[Indian St. Leger video below] Dr. Vijay Mallya’s Amazing Grace (Hurricane Run – Efrhina[IRE] by Woodman) slammed champion Alaindair (Multidimensional- God’s Grace) by seven long lengths without breaking into a sweat to win the Signature Indian St. Leger, Gr.1 at Pune on Sunday. They say “it’s better to travel hopefully than arrive” and while all those who looked forward to a thrilling contest between the filly and the gelding would be disappointed, most were elated at the unveiling of a new star.
Coming into this race, Alaindair had won five Gr.1 races including the rare treble of the Kingfisher Derby Bangalore, the McDowell Signature Indian Derby, and the President of India Gold Cup, the last of them three weeks ago. Amazing Grace, on the other hand, had yet to win a Gr.1 race though she was on a sparkling upward curve that saw her unbeaten in her last six starts. Alaindair had not tasted defeat under Y.S. Srinath and the filly has only been ridden by Trevor Patel so the main contenders had their favourite riders on board. There were two other runners — Starry Eyes and Montreal — both hailing from the same yard.
Alaindair found himself in front and fighting for his head till, soon after crossing the winning post for the first time, Starry Eyes shot ahead as they swung right handed, and led by a street down the backstretch. Starry Eyes was reeled in as they approached the final turn and Alaindair was first into the straight. Before his supporters could shout his name, Amazing Grace had passed him in the twinkling of an eye and it was a procession thereafter. The final verdict was 7l, dist and dist and the time of 2.59.83 was good but not exceptional.
This was a second Indian Classic victory for Trevor Patel — he had earlier won the Indian 1000 Guineas, Gr.1 — and the decision to persist with him is paying handsome dividends. It was also the second Indian St. Leger for trainer Pesi Shroff, third for the Kunigal Stud and the fourth for the owner. Dr. Mallya’s first winner of the race — Adler — won a race in the U.S.A.; his second — Saddle Up — raced with distinction in Malaysia-Singapore and Hong Kong while the third — Storm Again — died before he could venture abroad. Amazing Grace neither has a worthy foe in India nor a suitable mate and one would dearly like her to spread her wings, perhaps in USA.
Amazing Grace’s dam Efrhina was purchased for 30,000 euros at Goffs November 2009 sale in foal to Hurricane Run. The son of Montjeu started his stud career at Coolmore but now stands in Germany after failing to come up to expectations. He does, though, have Ectot, winner of the Prix Niel, Gr.2 and among the well-backed ones in the ante-post betting for next Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Efrhina won four races from 2200 to 2800 m. in England but the attraction to Zeyn Mirza, Dr. Mallya’s racing manager, was the fact that she was inbred to La Troienne with half-sisters Playmate and Special Account 2×4. Amazing Grace herself has half-brothers Bold Reason and Never Bend 5×4. Incidentally, the Arc hopeful Ectot has Bold Reason and Never Bend 5×5!