Is he… isn’t he….? Such is the aura of the grey superstar Sir Cecil that every day of his prep since his arrival at Mahalaxmi has been watched with eagle eyes around the race track. A rumoured “niggle” has kept people guessing whether this unbeaten son of Win Legend is fully fit or not. His candid trainer Paddy has admitted that he is under the care of a renowned physiotherapist. Last seen galloping fast in the morning trials a week ago, one would have thought he is sure to spurt again a few days before the Derby, but nope - even this morning’s track work doesn’t reflect his name.
Winning the Indian derby straight after the Indian 2000 guineas means 7 weeks without a race, and very few horses have achieved this, Exhilaration being one. And doing it with some soundness issues is obviously more difficult. But still, the stardom and the mad following he brings to this event isn’t dented, even though the odds offered on him could be.
The shadow around the grey has raised the hopes and perhaps the chances of his 2000 guineas rival, STAR SUPERIOR. This handsome son of EXCELLENT ART ran a blinder in the R.R. RUIA to pip Sacred Roman at the post. Many found him wanting but I thought he was cleverly trained to make a late run, and is likely to do that again on Sunday, to the delight of his followers.
Enter the lady in the cast. The attractive daughter of Multidimensional, Adjudicate, has arrived in Mumbai after winning the Calcutta Derby with utter disdain, so much so that her jockey removed his goggles 50 metres from the winning post after looking back 5 times! She is certain to make the two gents hot under the collar, and makes up the principal cast of this blockbuster. Eyes For You, another Multidimensional filly ran a blinder in the Indian Oaks to finish a creditable second, and may be the dark horse in the pack.
A few interesting battles on the sidelines will be the clash of the 3 stud farms, Dashmesh (Sir Cecil), Usha (Adjudicate) and Poonawalla(Star Superior), and the foreign jockeys David Allan, Leigh Roche and Robbie Downey v/s P. Trevor, Suraj Narredu and Neeraj Rawal.
The Club’s initiative of clubbing the Breeders’ Produce Stakes and the Eclipse Stakes among other big races on Derby weekend has made it possible to see veteran superstars like Sarjeant At Arms and Desert God show their stuff along with some promising juveniles who will make their debut here.
So as promised, it is definitely a MULTI STARRER in the offing, and with a decided nip in the air, brace yourselves in your Sunday best for the weekend of the year.
Here is an interesting countdown to the Derby….
10 Times the race has been won by trainer R. R. Byramji.
09 Times it has been won by Pesi Shroff as Trainer and Jockey put together.
08 Times it was won by Dr M A M Ramaswamy.
07 Decades have been completed since the first running of the Indian Derby.
06 Trainers have won the Derby thrice - Maj. V. M. Lad, Bezan Chenoy, S.M. Shah, S.S Shah, S. Padmanabhan and Vinayak.
05 Greys have won the Indian Derby so far.
04 Times it has been won by the Ranjit Bhat and R. R. Byramji combination
03 Professionals have won the Indian Derby as Jockeys and subsequently as Trainers, ie; M Narredu, P Shroff & S Narredu.
02 Days of thrilling racing on 2nd and 3rd Feb 2019, and….
01 Crore added to the Jackpot Pool.