Mysore Race Club inaugurated its "Classic" races in 1974, the very year Hyderabad Race Club added the Fillies' Trial Stakes and the Colts' Trial Stakes to the Deccan Derby which it had introduced three years previously. Sweet Memories was the first filly to have her name scrolled on the Roll of Honour of Mysore 1000 Guineas and since then Nicolette, Abide, Birthday Girl, Queen of The Hills, Splendid Role, Crown Treasure, Priceless and Fond Fantasy are some of the others to have gone on to greater glory. The average number of runners for the race is fractionally under seven and only once has the field gone into double figures. That was in 2008 when Star Wave saw off her ten opponents and also established the race record time in the process.
As with the "Million" which precedes the "Classics" during Bangalore's Summer Season, the Mysore Million has proved to be good pointer for the future. In the last ten years, Priceless, Fond Fantasy, Diabolical and Mystic Quest have won a Mysore Classic while Berlioz, Bourbon King, Icebreaker and Balmoral Castle were to the fore later in the winter. The Million this year has been won in a most convincing fashion by Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy's Southern Bay (Alnasr Alwasheek - Priceless Glory). The gold-brown belt stable has won this race 14 times including consecutively in the last five years. A winner of three of her five starts, rated 80 - 15 points higher than Current Ray and In The Spotlight - and with an effortless course and distance victory on her last start, the daughter of Alnasr Alwasheek will most certainly be sent out as the overwhelming favourite.
The weight of the public money will be Southern Bay's greatest concern because in three Bangalore Summer Classics and two recently in Hyderabad, the favourites have failed to deliver. Black Magic Woman, Amadeus, Lovely Kiss, Windsor Manor and Picasso have all been beaten and the ratings have counted for little. Southern Bay certainly has the form and the pedigree to arrest the trend. If anything, she is bred for longer distances. Alnasr Alwasheek has sired a couple of speedy ones - notably the Group 1 Sprinters' Cup winner Palazzio's Sun - but like his own sire Sadler's Wells, he is essentially a source of Classic stamina as majority of his Gr 1 winners - Storm Again, Mystical, Noble Eagle, Radical Force, Estonia, Blue Ribbon and Icebreaker - have won at 2,400 m. or more. Southern Bay's unraced dam Priceless Glory is a full-sister to Smart Chieftan, Classical Act, Southern Empire and Change of Luck who are all Group 1 winners at 2,000 m. and beyond.
Southern Bay's main challenger is likely to be In The Spotlight who won the Nanoli Stud Bangalore Summer Million (Group 3). Southern Bay blew her away by almost four lengths in the Khushru K. Jalnawalla Mysore Million (Group 3), when they crossed swords at the start of the current season. In The Spotlight is also by Alnasr Alwasheek out of a Placerville mare, her dam is a winner over 2,400 m., her grandam was the runner-up in Stayers' Classic (Group 1) and the next dam won the Indian St. Leger (Group 1). Both the fillies will revel over longer trips but for the contest at hand, the result of their last start confrontation and the classier pedigree of the Ganapathy-trained filly should carry the day in a truly run race. Free Styler (Placerville - Academy), Dr. Ramaswamy's other probable runner, has the job of ensuring that there is no dawdling.
On the same rating as In The Spotlight is Mr. S. Pathy's Dhariwal-schooled filly Current Ray (Burden of Proof - Current Bay). Current Ray has two wins from nine starts, both over sprints. She ran down the field in Bangalore Fillies' Championship Stakes (Group 1), and twice thereafter. Jaggy Dhariwal will find it a touch more difficult to pull off a Practicallyperfect with Current Ray but Arjun Mangalorkar will be hoping that Effectual - like Practicallyperfect a daughter of the now dead Sunday Doubt - could do so. Effectual has one win over 1,200 m. by 10 lengths from three starts but was unplaced in her last. Her dam Ashlyn is a daughter of Chaitanya Ratham.
Darius Byramji, still looking for his first winner of this race, could have the strongest numerical representation in this race. At The Helm (China Visit - Perfect Mover), Hockenheim (Glory of Dancer - Princelene) and Saganaki (Glory of Dancer- Sober Mind) are likely to be saddled by him. At The Helm, a three parts sister to Archipenko, a promising juvenile who broke down, was also trained by him a few years ago. This filly's last two starts were in the Bangalore Fillies' Championship Stakes (Group 1) and Kingfisher Derby Bangalore (Group 1) where she finished mid-field in both the races. Perhaps, she wasn't quite ready then and wasn't asked serious questions. She should be on her mettle on Friday. Hockenheim, who is from the same family as Red Cockade, Gomos, Goldie Brown and others, has been very consistent with two wins from seven starts and missing the board just once but Saganaki is still a maiden. Saganaki was sent over 2,000 m. - she lost narrowly by a neck - on her last start. In a recent workout, Saganaki finished well clear of At The Helm.
Mysore-based Lad Lady (Razeen - Tarnished Lady), trained by Z. Darashah, is twice a winner, first over 1,800 m. and then 1,600 m. She was to have run in the Mysore Million but an injury to the jockey in the starting stall meant that she had to be withdrawn. Lad Lady is a half-sister to Gloriosa who won the Calcutta Monsoon Derby two years ago. Their dam had placed second in Coaching Club American Oaks (Group 1), and as a daughter of Razeen Lad Lady cannot be completely ignored, though a mile could prove too sharp for her in a Classic. Dr. Vijay Mallya's silks will be carried by the homebred Silken Touch (Burden of Proof - Track Charm). The filly has won twice from four starts and placed second twice (once to Tiberius and once to Lovely Kiss).
Nine winners of the race have been bred at Poonawalla Farms, four of them sired by Placerville. They top their respective tables as do R.R. Byramji (9) and B. Prakash (7). Incidentally, last year's winner, String Along, was also bred on the Alnasr Alwasheek-Placerville cross.
Past The post
Just as the this preview was being completed, word has filtered through that the Bangalore Fillies' Championship Stakes (Group 1) winner Lovely Kiss is being supplemented and will start on Friday. This development introduces a new element into the scheme and is certain to make the race far more interesting. Southern Bay now has a worthy challenger. The two fillies will divide the betting public and if they finish as closely on the track as in the betting exchanges, a stirring race will unfold. The credentials of Lovely Kiss need no elaborating. Already a winner of a Group 1 mile Classic, she was fourth in the Kingfisher Derby Bangalore (Group 1) and on those two displays came across as better at a mile. So the contest boils down to a scrap between a currently in-form filly who is bred more for the Oaks than the Guineas against a specialist miler who hasn't had a race for almost two months. There were also whispers that Lovely Kiss might side-step the first Classic and go for the Mysore 2000 Guineas at the end of the month. The question, therefore, arises how finely tuned Samar Singh's filly is and astute punters may well prefer to postpone their choice till they have had a look at the two in the paddock.