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Clash of the titans in the Omkar Indian Turf Invitation Cup

The 2015 version of the Omkar Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Gr 1) promises to be a race that has been constantly talked about until today, and will also be talked about ad infinitum after it is actually run. What promises to be one of the greatest contests, will be run at the Mahalaxmi racetrack at 4.45 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 during the uninterrupted victory run of eight wins since February 26 last year, 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 and champion, has also bounced back to winning form, and his presence ensures, like Malesh Narredu told me in an interview this week, that “only a real champion can emerge as a winner of this race”.

My vote, needless to repeat, goes in favour of Be Safe.

For the supporting race of the card, the Major P K Mehra Memorial Super Mile Cup (Gr 1), all eyes will be on Zachary. He is in rousing form at present, and has never lost a race over this trip of mile except to Be Safe in the 2000 Guineas. He is obviously the worthiest contender for the top spot. But the worry is for the first time he is finding himself racing against absolutely top class and seasoned campaigners.

Arrogant Approach (excellent, consistent form), Machiavellianism (don’t forget he had won over the same trip on this track—2000 Guineas two seasons ago), Circle Of Bliss (seems to be returning to form again), and Godspeed (a disastrous Oaks run, with tongue strap ON, which was clearly beyond her compass, now returning to her favourite trip and drops TS)—if any of these four runners decides to run its career best race, there may not be much Zachary can do to continue her winning streak.

SPECIAL BOX
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Amazing Grace will run a good race: Shroff

"I am happy with the progress of Amazing Grace. She is fit and well, and will give a good account of herself," said Pesi Shroff to mid-day on the eve of the Turf Invitation Cup (gr 1). It may be noted that Amazing Grace, although extremely talented, was a late bloomer. She made her debut last December, and therefore, failed to make any impression in last season's Classic campaign. However, later she matured with every win, and is now going into this race looking for her ninth straight victory.

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First race at 2.15 pm.
Selections:

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.

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)
Maisha 1, Adam 2, Trance 3.

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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.

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Turf Authorities of India Million (Class IV; 1400m)
Dramarama 1, Attraction 2, Incandescent 3.

Recommendations
Best bet: Admiralty (1-1)
Good bet: Be Safe (6-5)
Chance bet: Abigail (2-3)
Upsets: Maximus (4-5) & Cold Play (7-12)

Today's pools
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.

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