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By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.) | 04 Jan 2013 | HYDERABAD

Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

The Golconda Oaks, Gr.2 to be run on Sunday is a sub-standard contest and it highlights the dire straits our racing is in. The average rating of the eight runners is just 54, the lowest so far this year in any Classic.  (Spiritual Star figures in the Acceptances. The Rebuttal filly won the second race on Friday January, 4 at Bangalore and while her lining up on Sunday at Malakpet is logistically feasable, it doesn't seem logical). Not that other Classics have had abundance of class. Take the two Indian Classics run so far and which enjoy a Gr.1 status. The average rating of the first four finishers in the fillies' race is 79; the colts' version is only marginally better with an average rating of  84.

Internationally, the average rating for a Gr.3 race should be around 100; that for a Gr.2 race around 110 while a Gr.1 event is pegged at about 120. These figures do change from time to time and are different for different age groups but are a fair yardstick to go by. Our domestic ratings are so inflated in the international context (Oasis Star, rated 134 in India, ran off 105 on her first start in Dubai and still failed to win) and if even with those hyped figures we have to run a Gr.2 Oaks where the average field rating is 54, it shows how many light years  behind we are in the international context.

Six outstation runners have salvaged the race for the local challenge is confined to just a pair of fillies.

Mebajeona Stud-bred Capital Attraction (Home Affairs - Luminary) is owned by the Chennai-based pedigree pundit Mr. B. Vijay and trained in Western India by Sanjay Kolse. The filly has come over to Malakpet twice before and finished within five lengths of the winner Vijays Pride, first in the D.B.A. Hyderabad Fillies' Championship Stakes, Gr.3 and then in Deccan Bookmakers Golconda 1000 Guineas, Gr.2. Vijays Pride is today rated 98 and that brings Capital Attraction to a mark somewhere in the 80s which is much higher than the 65 allotted to her. She has won a race on her last start over 2000 m. (where Songlark, getting 8.5 kgs. was second) at Mahalakshmi. She has the best credentials in this weak assemblage especially as she is familiar with the track.

Chiron (Burden of Proof - Chiliandrina) has won her last two starts, one at a mile and the other over 1800 m. where the Mallya fillies Cocktail Circuit and Supreme finished second and third. Trained by Hidayat Khan, she is a full-sister to the useful Corbett. Their dam Chiliandrina won her three races over 1800 m. and 2000 m. and there have been some classy staying horses like Romantic Dancer, Romantic Memories, Alarming and Another Time in the immediate family. Chiron could trouble Capital Attraction. Chiron falls in the could get the trip category rather than certain to stay.

Last year, Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy won the Bangalore Oaks with Southern Bay and the Golconda version with Forever Glory. Come Derby time, and Southern Bay was sent to Hyderabad while Forever Glory remained in Bangalore. The variation attempted this year is different. Snow Bird has travelled south to Bangalore while Simply Stylish (Steinbeck - Silken Star) heads for Hyderabad. Simply Stylish, whose dam is a full-sister to the Kingfisher Indian Oaks, Gr.1 winner Allaire, is certain to stay. Stamina is not a concern in her case; rather it is her own inconsistent running and the woeful form of the stable. Simply Stylish has won just once in a dozen outings. She did run Wind Stream to a neck in the Mysore Million, Gr.3 only to follow it up with disappointing runs while her conqueror won two Classics.

The two local fillies are Racing Queen (Alnasr Alwasheek - Show Us The Money) and Winjoy (Refuse To Bend - Iles Piece) who will both carry the same colours as L.V.R. Deshmukh's Mahalakshmi Marauders. Neither of them has yet raced beyond a mile. Show Us The Money won two races in U.S.A. over 1000 m. and at stud five of her seven foals are winners of 29 races between them, all below a mile and none of them has any black-type. The mare herself is a half-sister to Proud Man, a winner of four Group races upto 1800 m. Alnasr Alwasheek is a good influence for stamina but also has a Sprinters' Cup, Gr.1 winner to his credit apart from a few other good speedy horses. The got-abroad Winjoy is more likely to see the distance out though her overall pedigree is a weak one. The trainer, however, is going through a dream run. 

The 'wild cards' are the three Mallya fillies. Supreme (Burden of Proof - Supervite) and Set Ablaze (Razeen - Set Aside) have pedigrees which presaged much better things than what they have achieved so far, though it would be fair to say that the dual-Derby winner Supervite has been most disappointing as a broodmare with none of her produce so far getting even minor black-type. Set Ablaze is still a maiden. She is now going over the right distance and could well run a better race than expected. Songlark (Singspiel - Ordoneyah) has a win over 1800 m. this term but is comfortably held by Capital Attraction on their previous start running. These three fillies are the lowest rated among the eight runners.

Ganapathy's stable is not the only one firing blanks these days. Franklin, Hamlet and Colossus are good material for conjecture and stable talk but the fact is Pesi Shroff is without a Classic winner for almost a whole calendar year now. That, for a yard studded with well-bred horses, is simply not good enough.

Finally, a word about the pedigree aspect. A pedigree is like the technical specifications of a car. Everyone knows that a Ferrari is superior to a Honda City. Bear in mind, though, that a Ferrari with a spluttering engine won't beat even a Fiat !


The 2002 South India Corporation Golconda Oaks, Gr.2 was won by the chestnut filly Star of the Crop (Green Forest - Follow The Star) in a time of 2.30.2 which was the fastest for the race then. It has still not been bettered. Six years earlier, her dam had won the same race, then sponsored by Rank Aqua. Both Follow The Star and Star of the Crop were bred at the Dashmesh/Hargobind Stud in Punjab and carried the colours of the Brar family. What's more, both were trained by R.R. Byramji and ridden by Mark Gallagher.

While Follow The Star and Star of the Crop remain the only pair of mother-and-daughter to win the Golconda Oaks, the feat is not unique. There are other instances of a filly winning a Classic and then producing a son or a daughter to win the same race:-

Bangalore Fillies' Trial Stakes               - Blue Ice and Santorini Star

                                                            - Divine Light and Mystic Memory, both trained by R.R. Byramj

Mysore 1000 Guineas                          - Sweet Memories and Queen of the Hills, both ridden by Jagdish

Bangalore St.Leger                               - Scintillating and Star Contender

                                                            - Mystic Memory and Mystical

Bangalore Oaks                                    - Cordon Bleu and Cape Star, both trained by R.R. Byramji and ran in Dr. Mallya's


Calcutta Oaks                                      - Treasure Land and Own Vision

                                                            - Alvarada and Amorina, both owned by Mr. D. Khaitan and trained by Vijay Singh

Calcutta Derby                                     - Adelina and Aspirant, both owned by Mr. D. Khaitan and trained by Haskell David

                                                            - Altimara and Xisca

Calcutta St. Leger                                 - Adelina and Aspirant, both owned by Mr.D. Khaitan and trained by Haskell David

Calcutta Monsoon Derby                      - Alvarada and Amorina, both owned by Mr. D. Khaitan, trained by Vijay Singh and

                                                              ridden by C. Alford

Indian 1000 Guineas                             - Roman Dancer and Roman Rose, both owned by Maharaja of Kashmir

                                                            - Nava Ratna and Multigem

                                                            - Request and Reprint, both bred and owned by Mr. & Mrs.N.E.D. Pandole and ridden

              by Jagdish

                                                            - Request and Reflect, both bred and owned by Mr. & Mrs. N.E.D. Pandole

                                                            - Venus de Milo and Vox Populi, both owned by Mr. R.J. Sigtia, Mr. S.M. and

                                                              trained Uttam Singh

                                                            - Snow and Snow Dew

India Oaks                                           - Nava Ratna and Remembrance

                                                            - Tosca and Fair Haven

                                                            - Marchetta and Starfire Girl

South India 1000 Guineas                     - My Pet and Personal Pet, both owned by Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy and trained by R Foley

                                                            - Splendid Role and Rainbow Flash, both owned by Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy

South India Derby                                - Chaitanya Ratham and Astronomic

South India St. Leger                            - Classic Touch and Classic Story

The above instances have been manually compiled. In case any similar instance has been inadvertently missed out, it may be pointed out and it will be gratefully acknowledged.