(The following report was filed from India by Major Srinivas Nargolkar, former Keeper of the Indian Stud Book.)
No one could have paid a better tribute to Oasis Star, the champion Indian sprinter who collapsed and died after her race in Dubai on Friday night, than Palazzio’s Sun! In the 2009 running of Sprinters’ Cup, Gr.1, the bay colt, bred and owned by Capt Jamshed Appu, had finished a length and a half behind the mercurial filly. Today, in her absence, Palazzio’s Sun led all the way and won comfortably and though he drifted out alarmingly outwards the end, he was never in danger of being caught. Forest Flair, the favourite, ran a bit flat but held on gamely to keep the runner-up berth a short head in front of D’Artagnan. The winner clocked 1.10.37 (Oasis Star’s record stands at 1.10.10) and won by two lengths and a quarter; the next two and a half lengths covered 8 horses ! [Forest Flair runs in Million tomorrow over 1400 m. and in a weaker set could find compensation.]
The race was a triumph for Poonawalla Group of Farms and their premier stallion, Mr. Prospector’s son Placerville, with the winner being by Alnasr Alwasheek out of a daughter of Placerville while the second- and third-placed horses are sons of Placerville. Palazzio, the dam of the winner, had twice run second in the Sprinters’ Cup in her time and won the Maj P.K.Mehra Memorial Super Mile. Palazzio’s Sun is balanced inbred 4×5 to Nearctic and 5×5 to Native Dancer. His younger full-sister Messalina is a minor classic winner. After winning on his debut at 3 over 1200 m., Palazzio’s Sun’s next 11 starts were all over longer distances in classic/Graded company. Being by a sire well known to bequeath stamina to his progeny and out a classy miler dam, he was perhaps expected to shine over middle distances. When trainer Padmanabhan switched him back to sprinting, the colt struck with a vengeance to reel off a hat-trick of wins and then ran second to Oasis Star to show that sprinting was his true metier. He had not had a race for over three months and that was perhaps the reason why he returned Rs. 76 on a Rs.10 wager on the Tote. His fourth dam was a half-sister to Kentucky Oaks winner White Star Line and this family of Filiberto, Bernardini, Northern Trick and others will be well-known to American readers.
Two pieces of interesting trivia. In today’s race, Palazzio’s Sun was drawn 1 while the runner-up Forest Flair took off from stall No. 2. That’s how they finished. When Palazzio (dam of the winner) placed second in the 2003 Sprinters’ Cup at Hyderabad, she was two and a half lengths ahead of the third-placed Tide of Fortune (dam of Forest Flair). Today, Palazzio’s Sun beat Forest Flair by two lengths and a quarter. Can the form be better upheld by the next generation ?
Maseeha (Flitch – Six Crowns), the favourite for the Stayers’ Cup, Gr.1, duly obliged his backers. Tracking the leader Cavaradosi throughout the 3000 m. trip, he forged ahead after they had completed one circuit of the track and was driven out by the Brazilian S.A. De Souza — he is stationed in England, though — to hold his advantage over the fast finishing dual St. Leger winner Conceptual. He won by a length and a half in 3.12.23 which bettered Arctic Light’s 1994 time of 3.16.40. Since a 3000 m. race is run at Mahalakshmi every five years, the record is more of an academic interest than any real significance. De Souza, who had a double on the day, thrives on the Mahalakshmi track; he won the Indian Derby last year and was astride Beautiful Stranger, the winner of Poonawalla Breeders’ Multi-Million, Gr.1, last week.
Maseeha, bred at Doaba-Galloping Farms in Uttar Pradesh, is owned by Mrs. Tina Dhanani and was saddled by Zadmal Singh. Maseeha has come from the ranks by the sheer dint of his gameness and consistency. He started his career with trainer Narendra Lagad and was then owned by Mr. Kareem Dhanani, husband of the present owner. A third in the Indian St. Leger, Gr.1, to Noble Prince was the highlight of his early days. He moved to his current trainer’s yard at the start of last Pune season, won his first black-type race — Jiwajirao Scindia Trophy, Gr.3 — in December and his second Byculla Club Cup (2800 m.) in January and is now a Gr.1 winner. He has a five generation outcross pedigree but the cluster of half-sisters Cosmah and Natalma can be spotted in the fifth remove. His sire, the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes, Gr.2, winner Flitch, stands at Doaba Stud. Maseeha is his first Gr.1 winner, the best of his other produce being Shelly Green who won the Golconda Oaks, Gr.2. Maseeha’s grandam Bugs Bunny won the 1992 Indian Turf Invitation Cup, Gr.1, and is from the family of Crepello, Honeylight, Twilight Alley and others. The foundation tap-root mare in this case is M. Edward Esmond’s mare Dorina. Not many people will remember that Edward Esmond raced prominently in India between the two World Wars or that he won the Viceroy’s Cup with Fastnet, an influential sire later in France.
Trainer Padmnabhan had his Gr.1 winner; Richard Hughes also had a winner and two seconds while Pesi Shroff sent out a trio of winners, all of them bred at the Usha Stud. Becket is attracting money and is likely to start a joint favourite with Jacqueline tomorrow while there is support for Fallon-ridden Diego Rivera in the Super Mile. The overnight market is:-
Invitation Cup: Jacqueline (12/10), Becket (14/10) and Native Knight (7/1)
Super Mile: Dancing Dynamite (14/10), Diego Rivera, Juventus (3/1), Sea Ruler, Sprint Star (5/1)