• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)
Friday 12 Jul 2013
Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

Usha Stud's Danehill horse Multidimensional achieved a small but unique distinction when he became the first Freshman Sire to register the double of Bangalore's two summer Classics over a mile. As we move on to Kingfisher Derby Bangalore, those two winners -- Amelia and Alaindair -- are very much in the reckoning. To that duo add the two favourites -- Starry Eyes and Murioi -- who were so disappointing in the first two Classics and you have a quartet that should head the betting market.

Every horse is entitled one bad run and both Starry Eyes and Murioi deserve another chance. In the case of the filly, there is a ready-made explanation for her dismal run. The daughter of Multidimensional stepped out on the track weighing more than two stones heavier and it was no surprise that she fizzled out after moving up to be in a challenging position. Last year,  In The Spotlight carried extra kilos in the Novotel Maharaja's Cup, Gr.2 and was beaten third. A fortnight later, she turned the tables decisively on her conqueror Toroloco in the Bangalore St. Leger, Gr.2. Starry Eyes has had a month to strip fitter though she has to shed a lot more weight. If she lines up on Sunday around 470 kgs. she will run a far better race. A crash weight-reduction course is not an ideal preparation for a big race and that is the biggest worry about her. Of the Multidimensionals in the field, her pedigree is best suited for the distance. Her dam, who was fourth in Indian Oaks, Gr.1, is a full-sister to Classic stayers Allied Forces and Perceived Value.

There is no discernable reason for Murioi's poor run other than the usual "bad-day-at-the-office" plea. His stable, though, is no longer as formidable as it was about a decade ago and big winners emerge from it sporadically. Besides, Sreekanth as a jockey is as yet far too inexperienced for the Classics. A good horse, however, can lift a stable's and a jockey's fortunes and Murioi is indeed a good 'un. The inherent ability of a horse is often compromised by events and reasons which even close connections are unable to fathom. Hachiko, who won the Poonawalla Breeders' Multi-Million, Gr.1 a year before Murioi, went through a torrid spell till he, magically as it almost was, reeled off a hat-trick of good wins towards the end of the last Mumbai season. It is hoped that Murioi's return to his best does not take as long. Discount his last run and he has the form and the pedigree to ginger up the finish.

Amelia and Alaindair won their races easily but in contrasting styles. The filly held a good position throughout, slipped through to lead on the inside and was untroubled thereafter. Alaindair raced with the pace, went to the front approaching the final bend and strode away with Sandesh not having much to do. Both won their races without a prior run during the season and so will surely come on much more than those that they beat. In the colts' race, the hard ridden Acclaimed was well beaten by over five lengths. Two lengths behind came Ace Bucephalus, Turf Striker and Agostini, the three of them in a heap. Barring the two favourites, is there any reason to believe that the winners can be toppled ?  From amongst the beaten fillies, Mariinsky was essaying a mile for the first time in her career and was ridden with exaggerated restraint. She finished on well and came through to take the third spot so some case can be made for her. If Muroi is to be given a second chance, Czar of Romance surely warrants one. Other than these it is difficult to discern some one else who can turn the tables.

A proven, classy miler is able to get Bangalore's 2000 m. Amelia and Alaidair hence have little to worry as far the increased distance is concerned. Both are out of Razeen mares and from families which  initially seem a source of milers but reveal some good runners who have excelled over longer. Amelia's dam Adamile won the A.V. Thomas Super Mile Cup, Gr.2, Harvins Bangalore 2000 Guineas, Gr.2 and Bettagere Estates Mysore 2000 Guineas, Gr.3 and generally confined herself to around  around a mile. She did, though, place second to Fantastic Belle in The Hindu Bangalore Oaks, Gr.2. Adamile's three-parts siblings Flashing Star (Poonawalla Bangalore Derby, Gr.1) and Hills and Stars (Nanoli Stud Pune Derby, Gr.1, Golconda St. Leger, Gr.2)  had the stamina to win over much longer. Highraaz, one of the contestants here, is a full-sister to Flashing Star and Hills and Stars. Surprisingly, Amelia, who runs in her breeder's colours, was not originally entered for this race. She has been supplemented with a final entry of Rs.16,00,000.

Alaindair is from the immediate family of mercurial sprinters Klairon Gold (Sprinters' Cup, Gr.1, twice), Ancient Wonder and Classic winning milers Right Ahead, Perfect Timing, Chief of Staff as well as Royal Verse  His grandam Regal Star won the Calcutta Oaks, Gr.3 while her close relative Echoes of Light won the Indian Champion Cup, Gr.1 in record time over 2000 m. at Calcutta.

This is the first time that the progeny of Multidimensional (Danehill - Sacred Song) will be tackling 2000 m. and the question which keeps popping up is whether it will stay. The stallion's own performance and pedigree suggest that it should have no difficulty in getting a mile and a half trip, especially as majority of them are out of daughters of Razeen. Multidimensional himself won a Gr.3 contest in heavy going over 2400 m., was narrowly beaten in a Gr.2 event over the same distance, won the Prix Guillaume d'Ornano, Gr.2 over 2000 m. and finished not faraway from the Epsom Derby winner New Approach in the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes, Gr.1 (2000 m.). While Danheill was a high class sprinter, several of his sons have produced top  stayers from the right kind of mares. Multidimensional's dam won the Halliwell Landau Lancashire Oaks, Gr.3 (2400 m.). Sacred Song's sire Diesis and the next damsire Red Ransom are stamina influences.

The day before the Bangalore Colts' Championship Stakes, Gr.1, several three year-olds lined up for the Richelieu Plate over 1800 m. That race is the only new, significant input to the Derby puzzle apart from track work. Charlatan (54.0) beat Scenic Warrior (54.0) and Fastest Finger (60.0) and verdict was 2 1/4 lengths and 3 lengths. Scenic Warrior is one of the four Multidimensionals in the field and a stable-mate of Murioi. He was finishing on well and will be even better over longer trips. Charlatan, who is one of the four runners in whom Dr. Mallya has an interest, will be running in exalted company for the first time.

L.V.R. Deshmukh's Fastest Finger (Holy Roman Emperor - Fragrant) and Shyam Habbu-trained Gerome (Choisir - Kobalt Sea) are two 'got-abroads' like Murioi. Neither should find the distance daunting. Fastest Finger is from the same family as Alnasr Alwasheek. His sire is a successful stallion abroad whose daughter Smashing won the Indian Oaks, Gr.1 last year. Kobalt Sea, a winner in France over 2200 m., is a daughter of the dour influence Akarad and traces back to Lindos Ojos who placed third in the One Thousand Guineas, Gr.1. She has already produced three winners abroad who have won beyond 2000 m. This family was much developed in its formative years by the Aga Khan and some notable horses like Radio Man (Eclipse Stakes of India, Gr.2), Kalanisi, Kaldoun, Rahy, Singspiel, Devil's Bag and last Sunday's hero Ocean and Beyond belong to it. Choisir, mated to staying mares, tends to remain neutral to the distance aptitude of the produce. Both Fastest Finger and Gerome need some more time and perhaps, even longer distances; especially the latter.

It is nice to see the Freshman Sires (Multidimensional, Phoenix Tower, Sedgefield and Arabian Gulf) well represented. The proven Burden of Proof has four runners and there are three 'got-abroads'. Western India-based runners dominate the field which, is fully packed with the maximum 18 permissable runners.  There have been four previous occasions when 18 runners went to the post --  Tudor Jet (1967), Galilee (1969), Pendragon (1970) and Aboline (2009).  All the four favourites were beaten in their respective races; three of the renewals ended in a photo-finish; one was run in a race record time while another saw the slowest time being recorded.

A rain-affected track can throw up a Galilee or a Borsalino. The fascinating part of sport -- any sport -- is that while there is a wealth of previous statistics and history, ever so often something totally unexpected and new happens. Who would have thought -- much less backed -- a nineteen year-old making his debut in an Ashes Test, coming in at No.11 with his side in huge arrears, would walk off for lunch having scored more runs than anyone in the match till then at run-a-ball ?


Bangalore's three summer Classics constitute a very coveted hat-trick. Those who have achieved it are:-

      1963 - Yeravada Stud - Hovercraft, His Majesty and His Majesty

      1980 - Usha Stud - Corrente de Ouro, Track Lightning and Track Lightning

      1983 - Trainer R.R. Byramji - Camineto, Vibrant and Camineto

      1985 - Everyday II - Damsire of Chaitanya Ratham and sire of Sir Bruce

      1990 - Poonawalla Farms - Arfa, Star Contender and Romanctic Dancer

      1992 - Poonawalla Farms and Riyahi - Summer Dust, Astounding and Astounding

      1996 - Trainer Darius Byramji - Santorini Star, Phantom Dancer and Santorini Star

      1997 - Usha Stud and Razeen - Wandering Star, Star Supreme and Star Supreme

      2006 - Poonawalla Farms, Placerville, Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy and trainer S. Ganapathy

Haunting Memories, Southern Empire and Southern Empire.