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FROM THE HORSES MOUTH - Article for Sunday, 2nd February, 2020 - By Cyrus Naterwalla

Posted on - 01 Feb 2020

FROM THE HORSES MOUTH - Article for Sunday, 2nd February, 2020
 
-By Cyrus Naterwalla
 
Race No. 1 :- The Dr. M.A.M. RamaswamyMulti Million – Terms, 3 Years Old Only – Distance :- 1600M
 
ASHWA SHEHANSHAH :- Well bred debutant from South India who catches the eye on pedigree being a half brother to Knight Templar who finished 3rd in the Bangalore Summer Derby Gr.1 and the Indian 2000 Guineas Gr.1 and a full brother to Auriga, winner of The Maharaja’s Cup Gr. 3 and runner up in the Colts Championship Stakes Gr.1, the Karnataka Juvenile Million Gr.2, The Bangalore 2000 Guineas Gr.2, and the Garuda Bangalore Juvenile Million Gr.3 and 3rd in the Bangalore Derby Gr.1. He does not appear to be fully wound up first time out and a paddock check is advised to ascertain his condition. However, his pedigree is certainly an exciting one and with Y.S. Srinath booked to ride, he looks likely to run a good race and acquit himself well.
 
GIANT STAR :-Excellent Art colt from the yard of Malesh Narredu who is the first foal of the mare Sweeping Star owned and trained by the same connections. He appears to have been judiciously prepared with this event in view and has been given a solid preparation and also went a Mock Race on the 5th of January and his work seems to have improved substantially since then. A paddock check is definitely advised but he seems to have been well prepared and with Yash Narredu on board, looks set to make a bold bid to make a winning debut.
 
PISSARRO :-Out station challenger from the stable of S.S. Attaollahi who also sports an attractive pedigree being a full brother to Van Dyke and also to King Charles who was a winner of 7 of his 11 starts including the Golconda Derby Gr.1, The Golconda 2000 Guineas Gr.1 and the Alcock Arabian Million Gr.3. The siblings by Kingda Ka appear to be better performed than those by other sires although Pothus (by Midnight Interlude) did win 4 races and My Windfall (by Arazan) won twice. He has had the benefit of a run already, running a 7 furlong maiden in Bangalore where he got the hang of things late in the day and finished on strongly to be runner up by half a length to Mountain Lion. The experience should stand him in good stead and the extra furlong looks sure to suit on pedigree. Leigh Roche takes over in the saddle today, he appears to have ticks in all the right boxes and clearly appears to be the one to beat. Leading fancy.
 
SALVO :- Improving colt from the Vishal Gaikwad yard who seems to have limited appeal on pedigree with Desert Gold the best performed of the siblings, winning 4 of his 42 starts in Bangalore and Mysore, mainly over 1200M. He has run twice already, getting an educative run earlier in the season where he was unplaced but showing good improvement on his last start where he pressed the odds on favourite Exotique, going down by a dwindling half length. That run was over 1400M so it looks like he will appreciate more galloping ground and A. Sandesh takes the ride today. He looks likely to improve further and although the form is yet to be tested he looks to be progressing well and stands a good chance to make his presence felt.
 
WIND WHISTLER :- Son of Indian 1000 Guineas winner Alma Mater and a half brother to the Hyderabad Champ Prince Valiant who has won 5 of his 8 starts so far, 2 of his defeats coming in Western India in the S.A. Poonawalla Million (4th) and the Pune Derby (unplaced). He too has run twice, both times over 1200M, finishing a promising 5th on debut behind Royalty but then failing as an odds on choice last time out when ending a poor 3rd to Benghazi and Percivale. Perhaps he was not suited by the shorter distance after his first run and hence he steps up to a mile today and can be forgiven one poor run as he is having just his 3rd start. He looks capable of making further improvement, Nicky Mackay retains the ride and if the longer trip sees him in a better light then he stands a very good chance to bounce back. Do not ignore.
 
MELANIA :- LeitirMor debutant from the stable of Imtiaz Sait who again looks attractively bred, being a half sister to Paso Robles winner of 5 of her 8 starts including the Golconda 1000 Guineas Gr.2 and the Golconda Oaks Gr.2 and 3rd in the Golconda Derby Gr.1. She is having her first start so may just need the experience but has had a fair amount of preparatory work although she does not appear to be fully wound up. Paddock check is advised as usual and should run well if looking the part with David Egan in the saddle.
 
WHO DARES WINS :- Another attractively bred newcomer, being a full sister to Abira, winner of 3 of her 9 starts so far including runner up in the Calcutta and Mysore 1000 Guineas Gr.3 and 3rd in the Mysore 2000 Guineas Gr.3 from the in form stable of Adhirajsingh Jodha. She has moved quite sweetly in her limited preparatory work and is another who does not appear to be fully wound up first time out. David Allan is a very eye catching Jockey booking and she looks another worth keeping an eye on and expected to run well first time out.
 
CONCLUSION :-A tricky beginning with some good youngsters from powerful yards but with the benefit of experience, Pissarro is the selection. The penny dropped very late over 1400M on debut and he is expected to make amends over the additional furlong. Wind Whistler could unlock some improvement over the additional distance and looks a possible danger while Giant Star appears to be the best prepared of the debutants.
 
Race No. 2 :- The Rusi Patel Trophy (Gr.3) – Terms, 4 Years Old & Over – Distance :- 1600M
 
LA RONDINE :-Brilliant 5 year old mare from the Vishal Gaikwad yard who has won 4 of her 12 starts till date including a fluent victory in the Indian 1000 Guineas in her Classic year. She seems to excel over this mile trip while being susceptible over further and was unlucky to be collared close home by Grand Accord when a half length runner up in the A.C. Ardeshir Trophy on her seasonal reappearance before running a fair 2nd to Tasawwur in the Jiwajirao Scindia Trophy last time out. She comes out 3 kilos better than Grand Accord on their earlier meeting, will appreciate the return to a mile and will have the forceful Leigh Roche in the saddle today. She looks set to make it 3rd time lucky today back over her pet trip and is a strong contender to return to the winner’s circle.
 
GRAND ACCORD :-Enigmatic 6 year old gelding from the Karthik G yard who has managed to compile a smart record of 6 wins from his 21 starts and has also developed into something of a mile specialist, with all of his wins only coming over that trip. He had been struggling with his mark since his last win in a Class II handicap back in December 2018 but in spite of not having won in Class I, showed a resurgence on his opening run this season to finish on late and grab the A.C. Ardeshir Trophy from La Rondine. He has not run again this season so has been rested and been prepared for this event and Colm O’Donoghue taking over from N.S. Parmar should whittle down the 3 kilo handicap difference with La Rondine. His mark has taken a big hit since that last win but he may have found some more improvement and cannot be ignored.
 
FLYING VISIT :-China Visit colt from the stable of Imtiaz Sait who is the same age as La Rondine but began racing too late in his Classic season and instead has progressed up the handicap route. Remarkably consistent, he is equally good over 7 furlongs and a mile and has won 6 of his 11 races so far, finishing runner up as well on 3 occasions. He began this season in the bottom of Class but after finishing 3rd to Pure Zinc first time out over 1400M, he has taken his form to new heights, reversing the form with Pure Zinc and Roberta in a Class I handicap before defying the handicap to claim his first Terms Race success over 1400M last time out, overcoming Bateleur to win stylishly. He comes into his bidding for a hattrick and appears to be in the prime of his life at present. A. Sandesh who has ridden him the last twice keeps the ride, he seems to have maintained his form since the run and is expected to make a bold bid to complete his hattrick and seems to have a strong chance to do so.
 
COSMIC RAY :- The only representative of the Classic generation in this field and a brilliant runner up in the Indian 1000 Guineas, this Burden of Proof filly has never had it easy since beating Victorious Sermon and Sir Supremo on debut, thrust straight into the Summer Classics on her 2nd and 3rd start, finishing 4th to Well Connected in the Fillies Championship Stakes and 5th in the Derby. She was a runaway winner of the Mysore 1000 Guineas before failing to stay the Derby distance and again redeemed herself with a terrific run in the Indian 1000 Guineas so she is clearly a crack miler. She takes on older horses for the first time today with P. Trevor booked to ride and while she has to prove that her generation is better than the previous one, she has been well rested since the 1000 Guineas and in spite of being completely out on the scale, could be good enough to score.
 
LORRAINE :-Well bred and progressive 6 year old mare from the stable of Nosher Cama who has also been a late maturing type but has hit a purple patch in the latter half of her career and has shown phenomenal improvement of late. Winner or runner up in 9 of her 15 starts so far, she has won her last 3 races on the trot, twice over a mile before her last win over 2000M and she has looked well ahead of the handicapper on each occasion. She too is completely unsuited by the Terms of this race but appears to be in the pink of condition at present and deserves a crack at a race of this nature. C.S. Jodha has been booked to ride today and while she needs to make more improvement to have a say in this company, fillies on form have often performed miracles and she cannot be ignored.
 
CONCLUSION :- The first clash between the two generations with La Rondine looking to have a fine opportunity to redeem herself over her pet trip but facing stiff resistance from 1000 Guineas runner up Cosmic Ray and the vastly improved Flying Visit.
 
Race No. 3 :- The EbcoWorksmart Breeders’ Produce Stakes (Grade 3) – Terms – 3 Years Old Only :- Distance :- 1400M
 
BENGHAZI :- The first of two runners representing Pesi Shroff in this race, this full brother to Questina and half brother to Stormy Atlantic and the well performed Pacquiao looks a nicely put together sort and after being given an educative run on debut in Pune when a faraway 4th to Flameoftheforest, showed significant improvement on his first run this season, taking advantage of his experience to score a runaway 4 length win over Percivale who reopposes today with a 3 kilo advantage. Wind Whistler who runs in the opening event on the card will give a pointer to that form but he won quite impressively that day and should not be troubled by the additional furlong. He has been working well since the run, C.D. Hayes takes the ride today and he seems likely to improve again and appears to be the better of the stable pair.
 
MONARCHOS :- Half brother to Alexei who made an impressive winning debut when unfancied over 6 furlongs a month ago, showing a smart turn of foot to get the better of the red hot favourite California and win running away. With California a very stylish winner of the Gool S. Poonawalla Million since then the form looks strong and he will no doubt improve and strip fitter today. Also a son of Phoenix Tower, he will be ridden by P. Trevor today and looks a leading contender to go in again and maintain his unbeaten record. Looks the best on form.
 
EXOTIQUE :- Speaking of Which filly who is a stable companion of Benghazi and is also having her 3rd run of the season but in contrast, her victory was hard fought and she had to pull out all the stops to hold off Salvo who also runs earlier in the card. An unextended 4th on debut in a strong maiden behind Air Blast, she looked workmanlike over this trip last time out but got the job done, holding off Salvo to shed her maiden tag. She appears to have held her form and fitness since the last run and Leigh Roche is up again today but she needs to make appreciable improvement on the bare form if she is to make her mark against these rivals. She could fight it out for the minor places but winning looks tough today.
 
FOREST FLAME :- Bangalore raider trained by S.S. Attaollahi she has the credentials on paper, being a full sister to Mystic Bay and was an extremely impressive winner over this trip on debut, powering clear in the final furlong to win by 5 ½ lengths from owner mate Golden Oaks. She will no doubt improve for that experience and has been working superbly since then suggesting that she has made the expected progression. David Egan who rode her last time out is reunited with her, she looks a classy type in the making and is expected to make a bold bid to defend her unbeaten record and looks a very worthy adversary to the local runners.
 
RANI JINDAN :- Another promising out station challenger from Bangalore, she is a full sister to Punjabi Girl, winner of 5 of her 17 starts including The Fillies Championship Stakes Gr.1, The Godolphin Barb Million Gr.3 and the Alcock Arabian Million Gr.3 and was herself a stylish maiden winner over 1200M in Bangalore. She travelled strongly throughout that day before asserting in the closing stages and looked value for more than the official margin. The 3rd placed horse has gone on to win since so the form looks solid and David Allan retains the ride. Her condition will have to be ascertained in the paddock but she looks a promising sort and is well worth her place in the line up. Strong fancy.
 
CONCLUSION :-Monarchos seems to have the best local form and is expected to make a bold bid to repeat but he is up against two potentially very smart out station challengers in the form of Forest Flame and Rani Jindan. Both won their lead up races in good style and could be good enough to tackle him. Benghazi is also respected in what appears to be quite a strong renewal.
 
Race No. 4 :- The S.M. Shah Eclipse Stakes of India  (Grade 2) – Terms, 4 Years Old & Over – Distance :- 2000M
 
SACRED ROMAN :-Strong galloping 5 year old gelding from the stable of Pesi Shroff who has won 4 of his 12 starts till date and has generally been campaigned at the highest level. Going off the boil after a gutsy win in The Stayers Cup back in March, he seemed to regain his form when scoring a decisive win in The Byculla Club Trophy over 2800M 2 ½ weeks ago. This drop in trip is unlikely to suit him as he gets better and better with an increase in distance but he is likely to set up his own pace in front. He did finish a close 2nd in the Ruia in his Classic season where he had Tasawwur 8 lengths back in 3rd and although Tasawwur has made significant improvement since then, Sacred Roman looks a strong contender on his best form. With no confirmed front runner in the field, he should be able to take them along at his own pace and with Leigh Roche in the saddle, he looks a very strong contender for this prestigious prize.
 
BRONX :-Lightly raced and excellently performed 6 year old gelding trained by Nosher Cama who began his racing at a late stage but quickly developed into a top class performer. He has finished in the first two in 10 of his 14 starts till date, winning on 5 occasions and showing that he belongs at this level with a runaway victory in the RWITC Ltd. Gold Cup in Pune over this distance. He has not looked at his best in his 2 runs this season but may slowly be working his way into form and his 3rd to Tasawwur in the Jiwajirao Scindia was not a bad effort. He is 1 ¾ lengths better off on the scale with Tasawwur today and if he has regained full fitness after his 2 runs this term, he looks to have an excellent chance to score with Neeraj Rawal taking over in the saddle from P.S. Chouhan.
 
TASAWWUR :-Classy 5 year old gelding trained by Adhirajsingh Jodha who has a commendable record of 5 wins from his 8 starts and seems to be still improving with every run. Beginning his racing at a late stage in his career, he found the Indian Classics coming too soon for him to show his true potential which seems to be getting realized now. He has rattled off 3 wins in a row in his last 3 starts and claimed his first Group Race success last time out when getting the better of Bronx and La Rondine to claim the JiwajiraoScindia Trophy in spite of being out on the scale. He is out handicapped again today but currently looks to be in the pink of condition and it would be no surprise to see him defy the handicap once again. The 2000M trip will not be a problem, A. Sandesh who gets on with him really well is up again today and in spite of being out handicapped, he is hard to oppose in his current form and looks a leading fancy to continue his winning trend.
 
ROBERTA :-The 2nd runner from the Pesi Shroff yard who has always been held in the highest regard but reportedly has plenty of quirks and has been extremely difficult to train. She has disappointed on a number of occasions when she has been well fancied but her record is still quite respectable with 4 wins and 3 seconds from 13 starts, including a gutsy win in the Group 1 Indian Oaks. She gave a courageous performance last time out to get the better of Truly Epic over course and distance which should give her some confidence but she has looked a little bit out of her depth at this level in the past and is probably better over further. P. Trevor takes the ride today and she does merit consideration but looks to have only a tiny chance to upset unless she makes significant improvement.
 
SALAZAAR :-7 year oldgelding trained by Irfan Ghatala who finished 3rd in this race last year and has a commendable record of 8 wins and 7 seconds from his 27 starts with Multiple Group race wins to his name. He is getting on in years now but still seems to be having zest for racing and he comes into this after a 2nd place finish to Desert God in the Chief Minister’s Trophy in Bangalore. SurajNarredu takes the ride today and he clearly cannot be written off but he does look vulnerable against some of the younger horses and may have to settle for minor honours again today.
 
CONCLUSION :-This is likely to be fought out by the two 5 year olds Sacred Roman and Tasawwur, both of whom appear to be closely matched on the weights and come into this race at the top of their game. Tactics are sure to play a crucial role but it should be an exciting finish. Bronx has been making steady progress this season and looks a danger from among the older horses.
 
Race No. 5 :- The B.K. Rattonsey Memorial Maiden Multi-Million – Terms, 3 Years Old Only – Distance :- 1200M
 
BIRKIN BLOWER :- Half brother to Bateleur from the stable of Vishal Gaikwad who was probably in need of the run in spite of being fancied on debut, weakening close home to finish a fair 6th behind Air Blast. He did however finish 3 lengths behind Pense’e that day and the run of the latter was more eye catching. That been said, he is sure to improve and strip fitter for the run and should give a much better account of himself today. S. Zervan is replaced in the saddle by Akshay Kumar, he has been working very well since the run and is likely to be in the thick of things today and should be involved in the finish.
 
DECAPRIO :- Home bred out of Derby winner Quasar and made his debut in the same race as Birkin Blower, making a bid along the inside rails in the straight before fizzling out and finishing well down the field. He is sure to have learnt plenty from that run and stripped fitter and his subsequent workouts suggest that he has improved. He will need to progress a great deal though to reverse the places with those that finished ahead of him that day and looks more likely to fight it out for minor honours with Yash Narredu in the saddle. Rank outsider.
 
EL CAPITAN :- Excellent Art colt from the stable of Altaf Hussain who has a smart pedigree being a full brother to the well performed Flaming Martini as also a half brother to Sitara, winner of 2 of her 8 starts including the Gr.3 Byerly Turk Million and also runner up thrice including the Juvenile Sprinters Million Gr.3 and Chief of Command – winner of 9 races from 17 starts including the Nilgiris Derby Gr.1, the Nilgiris 2000 Guineas Gr.2, The Madras Christmas Vase Gr.3 and the Christmas Gold Cup Gr. 3 and runner up in the South India Derby Gr.1. He made his racing debut over 100M a couple of weeks ago but looked green and inexperienced, shifting out to the outer rail which cost him the race as he ended runner up to Soaring High. That did not look a particularly strong race so he will need to make significant improvement but should be suited by the extra furlong and P. Trevor keeps the ride. He is entitled to improve for the experience and is worthy of each way consideration in this competitive contest.
 
FLAMING LAMBORGHINI :-Debutant out of new sire Planetaire from the stable of Imtiaz Sait who is supposedly quite highly regarded by connections and has been reasonably well prepared for his debut run. A paddock check is clearly advised to ascertain his fitness but he is to be ridden by Nathan Evans who is the only foreign rider yet to taste success on Indian soil which could be a slight negative. He is well drawn in the centre of the field and could prove to be a good outsider if looking the part in the preliminaries. For Jackpot consideration.
 
GOLDEN OAKS :-Out station challenger from Bangalore from the powerful stable of S. Padmanabhan who finished runner up to Forest Flame who runs earlier in the card and should give a pointer to the form. She is a half sister to Galloping Goldmine who is developing into a decent sort as well as to Isabella who has finished in the first two in 12 of her 13 starts in Hyderabad, winning on 6 occasions as well as Spirited Regent who finished runner up in the Gr.3 Bangalore Juvenile Million in a limited career. She has been working well since the run so looks to have improved and David Allan takes the ride today replacing Nathan Evans. She has been unfortunate to get a wide draw in Stall 13 but otherwise looks an exciting prospect and is sure to run well.
 
TOUCH OF FAITH :-Debutant and possibly the more fancied of the yard’s 2 runners with Nicky Mackay opting to rode this one and she is out of current new Stallion Air Support who seems to be throwing some good horses. She has had a couple of gate jumps but looks to have limited amount of work compared to some of the others and may just need this lung opener. As with all of these, a paddock check is advised to ascertain her fitness and she could be another interesting long shot who could add some pep to the finish.
 
GRAVITAS :- Holy Roman Emperor filly from the stable of Pesi Shroff who looks to have a very unique and interesting pedigree out of a Montjeu mare who has thrown some decent types in Italy. She has been given a fair amount of preparatory work and judging from her workouts she looks like she still may need some more time to fully come to hand. However, entries from the yard in big races must always be respected, C.D. Hayes takes the ride and from an inside draw, she could prove to be a handful and definitely should not be ignored.
 
ISLE OF SKYE :-LeitirMor filly who is a half sister to Excellent who did creditably for the Dallas Todywalla yard and this filly may very well be in the same vein. She has had the benefit of experience in what appeared to be a strong 6 furlong maiden a month ago, finishing 3rd to Monarchos and California, the runner up ending a stylish winner next time out. Her workouts since the run suggest that she has improved, David Egan who rode her on debut keeps the ride and she looks to have strong each way claims with the benefit of experience and is expected to be right there at the finish.
 
PENSE’E :- The 2nd runner from the Pesi Shroff stable and although the pedigree makes limited appeal, with both her siblings Knight of Thunder and Charles Bridge proving to be average performers, she was probably the most eye catching finisher in a strong maiden won by Air Blast a month and a half ago, making up plenty of late ground to finish a most impressive 3rd. She looks likely to hold Birkin Blower and Dicaprio on that running and yard’s runners invariably make a great deal of improvement from 1st run to 2nd. The draw has been unkind to her, drawn widest of all in Stall 14 but she looks sure to improve and build on that first run and is one of the leading fancies to score with retained rider NeerajRawal up again
 
CONCLUSION :-Extremely difficult to anticipate the improvement from these youngsters at this stage but Pense’ e finished on in very eye catching fashion on debut and is expected to make enough improvement to score here. There are plenty of others to consider here, Isle of Skye who’s form will look even stronger of Monarchos runs well in the Breeders’ Produce, El Capitan who comes from a good family and Bangalore challenger Golden Oaks. Gravitas appeals the most from among the debutants.
 
Race No. 6 :- The Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby (Grade 1) – Terms, 4 Years Old Only – Distance :- 2400M
 
CONSIGLIORI :-The first of many out station challengers to descend on the Mahalaxmi course, this son of Air Support trained by Hyderabad veteran L.V.R. Deshmukh has solid credentials with 4 wins and 4 seconds from his 11 starts. Beginning his career in seemingly innocuous fashion, he really set the ball rolling from July when winning an ordinary Class IV handicap over 1400M. He took his form to a new level once upped to staying trips though, scoring a 40/1 shock upset in the Deccan Derby where he beat Royal Crystal and Impavid and handed Well Connected her first ever defeat. He went on to finish a close  2nd in both his home centre Classics,  going down by a neck to Vijay Singham in the 2000 Guineas and beaten a length by Royal Crystal in the Golconda Derby. He definitely seems to have the stamina for the trip and with Alexei out of the running, P. Trevor is available and takes the ride. He looks to be in fine form at present and is certainly worthy of his place in the line up. However, he did appear to be outstayed by Royal Crystal in the Derby and this trip may just be stretching his stamina slightly.
 
LIGHTNING BOLT :-Lightly raced and unexposed stable companion of Consigliori who has looked to be making giant strides in his limited career and could have the scope for more improvement over this trip. Having a creditable record of 3 wins and 2 seconds from his 6 starts till date. Finishing 3rd to Well Connected and Impavid in the Bangalore Summer Colts Championship, he was taken to South India for the regional classics and was unlucky not to beat Impavid in the South India 2000 Guineas, coming with a rattle and failing to catch him by a head. In a slowly run South India Derby he was again seen finishing on late to be a faraway 2nd to Sir Supremo. That was his first attempt at the trip and he looks likely to improve for it and may be suited by the stronger pace which he is sure to get here. He would definitely be considered one of the outsiders but may outrun his odds with Akshay Kumar taking the ride today. Rank outsider.
 
ROYAL CRYSTAL :- Experienced 4 year old colt who is one of two runners from the stable of Arjun Mangalorkar who ironically began his career in Western India with a runaway win over 6 furlongs on debut and has travelled the full circle since then. Quite experienced with 13 starts already he too seemed to find his groove in the latter half of the year when finishing a good 2nd to Impavid in the Deccan Colts Championship Stakes and followed that up with an excellent 2nd to Consigliori in the Deccan Derby. He was disappointing in the Indian 2000 Guineas but gained revenge on Consigliori in the Golconda Derby, finishing on the stronger of the two to win by a length and record his first win since his debut success. He showed excellent improvement for the step up to a mile and a half and is still unexposed over the trip. His timing was a good one and with S. John keeping the ride, he definitely looks a strong each way contender and is likely to be fighting out the finish.
 
SIR SUPREMO : - A fluent winner of the South India Derby beating Impavid and Lightning Bolt convincingly on his first attempt at the trip but the race was run very slowly that day and he was well positioned which probably suited him and he got first run on his rivals. The rest of his record is relatively unflattering and although he may well find further improvement over this trip, in a strongly run mile and a half he may be found wanting and may also lack a bit of the class required to win this. N.S. Parmar takes the ride but he looks to be a relative outsider and it will be surprising if he finishes in the frame.
 
TRAFALGAR :-Kolkotta Derby winner who comes here with a lofty reputation and is trained by James Mackeown who sent out Adjudicate last year. Lightly raced but having won 4 of his 7 starts so far, he has been well nigh invincible in his home centre easily conquering the Monsoon Derby as well as the Kolkotta Derby in fine fashion although the timing of his mile and a half win was on the slow side. His defeats came when travelling to Bangalore for the summer classics and he finished well behind War Hammer on 2 occasions so it looks tough for him to reverse that form. He has to prove that he is not just a course specialist and looks an each way contender with Y.S. Srinath in the saddle.
 
TROUVAILLE :-Arguably the best 4 year old at this centre although he allowed his reputation to be dented last time out when convincingly beaten by Victorious Sermon in the Ruia racing doubts for the ability of a Surfrider son staying the mile and a half trip. With a fine record of 3 wins and 5 seconds from his 9 starts, he was runner up in 3 top races as a juvenile before a dominating winner of the Shapoorji Pallonji Colts Championship where he beat Southern Ruler convincingly. He looked out of sorts on his first run in Pune and ran well below par, bouncing back in the S.A. Poonawalla Million when a narrow 2nd to Sultan Suleiman and going on to win the Pune Derby in great style from Wizard of Stocks before a brilliant performance to steal the Indian 2000 Guineas from Alexei. He ran below his previous form in the Ruia which could be attributed to the slow pace and the small field as he is at his best in a strongly run race and all likelihood, we will see a different horse today in a large field and a strongly run race. He still looks to be one of the frontline contenders and is a leading fancy to win this in spite of his last defeat.
 
VICTORIOUS SERMON :-Sparingly raced 4 year old who has always been touted as a potential Derby winner but failed to live up to that reputation, finishing behind Trouvaille in the S.A. Poonawalla, the Pune Derby and the Indian 2000 Guineas before dramatically reversing that form in the Ruia. While it is clearly possible that he has showed improved form over the longer trip, it could also be that Trouvaille did not run upto his best that day and he is not certain to confirm that form. However, he certainly could improve over the extra 400M himself and comes firmly into the reckoning after that Ruia win with A. Sandesh taking over in the saddle today.
 
WAR HAMMER :-The only unbeaten runner in the field and clearly a force to reckon with having scored 7 wins from 7 starts and comes here with a phenomenal reputation. He is already a Multiple Group 1 winner and has comfortably beaten almost all of the out station challengers at one time or another. He clocked the fastest mile and a half timing this season when a fluent winner of the Bangalore Derby and the only chink in his armour seems to be that he has travelled outside his home centre for the first time and is running again in the space of 1 week. Suraj Narredu who has struck up a good partnership with him and won this race last year on Star Superior takes the ride and has been in sublime form of late. He is the highest rated runner in this field, looks to be towering above the others on paper and if he does not feel the effects of last week’s race and acclimatizes to his new surroundings then he looks very hard to beat. Likely to start a worthy favourite.
 
WIZARD OF STOCKS :-The only colt from the Pesi Shroff stable in the absence of Alexei and he too has been very lightly raced and brought along steadily having run just 6 times so far. Out of his depth on just his 3rd  start in the Bangalore Colts Championship, he was brought to Pune for a mile and a quarter handicap where he finished on well to be runner up to Tasawwur who is contesting the Eclipse today so that looks solid form. He was runner up to Trouvaille in the Pune Derby and ran a cracker in the Indian 2000 Guineas where he was forced to make the running and kicked on to finish up a close 4th. He has been rested and well prepared since that race and one suspects that ridden in more patient fashion today, he could prove to be a dark horse here. He does not seem to have that much to find with Trouvaille – maybe 2 ½ lengths on both the Pune Derby and the 2000 Guineas running and if ridden differently by Leigh Roche today, he could prove to be a value outsider and run a big race at long odds. Can upset.
 
ARMAITY :-Another potential improver from the Pesi Shroff yard with the connections paying a whopping final entry to supplement her and flying down Chris Hayes especially for the ride. The most inexperienced in this field with just 5 starts, she was seen finishing on strongly from the rear in the Indian Oaks to end up a fast finishing 4th and while it looks hard for her to reverse the form with the winner, she could very well finish up ahead of Well Connected today. That was her first run over a mile and a half, her trainer is a master at bringing about significant improvement and she could prove to justify the final entry and finish in the frame.
 
JULIETTE :-Tiny filly but with a heart of a lion and is probably many people’s choice to upset the colts after her runaway victory in the Indian Oaks. Having run just 6 times herself with 3 wins to her name, she reappeared this season after a long absence where she proved too good for Sultan Suleiman and Alexei in the Morvi winning easily in spite of over carrying 3 ½ kilos. She was not given the best of rides in the Indian 1000 Guineas when 3rd to Gift of Grace but put in an imperious performance to annihilate her rivals and win with a bit to spare. She needs to have maintained her condition over the last couple of weeks but looks to be a leading contender on form and stands a very strong chance to score with Colm O’Donoghue in the saddle.
 
CONCLUSION :- A fascinating contest and a very open race after many years but the arrival of War Hammer here has sent shivers down many a spine and he could simply be the best of the current crop – a point he will no doubt prove if he is superior today. However, there is the slight worry that he is venturing outside his home centre to a new track and is also running again within the short span of a week and the one who could trouble him the most could be the Indian 2000 Guineas winner Trouvaille. His run in the Ruia is best ignored as he was not suited by the small field and the slow pace and we should see a different horse today. On the rest of his form he is given a great chance. Juliette won many hearts with her Oaks victory and will definitely test the resolve of the boys. For those looking to back something at a longer price, one who may have slipped below the radar is Wizard of Stocks. He has finished roughly 2 ¾ lengths behind Trouvaille in the Pune Derby and the 2000 Guineas. In the Derby Trouvaille came across him sharply and caused him interference but for which he may have been closer and in the Guineas he was sacrificed to make the pace and still ran on to finish a close 4th. Ridden more patiently today, he has the scope to upset and is my longshot.
 
Race No. 7 :- The Padmini & Gobind Jhangiani Million – Class III & IV – Distance :- 1200M
 
STORM BREAKER :-Speedy 4 year old gelding from the Malesh Narredu yard who has shown his best form at this trip, all his 3 wins from his 8 starts coming over it. He has been tried over 1000 and 1400M as well without the same success and last time out, was turned over at a short price when beaten a nose and a long neck over 1000M. The return to this trip is sure to suit him, David Egan has been booked to ride, and in spite of having to defy top weight and concede weight all around, he looks a frontline contender and is dangerous to ignore.
 
HEADWAY :- Well performed 4 year old from the S.K. Sunderji yard, he has a similar profile to Storm Breaker with 3 wins from his 8 starts and has been slightly unfortunate in both his runs this season. He caught a tartar in Golden Guest on his seasonal reappearance when finishing 2nd and last time out as an odds on favourite, he was unsuited by going to the front very early in the day and was run out of it close home by Castilian. Nicky Mackay is likely to ride him more patiently today and as he has been working well since the last run, he looks a leading fancy to make it 3rd time lucky and return to winning ways.
 
CASTILIAN :-Promising looking 4 year old from the Vishal Gaikwad yard who is looking to regain his form after losing his way midway through his career but has looked to have improved this season and got going late to nab Headway over course and distance last time out. He looks to have maintained his form and fitness since the run and P. Trevor retains the ride. However, he will struggle to confirm the form with Headway under his penalty and although he is expected to run well and be involved, he looks to be more of a minor berth contender today.
DANDI MARCH :- Stable companion of Headway and the mount of David Allan, he is a well performed sprint handicapper with 3 wins from his 9 starts but he has only managed to place in his 2 runs this season, finishing a close 3rd behind the reopposing Mzilikazi first time out but then a shade disappointing when a hot favourite last time out but ending up a well held 2nd to Mozart. He looks to be in good condition at present and it should be close between him and Mzilikazi again today but they may find a couple of runners too strong. Considered.
 
MZILIKAZI :- Looking to make his name as a sprinter this term, having campaigned mainly over middle distances in Pune and began the season promisingly when beating Tanjo and Dandi March but was run off his feet when dropping down to 5 furlongs just last week where he could never land a blow and finished up 8th in the field of 12. He obviously did not run a race that day which is why he is turned out again in a week’s time back up at 6 furlongs and with C.D. Hayes an encouraging Jockey booking, he stands a very good chance to bounce back and must be respected.
 
KILDARE :- Sparingly raced and enigmatic 4 year old gelding who is the 3rd runner from the S.K. Sunderji yard, having run just 4 times till date with alternate good and bad performances. A stylish winner over 7 furlongs on debut, he was off the track for 5 months after that making a solitary reappearance in the F.D. Wadia where he finished 7th of the 8 runners. Another 3 month gap followed before he reappeared early this season putting in an astounding performance to decimate his rivals by 13 ½ lengths smashing the 7 furlong course record in the process. That put him in the front running for the Indian 2000 Guineas but he could not make an impression and finished in the ruck. He has been rested and prepared since then and looks an interesting contender over this shorter trip with A. Sandesh back in the saddle.
 
QUESTINA :- Improving 4 year old filly trained by Imtiaz Sait who is relatively unexposed having run just 4 times till date, the last of those runs in the Indian 1000 Guineas where she seemed to be found out by the mile trip. Her other 3 runs have all been over this trip with two close seconds and a win. Running a good race on debut when going down fighting to Enid Blyton, she was outsmarted next time out by Copper Queen before making it 3rd time lucky on her opening run of the season when different tactics were adopted by David Egan and she came from behind to score by ¾ length from Despacito. She has been rested and well prepared since her Guineas run, will be suited by the return to this trip and can continue to progress with Dashrath Singh booked to ride today.
 
CONCLUSION :- Extremely competitive with several progressive 4 year olds in the fray but Headway sets a strong level of form and was not suited by finding himself in front at an early stage last time out. Reverting to more patient tactics with the blinkers off, he is selected to score. Storm Breaker has an excellent record over 6 furlongs and shapes as a danger while the pair of Kildare and Questina are unexposed and can also improve
 
Race No. 8 :- The Tattersalls Million – Class IV & V – Distance :- 1000M
 
HIDDEN GOLD :-Improving 4 year old speedster from the yard of Dallas Todywalla who has 1 win to his name from 3 starts and seems to be developing into a good sprinter. Both his runs this season have come over the minimum trip, finishing a good 2nd to Del Mar on his reappearance and building on that to score a bloodless maiden success last time out, beating Speed Air quite comfortably by 2 ¼ lengths with Turmeric Tower back in 3rd. He appears to have maintained his condition since the run but has been handed a stiff 6 kilo penalty for the win. He looks to be improving with every start though and from a good draw in Stall 2, he looks to have a strong chance to repeat with David Egan in the saddle.
 
TURMERIC TOWER :- Speedy filly in her own right who seems best over this minimum trip, having won twice over it before and although she has yet to taste success this season, she finished on well to be 3rd to Turmeric Tower on her penultimate start and is weighted to gain revenge on that run. However, she ran poorly when tried in the higher class last time out so does not seem to be totally consistent and she has bagged a wide draw today in Stall 11. Good 3 ½ kilo claimer P.S. Kaviraj has been booked to ride and she can strike if in a galloping mood.
 
WARRIOR CLAN :- Another progressive 4 year old, this one from the stable of Adhirajsingh Jodha who has won just 1 of his 7 starts till date but has placed on 5 occasions and is running quite consistently over sprints. He has placed on both starts this season, and was unlucky not to score last time out when pipped right on the line by Chephirah with Copper Queen back in 3rd. He has been working well since that run so seems to be well within himself and with A. Sandesh retaining the ride he is likely to make a brave bid to go one better although he will be facing a fitter and sharper Coppe Queen.
 
COPPER QUEEN :- Shed her maiden tag when a pillar to post winner over 1200M in Pune and made a promising return this season when back from a break, leading all the way and only worn down close home by Chephirah and Warrior Clan. She has been rested and given time to improve since then and Leigh Roche retains the ride. She is likely to progress from that previous effort and although closely matched again with Warrior Clan, may have the edge of added fitness. Leading player .
 
SANDMAN :- Quality 4 year old sprinter from the Nirad Karanjawala stable who has won 1 of his 5 starts till date, the win coming the only other time he has been tried over this minimum trip, scoring a bloodless maiden victory over God’s Decree. He went on to finish a good 2nd to Makhtoob over 1200M next time out where he pipped Copper Queen by half a length and he was tried over 7 furlongs at the beginning of the season when a faraway 2nd to Kildare. He has been working very well since then, he is reunited with A. Imran Khan today and looks another who warrants serious consideration and is likely to be involved.
 
PALOMAR :-Unknown quantity from the stable of Altamash Ahmed who has had just 2 runs till date and could be open to further improvement. Unplaced and finishing down the field on his debut in the Bangalore Summer he showed marked improvement when making his Western India debut back in mid December, coming with a powerful run down the outside to go virtually from last to first, holding off Oui Savage by half a length to score his maiden success. He seems to have been kept fresh since then and the booking of Y.S. Srinath catches the eye. He has been penalized 5 kilos for the win but now drops in trip to the minimum so it may actually suit him that he has been drawn wide in Stall 13. He has the scope to progress again and should make a bold bid to repeat.
 
MS BOSS :-Speedy 4 year old filly who is looking to find her way back to form after having lost her way of late. Scoring her maiden victory on just her 2nd start, she seemed to go off the boil, running poorly on both her starts in Pune and she could only manage to finish 6th behind Hidden Gold on her seasonal reappearance last time out. She may have needed that run though and should strip fitter today and with Nicky Mackay in the saddle, could very well bounce back and bears close watching
 
CONCLUSION :-A competitive finale to round out the weekend and the winner is likely to emerge from among the quartet of Copper Queen, Hidden Gold, Warrior Clan and Sandman. The last named will probably be available at a better price and could be worth chancing 
 
(Disclaimer : Views are entirely that of the correspondent only and RWITC takes no responsibility for the same).  
 

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