Villoo Poonawalla Oaks wears open look despite Myrtlewood's presence

The Villoo Poonawalla Indian Oaks (Gr 1) features as the prime event of today's eight-race card. Barring Myrtlewood, the fluent winner of Indian 1000 Guineas, no filly in the fray seems to be in the Classic mould. And even Myrtlewood, although extremely talented, she has so far never ventured beyond the mile trip, and therefore, could have issues tackling the mile-and-a-half trip of the Oaks which is billed as the "Ladies' Derby" as only four-year-old fillies are allowed to participate in this event which is run over the traditional Derby distance.

In fact, though 17 fillies are in the fray, only four of them have tackled this distance earlier, and two of them have been winners. Cameron and Heather have won the Kolkata and Hyderabad Oaks respectively, so both of them should technically be accorded the contender status. Interestingly, Pesi Shroff who will saddle both Myrtlewood & Heather has also pitched in three more runners in the fray: Nifty, Solange and Chef D'Oeuvre, leading to speculation in the racing fraternity that either he is not too confident Myrtlewood would stay the trip or at least one of them--perhaps Nifty--may have been prepared to run a very big race. Whatever the market sentiment, I personally feel there is a huge gap between Myrtlewood and the rest on current form, and this fact may go in her favour as they approach the judge. Myrtlewood is in great heart at present and she also possesses excellent turn of foot as displayed during the Guineas run, so if she settles well in the initial pace which will most likely be set by Lavender Blue from Vishal Gaikwad's yard, Myrtlewood can return triumphant despite alleged stamina limitations.

First race at 2.00 pm.

Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Multi-Million (Class III; 1400m)

Persian Prince 1, Holy Smoke 2, Spirit And Truth 3.

Breeders' of India Championship Stakes (For 4y&o; 2000m)

Quasar 1, Shilvalik Showers 2, Booker Jones 3.

Gool S Poonawalla Million (Grade 3) (For 3y; 1000m)

Cataleya 1, Honey Dew 2, Lady Danehill 3.

TRM Multi-Million Sprint Cup (Class II; 1000m)

Maleficent 1, Brahmachari 2, Merchantofvenice 3.

Villoo Poonawalla Indian Oaks (Grade 1) (For 4y; 2400m)

Myrtlewood 1, Nifty 2, Avant Garde 3.

At The Races Championship Stakes (For 4y&o; 1400m)

Shivalik Storm 1, Your Royal Majesty 2, Acclaimed 3.

Asian Racing Federation Trophy (For 3y; 1400m)

Accolade 1, Devoted Eyes 2, Krieger 3.

AmTote International Handicap Million (Class IV; 1200m)

Batman 1, Paramour 2, Alisha's Pet 3.

Best bet: Quasar (2-1)
Good bet: Maleficent (4-1)
Chance bet: Accolade (7-1)
Upset: Frosty (3-6), Apache (6-4) & Pearl Secret (8-6)

Today's pools
Super jackpot pool: 3,4,5,6,7,8
Jackpot pool: 4,5,6,7,8
Treble pool: I - 5,6,7; II - 6,7,8
Tanala pool: All races.

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