By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)
(Ed. note: link to video of race is below. India is a Part II country and grades of races are listed for informational purposes only. All Indian graded races, however, qualify as Listed black type internationally.)
Quasar (ch c 2011 Seeking The Dia – Belle Jour, by Smarty Jones) came home a comfortable four-length winner from the filly Tiger Tops (Tiger Hill – Cockayne, by Sadler’s Wells) in the FCA Jai Vijay Fiat Indian St. Leger, Gr.1, on Sunday. The race was the final Classic of the Indian racing year. Trained by the former jockey Malesh Narredu, Quasar hit the wire in 2:53.97 for 2800 m. after the off and thus established a new race, track, and national record. He was ridden by the trainer’s son Yash Narredu. Bred at the Hazara Stud, Quasar won his first race on his fourth start on March 16, 2014.
Since then, he has won 11 of his 13 starts. His two defeats during that period have an explanation. The first came in the McDowell Signature Indian Derby, Gr.1, at Mumbai. Having won the Derbys at Calcutta and Hyderabad, it was the colt’s third race over 2400 m. in the space of three weeks with arduous travel thrown in. He finished third behind Be Safe and Tiger Tops. He was next beaten in the Governor’s Cup, Gr.3, at Bangalore in August when he came in bleeding having broken a blood vessel. Belle Jour’s granddam is the Hall of Famer Sky Beauty while the next dam is a half-sister to the flying Dayjur. After dropping Quasar, Belle Jour has not had a foal for three years. She was covered by Net Whizz and Saamid in 2014.
Today’s win meant that Malesh Narredu saddled the winners of four of the five Classics. Godspeed had won the Indian 1000 Guineas, Gr.1, earlier while Be Safe bagged the Indian 2000 Guinea, Gr.1,-Indian Derby, Gr.1, double. Be Safe, who had a vast fan support, was beaten by Quasar in the Indian Turf Invitation Cup, Gr.1, and twice more in the summer at Bangalore. He has undergone a surgery recently and his coming back to racing is uncertain.
A couple of hours before the St. Leger was run in Pune, Steinbeck, the last living son of Mr. Prospector in India, breathed his last at Usha Stud on the outskirts on Delhi. The 26 year-old Steinbeck (Mr. Prospector – Femme Elite) spent his days in the shadow of his great barnmate Razeen (by Northern Dancer). He had been retired from covering duties since 2012. Steinbeck certainly lent a useful helping hand to Razeen and had his moments in the limelight. Running Flame (Indian Turf Invitation Cup, Gr.1), Venus Arising (Indian Oaks, Gr.1), Star of Windsor (Bangalore Derby, Gr.1) and Forest Treasure (Deccan Derby, Gr.1) are among his notable ‘gets’. He was a good broodmare sire, too. Autonomy (Indian Turf Invitation Cup, Gr.1) was out of a Steinbeck mare as was the very popular filly Set Alight, who was unbeaten in her first ten starts.
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