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Posted on - 21 Jan 2020

- By Cyrus Naterwalla
Having been poorly ridden in The Indian 1000 Guineas where she was kept wide throughout and ended up 3rd to Gift of Grace, Juliette redeemed herself in no uncertain terms with a stylish performance showing plenty of stamina and a smart turn of foot to surge clear of her rivals in the straight and score an emphatic 5 ½ length win over Well Connected to provide Karthik G with his 2nd Oaks success after Maple Star back in 2013. While Maple Star was a rank outsider, Juliette, who looked a picture of fitness in the parade ring, was eventually backed into favouritism and did not disappoint her large following. The field of 11 fillies broke reasonably well from the gates with Juliette and Armaity not the best away but quickly falling into stride and it was Notoriety who darted ahead to set up a strong pace to Gift of Grace racing handily in 2nd with David Egan deciding to ride her like a confirmed stayer, with Thailand also well placed in 3rd spot holding the fence. The Hyderabad challenger Kate was in 4th spot in the early stages being tracked by the got abroad Sea The Dream. Well Connected was well positioned at this stage holding the fence, with Juliette making rapid progress around the outside to improve her position. Bostonia came next being tracked along the inside by Mishka’s Pride with a 4 length break back to Hokkaido ridden in restraint and a further 3 lengths back to Armaity in the rear. Notoriety settled to lead through the backstretch from Gift of Grace and Thailand with Sea The Dream having improved a place into 4th and Juliette improving to race 5th on the outside of Well Connected. Bostonia came next with Kate having lost some ground and dropped back then came Mishka’s Pride, Hokkaido and finally Armaity who had now caught up to race a close last. The pace began to pick up as they freewheeled down towards the bend with Notoriety now being passed in the centre by Gift of Grace who was the first to commit, Thailand moving up on her shoulder to race a close 2nd. Sea The Dream also moved up past her rapidly tiring stable mate with Juliette and Well Connected also taking closer order. 2 lengths further away came Bostonia and Mishka’s Pride both being pushed along with Hokkaido and Kate flat to the boards already and Armaity moving up past the backmarkers and holding the fence. Gift of Grace was first into the straight but was passed at the 400M marker by Thailand making an enterprising bid for glory with S. John with Well Connected switching onto the rails and staying on followed by Sea The Dream in 4th with Juliette just beginning her run on the wider outside. The response was electrifying once Colm O’Donoghue loosened the reins on Juliette as the grey filly produced a tremendous burst of speed to smoothly move past Thailand and take charge and she quickly put daylight between herself and her rivals with a couple of cracks and could be sighted as the winner a long way from home. O’Donoghue could afford a peep over his shoulder and ease down in the final few strides with no danger in sight as she passed the post 5 ¾ lengths clear of Well Connected who stayed on strongly in the closing stages to take the runner up spot. Thailand appeared to run out of steam in the closing stages but still rallied to finish a notable 3rd while Armaity was putting in good late work having come through the inside to finish up a creditable 4th. With this showing Juliette clearly proved that she is the best of the fillies at present, clocking an impressive time of 2.29.86. She emerges as a clear contender for the Indian Derby now. Well Connected redeemed herself somewhat although no match for Juliette and is also likely to go for the Derby as may Armaity who looks to be improving with her racing. Thailand and Gift of Grace both appeared to run out of gas in the straight and may drop back to mile races now. Sea The Dream probably found the race coming too soon and was not good enough on the day but has the scope to make improvement from here. The rest looked like they just did not belong at this level.
(Disclaimer : Views are entirely that of the correspondent only and RWITC takes no responsibility for the same).  

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