Windsor Forest, Rochester hold upper hand with eight of the 12 runners being unknown entities
A dozen three-year-olds, five of them fillies, will line up near the seven-furlong marker of the Mahalaxmi racetrack to face the starter, who will flag them off for the mid-day trophy at 4 pm today. Besides the glittering trophy and a sizable chunk of the stakes money of Rs 5.75 lakh, the winning connections would also be looking forward to be the cynosure of all eyes in the unique ambience that brand mid-day lends to whole experience by adding the glitz, glamour and extra-ordinary visibility to this mega event every year.
Like every year, the mid-day trophy offers a tough puzzle this year too what with eight of the 12 being unknown entities who will be running the first ever race of their career. Generally, it is difficult to accurately predict the condition--and hence chances--of horses making debut because before one checks them out in the paddock, one can only rely on the reported track work logged in by them in the morning trials as part of preparation.
There are eight first-timers in the line up of the mid-day trophy, and I feel Daffodil (China Visit - Hills And Stars) and Fair Warning (Win Legend - Annakita), coming from the yards of trainers Pesi Shroff respectively, deserve a close inspection in the paddock.
However, whosoever wants to win the mid-day trophy will have to beat the Manjri stud-bred pair of Windsor Forest (Phoenix Tower - Samsa) and Rochester (Phoenix Tower - Krasnaya), who have both lost narrowly in their debut races. The former is a filly trained by Pesi Shroff, and the latter is a colt from the yard of SK Sunderji. However, between the two, it is difficult to pick one over the other, and there is a reason.
Windsor Forest ran and lost against Timeless who later ran another good race behind Tutanhakum, but the fact that Rochester's performance on debut was perhaps compromised due to the loss of a shoe plate, and also the fact that he is the only horse in the fray who has actually gone over the seven-furlong trip, makes me treat him with great respect.
With such a thin line between the two who will most likely be the top market fancies, I choose to go by my Dynamic Ratings which give a small but decisive edge Windsor Forest over Rochester.
For the grade 2, Eclipse Stake of India, Alaindair looks too good as he takes on four rivals who don't measure up to his class and form, and therefore, chooses himself as the best betting proposition of the Sunday afternoon. I expect Jack Frost to follow him home ahead of B Fifty Two.
The other gr 2 race, Dr SC Jain Sprinters Championship, however, could prove the trickiest race of the card. Going by the track work, I have a feeling that Dancing Prances has regained his form once again, and may stake a claim for a berth in the Sprinters' Cup in Bangalore next month by winning this trial here.
First race at 2.00 pm.
Mid Day Trophy (For 3yr, maidens; 1400m) Scheduled time: 4 pm.
1. Africa 55, NS Parmar, 6;
2. Dragonmoss 55, S Sunil, 10;
3. Fair Warning 55, YS Srinath, 2;
4. Gazino 55, Yash Narredu, 4;
5. Pathan 55, MA Roushan, 12;
6. Rincon 55, CS Jodha, 3;
7. Rochester 55, P Trevor, 11;
8. Angels Touch 53.50, PS Chouhan, 7;
9. Anniversary Girl 53.50, Dashrath Singh, 9;
10. Daffodil 53.50, Neeraj Rawal, 8;
11. Moonshine 53.50, Bhawani Singh, 1;
12. Windsor Forest 53.50, Suraj Narredu, 5.
Selections: Windsor Forest 1, Rochester 2, Daffodil 3.
Dr S C Jain Sprinters' Championship (Gr 2) (For 4y&o; 1200m) Dancing Prances 1, Holy Smoke 2, Your Royal Majesty 3.
Dr Jagjit Singh Tribute Salver (Class IV; 1200m) Silk Baby 1, Irish Bailey 2, Orla 3.
Koku-Kika Trophy - Div II (Class IV; 1400m) Chizzler 1, Aeolus Maximus 2, Bay Of Love 3.
Best bet: Alaindair (3-1)
Good bet: Dancing Prances (6-4)
Chance bet: Windsor Forest (5-12)
Upsets: Vistana (2-5) & Flag Flying (4-12)
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.