INDIAN DERBY AND THE LINE UP

Friday, April 10, 2009

INDIAN DERBY is just a couple of days away. 15 horses are participating with four of them coming in from Bangalore, surprisingly no other centre could produce a worty challenger for the top racing event.

1. SET ALIGHT is the talk horse prior to the much awaited Indian Derby on Sunday. This Razeen filly looks most likely to win the coveted event at cramped odds as she is in good condition as is apparent from the tracks, has a good breeding to stay the distance and has performed like a top horse winning all her outings so far. She is the best at ratings and the only time she had to be hard ridden was when she got the verdict in the stewards room after being piped by AUTONOMY last year in feb. The negative factor could only be is that the trainer has been tracking her far too much as she has been sent out for 15 gallops since her last win on 14 march. One more fear could be the jockey who has been most controversial rider in the country despite having some very fine wins to his name.

2. AUTONOMY is perhaps the closest challenger who has lost three races, once to RED ROMEO over 1400m, then lost in objection to SET ALIGHT last year and was beaten by FLAMING ACE in Pune while conceding weight. This Razeen gelding won the Indian 2000 Guineas after a hard ride when it appeared that perhaps he was alerted for the job a bit early as the 2nd and 3 rd placed horses gained on him in the final 100 yards. The horse is bred to stay and the trip should not be a bother. The fly in jockey is a plus factor.

3. JUVENTUS is the full younger brother to last year’s Indian Derby Winner HOTSTEPPER who has the same owner and trainer combination. The horse was a flying 3rd in the 2000 Guineas and is likely to run a good race as he is showing out in trials. The good foreign jockey has an exciting prospect to ride though it is not normal for full brothers to win the Derby’s in tandem. GLORY OF DANCER progeny likes the hard turf the dam has been most versatile in giving a couple of good sprinters apart from the Derby winner.

4. ICEBREAKER has the blemish of being beaten in the Indian Oaks by a pair of no hopers. She had performed wonderfully in the Bangalore Winter Season winning the Bangalore 1000 Guineas and Bangalore Derby comfortably. The main reason for her defeat was perhaps over racing. Add to that the over confidence of the jockey who got her to hit the front as soon as they turned for home in the long and dry Mumbai straight. S he is bound to perform better after the last humiliation.

5. ABS FABS is from the upcoming Bangalore trainer who had a wonderful winter this year. She is by the sire of the year BURDEN OF PROOF and appears to have improved with her last few runs. The travel to Kolkatta and an easy win shows that the horse acclimatizes well and is a stout performer. The blood lines are more for speed, the dam SUNNY CLIME won up to 1800m , placed 4th in President of India Gold Cup and Bangalore Oaks.

6. RED ROMEO was one of the top horses in the juvenile’s category last year. The last poor run in 2000 Guineas is a dampener. The son of STEINBECK is a good mid distance racer, over the years it has been seen that the Steinbeck crop likes a bit of cut and may not do well in drier conditions. He may only be considered as a long shot.

7. DANCING DYNAMITE has mostly been a case of so near yet so far, He was hemmed in along the rails before breaking free and giving a mighty scary time to the heavily fancied AUTONOMY in the 2000 Guineas. I personally feel that irrespective of the close verdict against AUTONOMY in last two defeats, he may not get better over the full 2400 m trip as the blood lines are not very strong.

8. ANTONIOS has always struggled against DANCING DYNAMITE and he is likely to perform that way only. FALCON CREST has impressed in both wins this season, he has staying bloodlines as the dam won the Kolkatta Derby and grand dam was a winner over Derby distance. He has tracked with SET ALIGHT but could not match strides all the way. STAR PRESENTATION and FANTASTIC QUEST are M A M’s hopefuls who have done nothing to suggest that one of them can be good enough to challenge the front line contenders here. GO GUZZI GO , TELSTAR and VEERA WANG are hopelessly placed here to
actually be in any sort of consideration.

9. RIYASAT and NORA who got into limelight in Indian Oaks where the two ran mighty race to be first and second will be interesting competitors as they stayed the trip well while finishing on. RIYASAT is well bred half brother to well performed LA HINCH who was a mid distance runner, the grand dam was PRIMA FACIE , South Indian Oaks winner who also produced the Calcutta Derby winner LEGAL STEPS. It is very difficult to visualize another stellar performance from her as I feel the last win was perhaps due to the failure of the fancied ones. NORA is more of a mid distance candidate who has run a couple of good races but looks out of depth in this field.

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