Jacqueline with Richard Hughes aboard won the Indian 1000 Guineas a week ago at Mahalaxmi in Mumbai. She returned today with Hughes to win the 2000 Guineas over the same course and became the first in 30 years to land the historic double. Major Srinivas Nargolkar, former Keeper of the Indian Stud Book and the Indian correspondent for this blog, writes about the race from India. Search this blog for his post on the Indian 1000 Guineas from Dec. 13. See the video of the race below.
Jacqueline (King Charlemagne – Talita Kumi by High Estate) disposed off the seven colts she took on in the Sobo Central Indian 2000 Guineas, Gr.1, as easily as she had brushed aside the challenge of the members of her own sex last Sunday to complete a grand double. Richard Hughes was once again in the plate and he rode an almost identical race, content to be at the rear early on, coming round the shortest way and hitting the front inside the last panel to win by two lengths from the Usha Stud-bred colt Sea Ruler (E Dubai – Cool Ashlee by Mister Baileys; Cool Ashlee, a winner of 4 races in USA including the Critical Miss Stakes and placed second in the Mazarine Breeders’ Cup Stakes, Gr.1). Hughes and Micky Fenton on the runner-up made their move at about the same time but the filly was travelling so well that the colt was always fighting a lost cause. Jacqueline covered the mile in 1.36.32, a time one tenth of a second faster than when winning the Indian 1000 Guineas. Four of the seven colts were by Placerville (a son of Mr. Prospector) and two of them — Native Knight and Forest Flair — finished third and fourth.
Jacqueline, whose sire is based in Italy, and the previously unbeaten Sea Ruler were lesser backed than their respective stable-mates Cabriolet and Versaki (6 starts, 6 wins). Hughes had originally been booked to ride Cabriolet, who had won in his lead-up race in near record time. On the morning of the Indian 1000 Guineas, Hughes rode Cabriolet in a piece of work and the colt ran flat. When Jacqueline won the 1000, Hughes had no hesitation in mentioning in the post-race interview that he would ride the filly in the 2000. That clear pointer, it would seem, went unheeded at large.
Versaki, as is his wont, went to the front and Cabriolet kept tabs on him all through. Versaki had not had a prep-race while Cabriolet seemed ‘over the top’. Both of them petered out to finish off the frame. Sea Ruler, unbeaten like Versaki, ran a genuine race only to find a filly simply too good for him. In March, Versaki had beaten Jacqueline by about a length on this very track over seven furlongs. Since then, Jacqueline appears to have made sterling progress.
This was the third Indian 2000 Guineas victory for Hughes, who has ridden winners of all Indian classics barring the Indian St. Leger. He may never ride a St. Leger winner because that race comes at the end of March when most European jockeys are usually rushing back to their main bases after Dubai World Cup. Mr. Vijay Shirke, whose colours Jacqueline carried, has been around for three decades. A construction man from Pune, he is a prominent owner but the scale of his operation is modest when compared with some others. Before Jacqueline’s double, he has won the Indian 1000 Guineas with Thumbelina, the Indian Derby with Noble Eagle and the Indian St. Leger with The Pelican. So if Jacqueline goes on to win the Indian Oaks next month, it will be quite a feat.
Pesi Shroff, who trains Jacqueline, is indeed having a purple run. He has already sent out 24 winners this Mumbai season which includes one six-timer, one four timer, four trebles and both the Classics run so far.
He sent out two other winners to repeat his treble of last Sunday.
Five years ago, Cooji Katrak (trainer of Sea Ruler and Versaki) had won the Indian 2000 Guineas with Rapidash, the last filly to win the race before today. And, exactly 30 years ago, Highland Rule had registered the last Guineas double. Highland Rule went on to win the Indian Oaks. So that’s a happy augury for Mr. Vijay Shirke, Jacqueline’s owner!
Click here to see the chart of the race (Race #9).
See the video of the race below. Jacqueline, at the rear early, has a white blaze: