Mumbai will be the focus of the entire horse racing fraternity in India on 22nd December 2019. For this Sunday, the Mahalaxmi Race Course will host one of the biggest races in the Indian calendar – the Indian 2000 Guineas. For this weekend preview, we have no choice but to focus on the second Indian Classic of the year. Alongside, we will also keep our eyes on a Class 1 race scheduled for the day.
Here are our top picks for the biggest horse racing weekend this month:
The Ranjith V Bhat Memorial Gold Trophy
With a 3:30 PM starting schedule, this Class 1 race will be the fourth event of the day at the Mahalaxmi racecourse. This one is a mile long (1600m) race open to horses rated above 80. The field in this race is the strongest on Sunday, with six seasoned campaigners in the running for a piece of the INR 600,000 stake. Most of them are geldings and stallions, with a solitary filly also in the mix.
These are the big guns with a decent chance of winning this race:
Frivolous – The 6-year-old bay stallion is the progeny of Misremembered (USA) and dam Christmas Fever (USA). Though he just has 3 wins from 21 runs, this horse is always in contention, with 16 races ending in the top four. His recent record is also pretty consistent – 11-2-3-3-2. Frivolous is managed by trainer M Narredu and will be ridden by jockey PS Chouhan on Sunday.
Roberta – This bay filly needs no introduction to anybody who has been closely following the Indian racing season in the last 2 years. The 4-year-old daughter of Multidimensional (IRE) is an excellent runner, with 3 wins out of 11 runs, with another 6 ending in the top four. She gets top billing in this race with a rating of 89 and a recent record of 4-2-4-2-5. Trained by P Shroff, she will have jockey Leigh Roche in the saddle for this one.
Square Moon – The old campaigner is an 8-year-old stallion sired by Sedgefield (USA). Trained by AS Jodha, he has chalked up 7 wins out of 41 runs, with another 22 races ending in the top four. He continues to move well in recent track work and could prove to be handful on Sunday. Nirmal Jodha will have his reins.
It is Roberta who gets our nod as the favorite, ahead of Frivolous, if the bookmakers start listing at 5/1 or longer odds. For a long shot, Square Moon seems like a good choice.
The Villoo Poonawalla Indian 2000 Guineas
The main event of the weekend is the famous Indian classic for 3-year-olds. The mile-long race is one of the most prestigious trophies in Indian horse racing history. Ten hopefuls have been signed up for this 4:30 PM race. All of them are colts or geldings, with no filly insight. The winners will take home a total stake of INR 5,255,250.
These are the most promising horses for this race:
Knight Templar – The bay colt is the son of Multidimensional (IRE) and Grand Madame. With a 70 rating, he is one of the top contenders in this race. Trained by the vastly experienced S Padmanabhan, he comes into this race with an excellent record of 2-1-3-1 in his four races so far. David Allan will be his jockey in the 2000 Guineas.
Royal Crystal – Despite a solitary win from 11 starts and a recent record of 3-8-2-2-3, this bay colt will start the race as the top-rated horse at 80. The son of Western Aristocrat (USA) and Sparkling Crystal comes from the stables of trainer Arjun Mangalorkar. Suraj Narredu has been roped in to ride him on Sunday.
Trouvaille – The winner of this year’s Breeder’s Juvenile Colts’ Championship (Gr 3) is the son of Surfrider (IRE). He is expected to be the tote favorite in a race that has been won by the favorites 8 times in the last 10 years. With a recent record of 2-1-5-2-1, he seems to be peaking at the right time. With Nicky Mackay in the saddle, trainer SK Sunderji will be hoping for a win on Sunday.
We think that Trouvaille is the best out of the lot. He is worth a shot if the odds makers start listing at 5/1 or longer odds. Knight Templar is also worth a shout out. Royal Crystal is our number three pick in the Indian 2000 Guineas.
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