The got abroad son of Zacheta’s Girl, bred at Nirmal Singh’s Hazara stud farm, beat the Cooji Katrak-trained filly Starry Eyes (D Allan up) in a stirring duel when both of them matched each other stride for stride in the final 300 meters of the seven-furlong trip. At the wire, Murioi won a neck verdict, in the process pocketing a cool Rs 1.04 crore for owner Dr MAM Ramaswamy.
Runner-up Starry Eyes, who also ended up as Tote favourite for the race, tried to reverse the narrow verdict in the stewards’ room by objecting against the winner for dangerously coming onto him, but the objection was overruled by the stewards as that interference had not made any material difference to the eventual verdict as the winner was clearly the better-moving horse of the two involved in the close finish.
“I was quite hopeful Murioi would win this race. He is a big-made horse who needs more ground, and the way he was shaping up after arriving here at Mahalaxmi, we had reason to seriously fancy his chances,” trainer S Ganapathy told MiD DAY after the race. On being asked if he gave any specific instructions to jockey Sreekanth about the ride, Ganapathy answered in the affirmative.
“I just told him to come from behind, the pace was going to be hot, and there was no point in contesting it. I told the boy to stay back and let the others do the running, and make his move only in the homestretch, and that too from the outside,” he said.
Incidentally, the jockey followed the script to the letter and pulled off what turned out to be a sensational victory. “We will just switch him off for now and bring him back in the Bangalore summer season,” the trainer added.
When MiD DAY asked if he thought Murioi was the best three-year-old in his yard, the trainer flashed an enigmatic smile, before adding, “Maybe, you can say that as of now. But let me tell you we also have some very good juveniles who are yet to make debut, so only time will answer that question.”