Four-year-old filly Myrtlewood mocked a large field of 17 fillies when she got up from the wrong end of the field to sweep past them all to post a sensational victory in the grade 1, Villoo Poonawalla Indian Oaks, the feature event of yesterday’s eight-race card that was witnessed, among others, hundreds of foreigners who had filed into this city for the five-day event of the 36th Asian Racing Conference (ARC).
Myrtlewood, trained by Pesi Shroff, was ridden by P S Chouhan, the same jockey who had powered her to the Indian 1000 Guineas victory on this track last month.
With this victory, Myrtlewood has already bagged a Classics double, and will now set her sights on the plum prize of the Gr 1, Indian Derby to be run on Sunday, February 7 at Mahalaxmi.
“Yes, she will be in the Derby fray,” trainer Shroff confirmed when speaking to mid-day after the race. Shroff will also have another prominent runner in the Derby, Costa Del Sol, who had narrowly gone down to Phoenix Tiger in the Indian 2000 Guineas more than a month ago.
Jockey Chouhan astride Myrtlewood switched off the filly soon after the jump, and never bothered about either the pace or the lead worked up by front runners as the mine-and-a-half contest of speed and stamina began.