What was originally a seven-race Invitation Cup card now gets two races added to its programme after last weekend’s unseasonal rains forced the last two races of the Saturday card to be abandoned. The nine-race card is slated for today afternoon, with the first race to begin at 1:20 pm.
The 2015 version of the Omkar Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Gr 1) promises to be a race that will also be talked about ad infinitum after it is actually run today. What promises to be one of the greatest contests, will be run at the Mahalaxmi Racetrack at 5:15 pm today, and hopefully, the race will decide who between Be Safe and Amazing Grace will go down in the history of Indian racing as one of the greatest horses of all time.
I regarded Be Safe as an exceptional horse that comes about once in a generation, and his Derby victory in record time has only convinced me that he is the best horse (perhaps, barring Continual) that I have seen in my close to four decades of racing life.
However, one must admit that the kind of form Amazing Grace has displayed since February 26 last year (eight uninterrupted wins) is also perhaps unparalleled in the history of Indian racing. The question is not what she beat, but how she did it, and that puts her in a league of her own. To add more intrigue, even Alaindair, last year’s Derby winner, has bounced back to winning form, and his presence ensures that only a real champ can emerge as a winner of this race.
My choice is Be Safe.
Tiger Top favoured
As regards the Deltin Casino Stayers’ Cup, Tiger Top managing to finish a creditable second to Be Safe, despite running three mile-and-a-half races at two different centers spaced thousands of kilometres apart in a matter of only 21 days, speaks volumes about the class and stamina of the Pesi Shroff-trained filly.
And since those two are precisely the qualities required to win the Stayers’ Cup, Tiger Tops is a worthy favourite. On top of that, by virtue of being the youngest (four-year-old) and the only filly, she receives weight from them all, adding to her already strong prospects as a probable winner. Astapi, Tintinnabulation and Wind Stream may be left fighting for the minor places.
Percept Million (For 3y; 1600m)
Admiralty 1, Shadowfax 2, Phenomenal Memory 3.
Hyderabad Race Club Million (For 3y, maidens; 1000m)
Abigail 1, Calissa 2, Alps 3.
Bangalore Turf Club Million (Class III; 1000m)
Cezanne 1, Himalayan Queen 2, Zabarwan 3.
Omkar 1973 Worli Million (For 5y&o, class IV; 1000m)
Beau Royale 1, Padmakosa 2, Nicanor 3.
Turf Authorities of India Million (Class IV; 1400m)
Dramarama 1, Attraction 2, Incandescent 3.
Maj P K Mehra Memorial Super Mile Cup (Grade 1) (For 4y&o; 1600m)
Zachary 1, Circle Of Bliss 2, Godspeed 3.
Suresh Mahindra Multi-Million (Grade 2) (For 4y&o; 1400m)
Silver Streak 1, Adam 2, Trance 3.
Omkar Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Grade 1)
(For 4y&o; 2400m) Time: 4.45 pm.
1. Agostini 59 B Louis 8;
2. Alaindair 59 YS Srinath 6;
3. Snowdrift 59 Dashrath Singh 7;
4.Amazing Grace 57.5 P Trevor 4;
5. Be Safe 55 Suraj Narredu 11;
6. Bold Majesty 55 A Sandesh 10;
7. Dare To Dream 55 Imran Chisty 4;
8. Quasar 55 Yash Narredu 3;
9. Speradeagle 55 S Zervan 2;
10.Torch Bearer 55 D Allan 5;
11. Acquamarine 53.5 R Hughes 9.
Selections: Be Safe 1, Amazing Grace 2, Alaindair 3, Acquamarine 4.
Deltin Casinos Stayers' Cup (Grade 1) (For 4y&o; 3000m)
Tiger Tops 1, Astapi 2, Wind Stream 3.Recommendations
Best bet: Admiralty (1-1)
Good bet: Be Safe (8-5)
Chance bet: Abigail (2-3)
Upsets: Maximus (6-5) & Cold Play (5-12)
Super jackpot pool: 2,3,4,5,6,7
Jackpot pool: 3,4,5,6,7
Treble pool: 5,6,7
Tanala pool: All races.