The most important weekend of the Indian racing calendar is finally here, and opens with a seven-race card that features two grade 1 races--the Attilla Sprinters' Cup & the Deltin Casino Stayers' Cup--which will see fierce competition from well-prepared horses coming in from all over the country. The local horses are expected to have the home turf advantage, and therefore Dancing Prances & Tiger Tops will start as strong favourites to win the respective races. While Tiger Tops will most probably live up to the expectations by winning the Stayers' Cup, Dancing Prances may face heat from some outstation challengers--and especially from the S Padmanabhan-trained Speed Six to be ridden by local hero Trevor Patel.

Of course, the in-form Dancing Prances is clearly the horse everyone in this field will have to beat to win the Attila Sprinters’ Cup. He has blazing speed, consistent form and and a big heart when it comes to fighting over his favourite trip which is six furlongs. However, by the very nature of this race which features some really top class sprinters at various stages of their career, Dancing Prances and his fans can just not take things for granted this time.

Because Nefyn is bidding for a Sprinters’ Cup hat-trick, and seems to be exhibiting a pattern that looks identical to his earlier successful attempts; Speed Six is in great heart, and according to me, will pose the most serious challenge to Dancing Prances; Un Un Un from Hyderabad, who has reeled off his last six races displaying blinding speed every time; and Maximus, who clocked a shockingly good timing despite being out of form earlier, now goes out with a massive jockey switch that makes him the proverbial joker in the pack.

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 2.00 pm.

Mysore Race Club Million (For 3y; 1200m)
Eternal Flame 1, Hidden Soul 2, Polished Chrome 3.

Delhi Race Club Million  (Class V; 1600m)
Sharp Witted 1, Ad Astra 2, Nigella 3.

Japan Cup (Class III; 1800m)
Lord Jim 1, Shivalik Showers 2, Shivalik View 3.

Attila Sprinters' Cup (Grade 1) (For 4y&o; 1200m)
Speed Six 1, Dancing Prances 2, Nefyn 3.

Madras Race Club Million (Class II; 1400m)
Rule Downunder 1, Simply Sweet 2, Staristocrat 3.

Deltin Casinos Stayers' Cup (Grade 1) (For 4y&o; 3000m)
Tiger Tops 1, Astapi 2, Wind Stream 3.

Omkar 1973 Worli Million (For 5y&o, class IV; 1000m)
Beau Royale 1, Padmakosa 2, Nicanor 3.

Best bet: Eternal Flame (1-1)
Good bet: Tiger Tops (6-11)
Chance bet: Speed Six (4-9)
Upsets: Palatial (2-1) & Grand March (7-13)

Today's pools
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.