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Juliette looks to be Derby Queen - By Mohit Lalvani

Posted on - 01 Feb 2020

Juliette looks to be Derby Queen
 
By Mohit Lalvani
 
THE draw was always going to be significant in the large Derby field of 20 runners and the favourite for the most prestigious crown in Indian horse racing could have drawn better, but then again could’ve drawn worse too. She will jump from the 1st stall and while it is on the rail, she will have a sea of horses raining down on her as they make the first turn. Run of the race or luck needs to fall her way and if she doesn’t get jostled about or forced to sit too aggressively, she is going to be the horse to beat on Sunday.
 
She demonstrated the classic mix of speed and stamina when winning the Indian Oaks two weeks ago, a combination of traits owned by most Derby winners. Her critics believe that this race has come too early for her after the two weeks and they do have a point considering that she is a light filly weighing in at just over 400 kilos. Having seen her post that race, this writer believes that this will not be a factor.
 
Her main threat, War Hammer has barrier number 10 and his connections should be happy with that. He is unbeaten in 7 career starts and his victory just a week ago in Bangalore was imposing as he decimated the field prompting an immediate float ride to Mahalaxmi Racecourse. Unlike Juliette, War Hammer is a much bigger and stronger looking horse and his supporters argue that he will not be disadvantaged by the short run-up and travel to the Derby. However, there is a big difference between the Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby and any of the regional classics and War Hammer will be tested like never. The pace, the pressure and the mental will to sustain a run up the Mahalaxmi straight in the Derby is unlike any other and it will take a superhuman effort for War Hammer to overcome this in just a week. It also requires a sense of calmness to overcome the roar of the crowd at the start and Juliette has this. PMG

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