(The following report was filed by Major Srinivas Nargolkar, former Keeper of the Indian Stud Book, from India.)
In the absence of Jacqueline who has already been retired, the Indian Turf Invitation Cup winner Becket should not have too many problems lifting the last Indian classic of the year Sunday, March 28. He has only four opponents; the three Placervilles—geldings Mighty Crusader and Native Knight and the filly Change of Luck—he has disposed off easily either in the Indian Derby or the Invitation Cup while the fourth, the Razeen colt Washington Irvine, is rated a measly 68 against his imposing 119.
Jacqueline is already at her part-owner Mr. Khushru Dhunjibhoy’s Nanoli Stud awaiting her turn at the court of the Shareef Dancer horse Glory of Dancer. That stallion has had the most significant impact on the Indian Derby in the last three years with two winners—Hot Stepper and Antonios—and Onassis, who was fourth this year. Logistic problems are the cited reason for her owners abandoning the earlier plans of sending Jacqueline to Kentucky. However, two outstanding fillies from the previous year, Set Alight and Icebreaker, are set to make the trip on March 31 bar any last-minute glitches.
Joint problems have cost Jacqueline her chance of becoming the first filly to win all the five Indian classics. If Becket wins as anticipated, Sohna Stud, the breeder of Becket and Jacqueline, will have the honour of that distinction. It won’t be a unique feat, though, for Renala (1949-50), Kolhapur (1965-66) and Yeravada (1976-77) are three stud farms that have recorded a clean sweep before.