Their names are interesting. Horse names always are. Sample these: Wings Of Glory, Hail The King, Moussaeif, Quest For Love, Speed King, Habibians, Valentino, Glorious Reward, Efialties, Essence Of Love & Born To Win. These are the horses who will fight tooth and nail for the mid-day Trophy this Sunday.
Gerome, with jockey S Zervan astride, wins the prestigious 2013 mid-day Trophy at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse on January 6, 2013. Pic/Shadab Khan.
The mid-day Trophy, which was instituted by the Royal Western Indian Turf Club (RWITC) many years ago to celebrate this newspaper’s unique association with horse racing as a media partner, is scheduled for tomorrow at the Mahalaxmi racetrack.
The trophy, named after your newspaper, has earned the reputation as one of the most glamorous events of the racing calendar because mid-day has kept alive the tradition of roping in, every year, a top Bollywood film personality to give away the prestigious trophy to the winning owner, trainer and jockey.
Last year, it was Kareena Kapoor who gave away the mid-day Trophy to owner Dr Cyrus Poonawalla and his family who won it with a filly named First And Only One. This year it will be Sonam Kapoor who will do the honours. Interestingly, Dr Poonawalla, who had dedicated the mid-day Trophy to the memory of his late wife Villoo and revealed that the filly was so named because Villoo was the “first and only one” love of his life, has no runner in the mid-day Trophy this year.
But the name Villoo Poonawalla will nevertheless feature prominently on the day’s card as the third Classic of the season, the Villoo Poonawalla Indian Oaks (Grade 1), is slated as the day’s prime event to be run exactly one hour after the mid-day Trophy, a seven-furlong race reserved for class III horses, which is slotted as the 6th race on the Sunday card, scheduled for the 4 pm slot.
Though it is difficult to predict the winner of the mid-day Trophy without knowing the names of the jockeys who will ride them (jockeys’ names will be declared by today afternoon), I think Speed King, trained by Malesh Narredu, will most possibly emerge as the horse everyone will have to beat, and may attract the favourite status at race time.
He will however face a keen challenge from Moussaeif, Efialties, Quest For Love & Valentino.