Oasis Star, shown directly below winning the Indian Group 1 Dr. S.C. Jain Sprinters Championship at Mumbai on March 15, 2009, made her Dubai début at Meydan today a memorable one with a fine second-place finish to 2009 UAE 1000 Guineas winner So Shiny. The latter, an Argentine-bred daughter of Indygo Shiner now representing Saudi Arabia, was Group 1-placed in her native country before taking the Guineas at Nad Al Sheba last season. There were several international stakes winners in the race today, including Group 1 winners, so Oasis Star’s finish confirmed the Indian formbook — and my penchant for featuring the Indian classics in this space. Aside from Oasis Star, there have been several horses — interestingly, fillies — out of India lately that have demonstrated, in my opinion, high-class international form, notably the outstanding Set Alight, last season’s champion filly; and her heir apparent, the equally impressive Jacqueline, who attempts to make history Sunday. Jacqueline has won both Guineas and the Oaks and will go in the McDowell Signature Indian Derby at Mahalaxmi Sunday in an attempt to sweep all four classics for the first time in history.
A come-from-behind sprinter with tremendous acceleration, Oasis Star is a 6-year-old mare by US-raced Grade 1 winner Senure, a son of Nureyev, out of the unraced Lear Fan mare Gumbaru Etsu, and is widely considered the best sprinter seen in India. A winner of 14 races from 18 starts, she’d been scheduled to race in the US last year but quarantine issues scuttled the plans. Click here to read an earlier post about her. Note that she was racing today on a surface other than turf for the first time in her career. She is one of four Indian horses at Meydan for the carnival. The others are Antonios, last season’s conqueror of Set Alight in the Indian Derby; Yana; and Autonomy. (Yana, a mare, ran unplaced in the 6th race today at 1600 meters, a distance well short of the 2400 to 3000 meters that she needs.)
Below is the 1st race from Meydan today. Oasis Star is on the rail in 5th early, fans out on the turn for home, and finishes strong.