(Major Srinivas Nargolkar, former keeper of the Indian Stud book and a contributor to Indian racing publications for more than 34 years, updates the blog on the Indian classics scene. Today’s entry is about Indian Derby winner Antonios. The following blog entry was written by Major Nargolkar, from India.)
By Major Srinivas Nargolkar, Mumbai, India
MUMBAI, India — Antonios (Glory of Dancer — Twin Star) wore down the unbeaten filly Set Alight in the final 50 meters to win the Indian Group 1 McDowell Signature Indian Derby at Mumbai today in a new national-record time of 2.28.58 for the 2400 meters. The colt is owned by brothers J.K. and F.K. Rattonsey in partnership with Hoosain S. Nensey and was bred by them out of their Indian Oaks-winning mare at the Nanoli Stud near Pune. S.S. Shah, the longest-serving trainer in Western India, saddled the winner, who was ridden by the England-based Brazilian jockey S.A. De Souza who had a dreamlike 554 to 1 treble on the day. Thus it was back-to-back victories for the sire, owner J.K. Rattonsey and the trainer for they were all connected with last year’s winner, Hotstepper.
The noon temperature of 38 degrees celsius may have cooled down a bit by the time the field of 15 was dispatched later in the evening but the pace throughout was fast and furious. Set Alight, looking for her eleventh straight win, was handy throughout and shot to the front with 600 meters still left. She covered the next 400 meters in a blinding 22 seconds plus change and was too drained to withstand the challenge of Antonios. She finished a length and a half behind the winner with Icebreaker third and Dancing Dynamite (also by Glory of Dancer) fourth.
The Rattonseys closed their breeding operation — Kehelan Stud — near Bangalore and moved their stock, including the Shareef Dancer horse Glory of Dancer, to Nanoli Stud a couple of years back. They have won two Derbys since then though Hotstepper was born at Kehelan.
Antonios had made a winning debut towards the end of last Mumbai season. He ran thrice in graded company at Pune, winning once on the track but losing the race on an objection and finishing with a third to Phenomenale and Dancing Dynamite in the Pune Derby. Back at Mumbai for the second term, he won his first outing and then was unplaced in Autonomy’s Indian 2000 Guineas. The fact that Antonios returned Rs. 448 on a Rs. 10 investment on the Tote shows what the public at large thought of his form and winning chance.
Antonios is balanced in-bred 5×4 to Raise a Native and 5×5 to Native Dancer. His sire, Glory of Dancer, was a winner of the Group 1 Gran Criterium at San Siro, second in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris, third in Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket and fourth in Shaamit’s Derby at Epsom as well in the Arlington Million. Well travelled, he came to India after a brief stint at stud in England. Apart from back-to-back winners of the Indian Derby, he has sired two other Group 1 winners and is a consistent and well-regarded stallion. His dam is by the Fappiano full brother Portroe — winner of the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes — who was retired to stud in India, went back to U.S.A. for a while and returned to India. Antonios traces to Pretty Polly through Rich Relation and Sister Sarah.