A.C. Ardeshir Trophy (Gr. 3), he gained revenge on his rival winning a match race in The Deltin Eclipse Stakes of India (Gr. 2), probably out stayed when runner up to Themis in the C.N. Wadia Gold Cup (Gr. 2) and last time out beaten a length by Your Royal Majesty in The Ebco Maharaja Sir Harisinghji Trophy (Gr. 2) with Whomakestherules back in 5th that day although not beaten very far at all. He has been working very well in the build up to this race and looks likely to start favourite. With Whomakestherules, the only other horse close to him in rating not the most reliable of sorts, he looks to have a leading chance to add another feather to his cap and win this
AGGREGATED   (Deans Kitten  x Wonder Smile )
RATING:- 94                                                                       
DRAW :-   3
STARTS :-  4                                                             
WINS :-  2
Half brother to last year’s winner Columbiana, this strapping gelding from the MaleshNarredu stable appears to have the most potential to improve having just his 5th career start. Making his racing debut over 7 furlongs on this track last season, he ended runner up to Cosa Nostra in a maiden contest. However, he showed enough to his trainer for him to be taken to Kolkotta to contest the regional Classics. He showed he had plenty of ability when on just his 2nd start, he upset the odds on favourite Shaman to claim the Kolkotta 2000 Guineas and followed that up with a powerful performance in The Kolkotta Derby where he upset the pride of the centre – the wonder filly Sana. He was then brought back to Mumbai to contest the Indian Derby and was considered by many to be a dark horse with ace rider Sylvester D’ Souza being flown down especially to ride him. However, he seemed out of sorts that day and was one of the first one’s off the bridle, having no show and finishing well down the field. He was given time to recover from that poor performance and has been judiciously prepared with this event in view. His recent trackwork has been decent and he moved well in a recent Mock Race where he beat a promising filly in the shape of Forest Fairy. He is badly treated by the Terms as he would normally have to receive 11 kilos from B Fifty Two but takes him on at level weight so that is a big impediment and he will need to have found substantial improvement to over come that hurdle. However, if running upto the level of his Kolkotta Classic wins, he does stand a chance of upsetting the older horse
WHOMAKESTHERULES  (Multidimensional   x Pricewise )
RATING:- 110                                                         
DRAW :-   5
STARTS :-  18                                                           
WINS :-  6
Handsome chestnut 5 year old horse who by no means is the stable’s 2nd string and has been a loyal servant to connections over the years. Beginning his career with 3 wins on the trot he was the hope of Western India in the Bangalore Colts Championship (Gr. 1) but came up against another champion in the form of Serjeant At Arms, ending up a gallant 3rd before going on to run 4th to the same colt in the Bangalore Derby. Failing to get the better of Accolade in the Deccan Colts Championship Stakes (Gr. 3) he too was taken to Kolkotta where he won the Monsoon Derby with ease and then produced a career best effort to down Accolade in the Kolkotta 2000 Guineas (Gr.2). An injury right after that race put paid to any further Classic aspirations and he reappeared in Bangalore 6 months later finishing 4th over 1800M in the Chief Justice’s Cup (Gr.3) and then running Captain Morgan close over 2200M in The Maharaja’s Cup (Gr.2). He failed to stay the gruelling St. Leger trip but went on to finish a good runner up to Temerity over 1800M in the JiwajiraoScindia (Gr. 2)Trophy in Mumbai where he had B Fifty Two back in 5th and he has a strong chance in this race if reproducing that effort. He returned to his beloved Kolkotta to score a famous victory in The Major P.K.Mehra Memorial Super Mile Trophy (Gr.1) but has been off colour in his 3 starts since then, finishing about a length behind B Fifty Two in the Harisinghji conceding 2 kilos. His 2 runs in Bangalore have been quite lacklustre and he seems to reserve his best for the Kolkotta track. On the pick of his form, he does have the ability to put it across B Fifty Two but there are plenty of doubts surrounding him
WINTER RENAISSANCE  (Courageous Cat   x Winter House )
TRAINER :-  IMTIAZ SAIT                                    
RATING:- 98                                                                       
DRAW :-   6
STARTS :-  17                                                           
WINS :-  2
Modestly performed filly overall but has developed into a solid stayer and appears to have plenty of stamina in her pedigree. Her 2 wins have been in a mile and a half maiden and most recently when showing marked improvement to score a Group 3 success in The Queen Elizabeth’s Cup over 2800M again in Kolkotta. However, some of her more notable performances and her main Black Type runs have been in defeat as she finished 4th to Temerity in the Indian Oaks and followed it up with a fine 4th in the Indian Derby to Hall of Famer where she was beaten just a length. She finished 3rd in this race last year and all of her best runs have been over 2400M and longer so she will clearly find this trip to be on the sharp side for her. She has been showing out well in the morning trials and all likelihood will be finishing on the strongest. She is another who appears to be out on the scales though and is given a small upset chance at best
SELFIE STAR   (Excellent Art   x Maharanee)
TRAINER :-  DALLAS TODYWALLA                   
RATING:- 80                                                                       
DRAW :-   4
STARTS :-  12                                                           
WINS :-  4
Along with Aggregated, represents this year’s Classic Crop but seems to have plenty to do on official ratings and is way out on the handicap scale rated only 80. Doing most of her early winning over a mile which seemed to be her pet trip, she was fancied for the Pune Derby but had to skip it due to an unforeseen training setback and was sent out to contest the regional classics. She was a short priced favourite in the Golconda Oaks but the trip seemed to stretch her stamina and she ended a poor 4th before running her best race when 3rd to Themis and Manifold in the Indian Oaks earning herself some valuable Black Type. However, she flopped next time out in the Bangalore Derby and 2000M appears to be the outer limit of her stamina. She has had the benefit of a lung opener on the Pune track when finishing on to be runner up to Auburn over a mile but that was a Class II handicap and this is a huge step up in Class. If a straight handicap line is taken through Themis then B Fifty Two comes out on a kilo and a half better than her at the weights but she still needs to show marked improvement to win this. 
In the final analysis, B Fifty Two appears to have the best credentials to win  this with both the MaleshNarredu wards looking to have the capability to upset him. On form and rating Whomakestherules appears the bigger danger but Aggregated has more scope to improve and if getting back to the form of his Kolkotta Classic wins, could prove to be a big danger
(Disclaimer : Views are entirely that of the correspondent only and RWITC takes no responsibility for the same)

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