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PAST THE POST- A REVIEW OF THE VILLOO POONAWALLA INDIAN 2000 GUINEAS (GR.1) - By Cyrus Naterwalla

Posted on - 19 Dec 2018

PAST THE POST – A REVIEW OF THE VILLOO POONAWALLA INDIAN 2000 GUINEAS (GR.1)
 
- By Cyrus Naterwalla
 
The eagerly awaited clash between the 2 equine stalwarts of the Classic Crop finally took place on Sunday the 16th of December 2018 as the 2 current champions of the 3 year old crop, Sir Cecil and Star Superior once again locked horns in a battle to once and for all decide whether Sir Cecil was as invincible as he had appeared so far or whether Star Superior had improved enough to turn the tables for that thrilling head defeat in the Bangalore Colts Championship Stakes in the Summer. Both had wintered in impressive fashion – sweeping the Classics at their designated centres – Star Superior in Hyderabad and Sir Cecil in Mysore and both were reappearing since their respective victories in the regional Derbies. Heading the local challenge were the F.D. Wadia and S.A. Poonawalla Multi Million winner Excellent and the unexposed and rapidly improving duo of Awesome One and Sacred Roman, the former an impressive winner of his lead up race while the latter had to work hard to score over Class III opposition. In the paddock, the 2 Champions towered over the rest, both 500kg. plus horses with Star Superior in particular looking immaculate and well muscled. The bookmakers however felt that there was no contest and installed Sir Cecil the 40/100 favourite while Star Superior was freely available at 5 ½ and you could name your price for the other runners.
 
The field got off to a lovely even dispatch from the mile barrier and after a steady first half a furlong it was Excellent who moved ahead to make the running to Star Superior tracking him closely in 2nd with Sir Cecil on the outside racing a very handy 3rd, right on the haunches of his chief rival. A length or so away came Sacred Roman on the fence with a 2 length gap back to the rank outside Jetfire racing in 5th. On his outside came Awesome One in 6th with a 3 length break back to the Morvi winner Intense Stylist racing 2nd last with the grey Bushtops held up in the rear and expected to be delivered late. The pace began to pick up passing the 1000 with Sir Cecil having moved up to pressure Excellent for the lead and Sacred Roman also making significant headway to be a close 3rd on the outside relegating Star Superior to 4th at this stage. Awesome One was also gradually making headway on the outside with the others holding their positions. Sir Cecil cruised past Excellent to take over the running and entered the straight with a 2 length advantage over Star Superior now being asked for an effort by Suraj with Sacred Roman also being pushed along by Leigh Roche to close and a break of 3-4 lengths back to Awesome One. The duel that was anticipated began to materialize as David Allan had to pull his stick through and give the galloping grey a couple of reminders as Star Superior began to stay on down the outside and apply pressure but could not narrow the 2 length break in spite of Suraj’s best efforts. The Champion responded immediately to his rider’s urgings and kept up his relentless gallop all the way to the line and although Star Superior tried his level best to close, the grey was travelling way too powerfully and David Allan could afford a couple of peeps over his shoulder close home. Sir Cecil eventually by 1 ¼ lengths from the hard ridden Star Superior who had to be content once again to play bridesmaid. As expected these 2 pulled right away from the rest with the 3rd horses Sacred Roman just under 7 lengths away in 3rd. There was a break of 3 ¼ lengths back to Awesome One who could not make much of an impression but kept on to fill the frame. Bushtops made up a little ground from the rear to be 5th while Intense Stylist ended a close 6th. Excellent dropped right away in the end and only beat Jetfire home. He looks a shadow of his former self.
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With this win, Sir Cecil proved undoubtedly that he is a Class act unto himself and he looked to have won with a little bit in hand, maintaining his unbeaten record and continuing his journey towards ultimate greatness. With the likelihood of his being better the further they go, the Indian Derby appears to be at his mercy now and barring a mishap, it will be very surprising if anything comes remotely close to him come the first Sunday in February. Star Superior gave it his all but came off 2nd best yet again. He is a quality colt in his own right and is unfortunate to have come up against a true champion in his prime. Sacred Roman ran respectably in the circumstances and has the scope to improve again. The rest had their limitations exposed and were put well and truly in their place. The timing of 1.36.00 was a fraction outside of the round course record set by Star Superior and had David Allan ridden him out in the final 100M, one suspects he would have eclipsed that timing as well. Sir Cecil returned to tumultuous applause from the thousands of racegoers who had flocked to the race course to get a glimpse of a truly special race horse in the making..
 
 (Disclaimer : Views are entirely that of the correspondent only and RWITC takes no responsibility for the same) 

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