• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Kingfisher Ultra Derby Bangalore (Gr.1)
  • Desert God wins The Tetrasoft Inc. Bangalore St. Leger (Gr.2)
By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)
Friday 21 Jun 2013
Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

The total eclipse of the favourite Starry Eyes in the Bangalore Fillies' Championship Stakes, Gr.1 was confounding to say the least. The form, however, was not entirely discredited. In February, Murioi won the Poonawalla Breeders' Multi-Million, Gr.1 beating Starry Eyes by a neck with Mariinsky third three and a quarter lengths away and Dancing Prances another three-fourth length behind. Later, Dancing Prances was to beat Amelia by less than a length. Murioi reconfirmed that form when he won the Nanoli Stud Juvenile Million, Gr.2 last month when Mariinsky was second.  With Amelia winning the big race on Sunday and Marrinsky placing third, some elements of that form line held good.

Murioi (Dubawi - Zacheta's Girl)  thus has a chance to uphold that form line. Murioi is a Biblical word meaning ten thousand though it is not known if that prompted his name which is rather unusual for a horse owned by Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy. He ran thrice in January at Bangalore and though he was first past the post once, he was not destined to earn a winner's bracket for he was disqualified for running erratically and causing interference. He has won his next two starts, both Graded races over 1400 m., since then. Sreekanth produced him on the wide outside in both those victories; at Mahalakshmi, he lugged-in and had to survive an objection from the runner-up while in Bangalore, he seemed to hang left before knuckling down to reel in Mariinsky. Thus, on the three occasions Murioi has failed to maintain a straight course. He needs to demonstrate that he has overcome that failing for his bloodlines and intrinsic ability are undoubted.

None of Murioi's rivals can boast of a 'daddy' like Dubawi who stands at a fee of 75,000 pounds sterling and has produced top winners (Monterosso, Makfi. Worthadd, Secret Admirer, Happy Archer, Al Kazeem, the winner of the Prince of Wales's Stakes, Gr.1 just this week and several others) in different parts of the world. Dubawi seemed to have inherited more of his sire's brilliance and less of the rich stamina of his dam line and he was a splendid miler. As a sire, his produce has been versatile. Murioi's unraced dam was purchased for 18,000 Euros at Goff's November Sale in 2009. The next dam, a half sister to the Arc winner Marienbard, also did not see a race course. Further family is rather plebian but Dubawi and Marienbard close up compensates adequately.

Three races of the current Bangalore season which have a bearing are the Nanoli Stud Juvenile Million, Gr.2, the Sir Charles Todhunter Memorial Cup (both run on the same day) and the Speaker's Cup (all over 1400 m.). The best time clocked in those three races is to the credit of Murioi when he beat Mariinsky, Albertino and Kallu Mama. Agostini accounted for Fastest Finger, Ace Bucephalus and Gerome while Czar of Romance held off Miracle Memories and Decathlon.

Though yet to run in a black-type race, Czar of Romance (Mathematician - Born Free by Burden of Proof), is rated on par with Murioi having won three of his four starts. He beat Agostini comfortably on his debut as a two year-old; went down by a short-head to Albertino next time out and then brushed aside Amazonas and Aumento over 1600 m. He is the only course and distance winner in the field. Most significant of his victories came in the Speaker's Cup where he had two unbeaten black-type winners (the favourite Miracle Memories and the Malakpet hopeful Decathlon) well beaten. Foswell, fourth in that race, has subsequently carried top-weight to a victory to boost the form. Mathematician, who had the semi-Classic Maths Baby in his first crop, is well-bred and quite upto getting an odd Classic winner. Czar of Romance, whose trainer is better known for his shrewd placing of horses in handicaps, is from the same family as Calcutta Classic winners Azhar and Twilight Lady.

The highest rated runner is Mister India (Noverre - Julia) who is a winner of five races from eight starts. One of the five outstation challengers, Mister India's victories have all been registered at Delhi and it is difficult to assess their true value. He had his warm-up in the Speaker's Cup where he led the field into the straight before retiring gracefully. That forward run would have sharpened him. Though he has the Nanoli Stud Pune Derby, Gr.1 winner Commander to his credit from his first crop, the deceased Noverre has failed to live up to the high expectations. Mister India's dam won 6 races upto a mile and is a half-sister to the useful Direct Hit, a winner of 19 races and on board in the Kingfisher Derby Bangalore, Gr.1 in Supervite's year. Neil Darashah's ward may well run a good race but winning seems a mountain too high.

Miracle Memories, a half-brother to South India Classic winner Sky Is The Limit and Ace Bucephalus are two sons of Rebuttal. Miracle Memories, trained like Mister India and Nabisco by Neil Darashah  was a well-backed favourite when second to Czar of Romance in the Speaker's Cup where he ran waywardly. That led to an enquiry and resulted in a suspension for his jockey. Nabisco (Senure - Iberian)  has won both his starts so far and is perhaps the most interesting of young Darashah's runners. However, on pedigree Nabisco looks like being a better sprinter than a miler.

Nabisco is a Manjri-bred as is Decathlon (Phoenix Tower - Dancerllon). Phoenix Tower and Multidimensional were yard-mates at Warren Place stables of the late Sir Henry Cecil and both have commenced their stud careers promisingly. Trained by L.V.R. Deshmukh, Decathlon won his first three starts which included two black-type races. It isn't often that a trainer starts off a two year-old away from home. That's what Deshmukh did with Decathlon when he took him to Pune in October for his debut. Decathlon justified the unusual step by beating Mariinsky by a length and a half. Decathlon's dam is an Argentinian Gr.2 winner who won from a mile to 2200 m. Her first six foals contained just two, very average winners; as such, Decathlon's exploits (and the fourth place of Trance last Sunday) hint at the prowess of Phoenix Tower as a sire.

Another runner by a Freshman sire is Turf Striker (Sedgefield - Geri) who beat Striking by four lengths on his last start when the weights favoured him substantially. He appears to be a very useful horse in the making if not quite a genuine Classic contender. Of Dr. Vijay Mallya's two runners, Acclaimed (Burden of Proof - Alnasreya) is a winner of both his starts so far while Agostini (Burden of Proof - Glorious Beauty) has the same number of wins but from three starts more. Apart from Murioi, there is only one  'got-abroad' and that is Kallu Mama (Aussie Rules - Khalimia), trained by L.V.R. Deshmukh, who is from the same family as Acclaimed. He is well-bred but appears to be comfortably held by the finishing order in the Nanoli Stud Juvenile Million, Gr.2. There are two runners in the field who have not raced during the current Bangalore season, both from Mumbai, including Alaindair (Multidimensional - God's Grace). Though Alaindair has worked regularly and brilliantly, it is felt that he may have future targets in mind.


In 1965, the Bangalore Colts' Trial Stakes was won by a grey colt called Silver Jet (Abbotship - Giselle) who was ridden by Pandu Khade and saddled by N.E. Raymond. The owners were M/s. M.A.M. Muthiah and M.A.M. Ramaswamy and it was the first Classic for them. Mr. Muthiah passed away early in 1970 but his younger brother has collected Classics with amazing regularity since then. It may be just a coincidence but Dr. Ramaswamy's five Million winners in May this millennium (Snow Dew, Priceless,  Fond Fantasy, Haunting Memories and Bourbon King), all trained by S. Ganapathy, have gone on to win either the Fillies' or the Colts' race.