The Ramniwas Ramnarain Ruia Gold Cup (Gr 2) is slated as the prime event of Sunday's bumper ten-race card, the last four races of which will be run under the floodlights as part of Evening racing program.
Though ten runners will vie for the winner's purse of Rs 12 lakh, the one who towers over them all is Phoenix Tiger, winner of six races from seven lifetime starts, his last victory coming in the Indian 2000 Guineas when he clocked an exceptional timing for the mile trip. Frankly, under normal circumstances I would have nominated the Dallas Todywalla-trained dark bay four-year-old colt as an outstanding bet of the afternoon, but I am refraining from doing so.
The reason is Gestapo, trained by Pesi Shroff, will also be in the fray.
Actually, Gestapo's performances may look virtually amateurish when compared to the virtuoso performances of Phoenix Tiger, and I am sure most experts will ridicule me for even taking both their names in the same breath, because Gestapo has won only two races from as many starts and severely lacks experience at any decent level.
However, I think Gestapo is extremely talented, and though this fight against a champion like Phoenix Tiger is coming a bit too early for his relatively late debut and subsequent victory, I will not be surprised if he poses a serious challenge to Phoenix Tiger.
Pesi Shroff has imported an English rider, Jim Crowley, to don Vijay Shirke's silks on Gestapo. He will get a warm up ride on the same owner's proptery, Magnolia, in the second race of the card. A good jockey of Crowley's calibre should be able to read the Mahalaxmi track quickly thanks to that ride.
There is a special joy in risking small money on an underdog, especially if he has given you a feeling that he could turn out to be a great horse in the future like Gestapo gave to me, and therefore my tener will ride on Gestapo because I see value in the lucrative odds that will most likely be offered on him.
First race at 3.30 pm.
Tricumdas Dwarkadas Trophy - Div II (For 5y&o, class IV; 1200m)
Captain Abdon 1, Spanish Saga 2, Apsaras 3.
Uttam Singh Trophy - Div II (Class IV; 1600m)
Magnolia 1, Dancing Pretty 2, Grand Vitesse 3.
Kejriwal Trophy - Div II (For 5y&o, Class III; 1000m)
Palace Girl 1, Tinogona 2, Bullion Express 3.
Harrish Mehra Trophy (class V; 1800m)
Coley 1, Devils Ride 2, Olly Boy 3.
Uttam Singh Trophy - Div I (Class IV; 1600m)
Baker Street 1, Shadowfax 2, Cavalia 3.
Ramniwas Ramnarain Ruia Gold Cup (Grade 2) (For 4y; 2000m)
Gestapo 1, Phoenix Tiger 2, Sea Lord 3.
N M Irani Trophy (For 3y, maidens; 1400m)
Caelin 1, Germanicus 2, Celestial Light 3.
Tricumdas Dwarkadas Trophy - Div I (For 5y&o, class IV; 1200m)
Siddhi 1, Moroccan 2, Earl Grey 3.
Forbes India Trophy presented by AUDI (For 3y, maidens; 1000m)
Ladisclaus 1, Rainbow Bridge 2, Sparkling Eyes 3.
Kejriwal Trophy - Div I (For 5y&o, Class III; 1000m)
Wind And Stars 1, Star 2, The Magician 3.
Best bet: None
Good bet: Ladisclaus (9-2)
Chance bet: Magnolia (2-6)
Upsets: Ice Gage (1-3), Shivalik Skies (4-3) & Chlobud (8-7)
Super jackpot pool: 5,6,7,8,9,10
Jackpot pool: I - 4,5,6,7,8; II - 6,7,8,9,10
Treble pool: I - 3,4,5; II - 7,8,9; III - 8,9,10
Tanala pool: All races.