What a significant pointer the Million race run in May has proved to be for the two mile Classics of the Bangalore Summer Season! Going back to the trend of last ten years, one - Astral Flash - did not run in the Fillies' Trial Stakes and of the remaining nine, six went on to bag either the Fillies' or the Colts' Trial Stakes. Not only that, two winners of the Million who failed to win the Colts' Trial Stakes - Brown Sugar and Fantabulous King - redeemed themselves later by winning the Derby Bangalore and the Deccan Derby. These facts should auger well for Speed Six who claimed the Million this year.
The Colts' Championship Stakes (Gr.1), to be run this Sunday, promises to be a better class field than the one which went to the post in the Fillies' version and there will be only an odd runner rated below 50, though the best colt, Arrow in Auto Mode, is on a mark 6 points below Black Magic Woman. Going back to the last ten years' trend, eight winners of the Colts' Trial had had a run during the Bangalore Summer Season and six of them were previous start winners. Two, Royal Gladiator and Portman Square, had finished behind Snow Dew and Priceless in the Million and those two fillies duly went on to win the Fillies' Trial Stakes.
In all likelihood, the Colts' Championship Stakes field could include two unbeaten horses - Speed Six and Tiberius - and three - Speed Six, Tiberius and Pronto Pronto - who are already black-type winners. Tiberius, Pronto Pronto and Midtown Magic have not had a race proper this summer. However, they will be hoping that like Grosvenor Square and Sprint Star, lack of a run will not stand in the way of success.
Two wins during the current season has taken the Razeen colt Arrow in Auto Mode to the top of ratings at 70, a point ahead of Speed Six and Amadeus. After winning on his debut at Hyderabad way back in November, L.V.R. Deshmukh's charge lost his way a bit, failing to win again in three starts. He has clearly thrived at Bangalore, winning both his races and his beating of Nearness of You - a late and close fourth in the Fillies' Championship - suggests that he will be in the firing line. Most mares imported to India are in foal and come from Europe or U.S.A. Aglitter (by Selkirk, a son of Sharpen Up), the dam of Arrow in Auto Mode, was acquired while still in training by Usha Stud from Singapore. Razeen has done exceedingly well with mares having Sharpen Up in their pedigrees. The only Hyderabad-based runner to have won this race was the great Chaitanya Chakram 25 years ago so Arrow in Auto Mode has a daunting task ahead.
Speed Six has won both his starts to date. By a frontline Classic Sire in Burden of Proof and out of a triple Gr.1 winner in Six Speed, he is bred in the purple even if his two older siblings - Six Sigma and Six Shooter - did not amount to much. Speed Six shed his maiden tag on his debut in smashing style winning by a distance and took the Juvenile Million (Gr.2) in his stride last month, accounting for Amadeus who was giving him 5 kgs. I Specialist, Astapi, Star Marquess and Super Duper finished adrift of the front two and while they may all girdle their loins to battle again on Sunday, they will have to improve enormously to reverse the placings.
Amadeus (Choisir - Anise) has done nothing amiss so far. Having won his debut as a two-year-old, he added the Gool S. Poonawalla Million (Gr.3) to his tally on his next start accounting for Class Apart by five lengths. He was a close third - within a length of the winner Picasso - in the Poonawalla Breeders' Multi-Million (Gr.1). Giving 5 kgs to Speed Six in the Juvenile Million (Gr.2) proved beyond him on his first start at Bangalore and he will attempt to bridge the two and half lengths at level weights on Sunday. Bred at the Usha Stud, he is, like Arrow in Auto Mode, out of a Selkirk mare and thus carries the Danehill-Sharpen Up cross which has been very successful internationally. The Choisir filly Preordained finished third in the Fillies' race last Sunday. Will Amadeus go one better and become the fifth 'got-abroad' to win this race?
Lovely Kiss, part-owned by Hazara Stud's Mr. Nirmal Singh, provided Rebuttal with the distinction of siring a Classic winner with his first runner in a Classic. If a Rebuttal colt were to win the Colts' Championship, that would be the icing and the cherry on the cake. Mr. Nirmal Singh could well have two runners, both owned by him entirely on Sunday in the shape of unbeaten Tiberius - trained by Irfan Ghatala - and Bourne Supreme who is under Satish Narredu's care. Tiberius reeled off a hat-trick in the winter culminating in a victory in the Heeroji Lad Bangalore Juvenile Million (Gr.3) and in doing so has accounted for horses like Current Ray, Mad About You, Preordained and Star Marquess. Out of the Diesis mare Queen Consort, Tiberius is from the same family as Everyday II who was such a stalwart stallion in India.
Bourne Supreme (ex Iquique by Charmer) has won his last two starts including one on the same day as Speed Six's Million. Both races were over the same distance and Bourne Supreme, who carried the same weight as Amadeus did in finishing second, clocked a time a whole second slower than the Choisir gelding. Bourne Supreme is a half-brother to Spaniard's Inn who won the Bombay Dyeing C.N. Wadia Gold Cup (Gr.2). Spaniard's Inn was the first foal of Nanoli Stud's Iquique. Her subsequent progeny has been average and Hazara Stud snapped her in foal to Ikhtyar when she became available.
Like Tiberius, Pronto Pronto (Major Impact - Sandslash) is a black-type winner - Shapoorji Pallonji Juvenile Colts' Championship (Gr.2) at Mumbai - and like the son of Rebuttal is without a recent run. That could be handicap but both of them have had a mock race which Pronto Pronto won a fortnight ago and where Tiberius finished third. Both have since worked well in company of higher rated, older horses.
The year Rebuttal retired to Hazara Stud, the most northern breeding establishment in India, Sans Craintes - there is no nursery located south of Coimbatore - introduced the Danehill horse Midtown. Even if he has not quite matched the exploits Rebuttal, Midtown has thrown enough smart horses for his premature demise to be mourned. Probably the best of Midtowns is Midtown Magic, a winner of two races and never off the board in his four starts. The most notable of Midtown Magic's scalps is Lovely Kiss whom he beat by half a length when they crossed swords in the winter. He has not raced during the current season and nor has his name been noted in the recent track reports.
A field of ten runners is the average for this race but with horses like Cristiano, Javo and Severstahl, in addition to those already mentioned, also taking their chances, the Starter may have to deal with a bigger number. As with the fillies' race, Poonawalla Group of Farms head the honours list for stud farms with 14 winners. Rashid Byamji with six winners lords it over other trainers as does Pesi Shroff, who has ridden the same number to victory, among the jockeys.