Mumbai: What was originally a seven-race Invitation Cup card now gets two races added to its programme after last weekend's unseasonal rains forced abandonment of the last two races of the Saturday card. 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 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 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 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 choice is Be Safe.
As regards the Deltin Casino Stayers' Cup, Tiger Top, despite running three mile-and-a-half races at two different centers spaced thousands of kilometres apart in a matter of only 21 days, managed to finish a creditable second to the super horse Be Safe, 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 chooses herself as a worthy favourite for this race.
On top of that, by virtue of being the youngest (the only 4y old in the fray) and the only filly, she receives weight from them all, adding to her already strong prospects as a probable winner.
Astapi, Tintinnabulation & Wind Stream may be left fighting for the minor places.
First race at 1.20 pm.
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.
(Pl highlight this box below)
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.