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.)
Two dark bay sons of the Manjri Stud stallion Phoenix Tower battled at the business end of the Deltin Casinos Indian 2000 Guineas, Gr 1 at Mahalaxmi in Mumbai, and the victory went to the favorite Phoenix Tiger (out of Senure’s daughter Tigresse Noir), who held his former paddockmate Costa del Sol (from the imported Singspiel mare Shining Glory) by half a length. Usha Stud had the 1-2 last Sunday but through different stallions; Manjri Stud went one better today (Dec. 20) with Phoenix Tower’s 1-2.
Perfectionist led early and was soon joined by Rigoletto and Bold Command with the favorite just behind and Costa del Sol at the head of the mid-bunch. They entered the straight in more or less the same order and as Phoenix Tiger moved up with Costa del Sol in pursuit, the front runners began to drop away. The winner struck the front with 200 meters to go and Costa del Sol, coming off the rails, threw down the gauntlet in the middle. The two sons of Phoenix Tower had the finish all to themselves and drew away from the rest with Perfectionist and Bold Command plugging on to finish third and fourth. Half a length, five and a half lengths and half a length was the verdict and the time of 1.34.28 was the second fastest for the 1600-meter race.
Phoenix Tiger is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Shapoor Mistry, Mrs. Aban Chothia, and M/s. Munchi Shroff and Dallas Todywalla. The last named also saddled the colt and in the process won his second “2000,” the first one having come 15 years ago through Simply Noble. The Mistrys have owned the Manjri Stud for about 30 years now and they race a lot with their homebreds. Four years ago, Pronto Pronto won this race in the same colors, running in the name of Mr. Shapoor Mistry’s father. Manjri Stud is one of the oldest nurseries in India and on the threshold of a landmark 100th Classic win, which would also include the “regional” Classics. Phoenix Tiger was ridden by the Irish jockey Colm O’Donoghue, who has been retained by the Mistrys. For the jockey, too, it was his second win in the race, having scored on Bourbon King in 2007.
The sire Phoenix Tower was born in the U.S. but raced in England in the colors of Prince Khalid Abdulla. He was an inmate — and a stablemate of Multidimensional — in the late Sir Henry Cecil’s Warren Place yard at Newmarket. He won four races and placed second an equal number of times from just eights starts in three years of racing, his seconds all coming in Gr.1 contests. A son of Chester House, Phoenix Tower is inbred 2×4 to Mr. Prospector. He and Multidimensional started their stud careers in the same year in India and while the Usha Stud stalwart has stolen a bit of a march, Phoenix Tower’s third crop has been outstanding. The dam of Phoenix Tiger traces to Verdure. Her third dam Carmelita Gibbs won the Dogwood Stakes and Regret Stakes in the U.S. and placed 3rd in the Kentucky Oaks, Gr.2 won by Optimistic Lass. Phoenix Tiger is Tigresse Noir’s second foal. It is a coincidence that his elder full-sister Phoenix Cat also ran earlier in the day and ran second.
Click here to view video.