(See video below—SHF) By Maj. Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)—Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy, the Grand Old Man of Indian racing who had been going through a drought of Classic wins recently, has struck back tellingly, winning three Oaks run this year. His filly Maple Star (Mull of Kintyre – Sonic Symphony) today won the Indian Oaks, Gr.1, at Mahalakshmi in Mumbai, beating Song Dynasty, the Indian 1000 Guineas victress Vijays Pride, and Halle. The verdict was 1 1/4 l, 1/2 l and 1 l and the time of 2.32.43 was moderate. The winner went to the post at 14/1 while the runner-up could be backed at 25/1.
Maple Star is from the first crop of erstwhile Coolmore stallion Mull of Kintyre who is now standing at
Capricorn Stud Sohna Stud in India. A winner of six of her 11 starts, Maple Star was essaying the mile and a half trip for the first time as were several of her rivals. Her form was was decent enough but having failed to show up in two previous Gr.1 contests she ran in, the filly had lost many friends. Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy had two runners in the field and the Irish jockey Colm O’Donoghue was astride the Golconda Oaks winner Simply Stylish. Sreekanth kept Maple Star just behind the early pacemaker Songlark who cut poor fractions. Sreekanth then sent Maple Star on and she was never caught though others closed in in the later stages. It became a sprint in the second half and those coming from behind were never going to get there. It was a first Indian Classic victory for the jockey, Capricorn Stud, and trainer Karthik Ganapathy.
Sonic Symphony, the dam of the winner, is by the dual-Guineas winner Tirol who had also started his career at Coolmore. Tirol died at Capricorn Stud just a few months before Mull of Kintyre took up residence there. Mull of Kintyre had sired Araafa, a winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas, Gr.1, during his days at Coolmore so it was not inconceivable that he would get a good winner in India. Neither Sonic Symphony nor her dam Eastern View had produced a black-type horse before Maple Star. The next dam Clear Picture counted two Gr.3 victories in France in her three wins. The useful, speedy stallion Bay Express is from the immediate family. Maple Star’s sixth dam Inisheer is a half-sister to the ‘Blue Hen’ Horama; the Inisheer stirps, however, is rather more modest. Maple Star is certainly a gutsy filly for she has raced throughout her career with a deformed joint.
Mr. Berjis Desai of Capricorn Stud will be very satisfied with the result. As a part owner in that grand filly Jacqueline, he has tasted Classic success before this. Though, to breed a winner of a Classic has a much sweeter flavour.