[Link to video of Indian 1000 Guineas at end of post.]
Godspeed (Multidimensional – Almandine), despite wandering about a bit in the closing stages as she is wont to, held on determinedly by a neck to deny the odds-on favourite Maisha (Footstepsinthesand – My Pension) a victory in the New Hope Indian 1000 Guineas, Gr.1 today at the Mahalakshmi racecourse in Mumbai. Almost six lengths behind the battling pair came Laurita (Ghostzapper – Champagne Cocktail), another imported ‘in utero’ filly like Maisha, who was just half a length ahead of Alexandra Mills (Ace – Caractere). The clock stopped at 1 min 35.52 for the mile race. Only one Indian 1000 Guineas has been run in a faster time in its long history of 73 years. That was just last year when Mariinsky, carrying the same colours as Maisha today, won the race comfortably.
Drawn 1, the usually front-running Godspeed this time opted to occupy a box seat on the rails, just behind the early pace. Maisha was drawn 16 of 17 runners but she was quickly into her stride and moved centre-field easily. Entering the last quarter, Suraj Narredu bustled Godspeed on the inside while Zervan cruised up on Maisha. They passed Laurita on either side and went after the long-time leader Polydences who fell away tamely. Narredu’s enterprise meant that Godspeed had a length’s break over Maisha. That proved to be decisive for Godspeed edged left away from the running rail and Maisha finished on well. However, Narredu out-rode Zervan in the final run-in.
Jockeys Mallesh Narredu and Pesi Shroff crossed swords many a time at Mahalakshmi during their riding days. Shroff hung up his boots ten years ago while Narredu followed suit a few years later. This year, Narredu has already won the Calcutta 2000 Guineas, Gr.2, with Quasar; Godspeed gave him his first Indian Classic as a trainer and he saddles the red-hot Be Safe on Sunday in the Indian 2000 Guineas, Gr.1. Shroff was looking to win his fifth Indian 1000 Guineas as a trainer with Maisha but had to settle for lesser honours. It was also the first Indian 1000 Guineas for the jockey Suraj Narredu, the trainer’s nephew, the owners Dr. Ram Shroff and Mr. Sameer Tapia and sire Multidimensional but 13th for the Usha Stud. Danehill’s son Multidimensional is, of course, the reigning Champion Sire in India. He has got off the blocks well this year, too, for his daughter Supreme Fairy had won the Deccan Bookmakers’ Golconda 1000 Guineas, Gr.2 earlier while his son Bold Majesty had bagged the Bangalore 2000 Guineas. Godspeed, Supreme Fairy and Bold Majesty are all out of daughters of Razeen as are several other good winners by Multidimensional.
Just after the day’s racing, Dr. Ram Shroff, in whose colours Godspeed ran, gave the announcement that he had retained his seat in the Managing Committee of the Royal Western India Turf Club, Ltd. whose annual election was hotly contested on Tuesday.
When the late Maj P.K. Mehra established the Usha Stud on the outskirts of Delhi in 1973, the first batch of mares that he imported included a grey Sea Hawk II (by Herbager) mare called C Major who is the fifth dam of Godspeed. Counting regional Classics also, Godspeed is the seventh Classic winner, all bred at Usha Stud, to descend from C Major. C Major traces to the great Sceptre through her daughter Maid of the Mist.
Click here to see the video.
[India is a Part 2 country for IFHA Grades, and her Graded races are listed here for informational purposes.The primary Indian Classics are the 1000 and 2000 Guineas, Derby, and Oaks contested at Mahalakshmi racecourse in Mumbai and the St. Leger at Pune in September.]