India Weekend Race Preview – 22nd September, 2019

By Dhanu Delphi on September 21, 2019

Pune continues to enthrall us with high-quality racing action as we head into the last week of September. And this weekend is shaping up to be a special treat for punters, with some high stakes contests on the cards. The biggest of these falls on Sunday when the famous Indian St Leger will be hosted at the Pune Racecourse.

Along with that historic contest, we will also take a close look at an interesting maiden race aimed at promising three-year-olds. Without further ado, here are the two best races for the weekend at Pune, along with our top three horses for each:

1. The Nana Raghunath Trophy

The fourth race on Sunday, this is scheduled for a 3:30 PM start. This is a maiden race exclusively for three-year-old horses. With a distance of 1400m, it is not a short sprint. The race card shows seven horses in the running for this one, mostly fillies and geldings. The race has a total prize purse of around INR 600,000, or GBP 6757.

These three horses look the brightest prospects worth a punt in this race:

Rainbow Trout – This bay filly was sired by the legendary Leitir Mor (IRE) off dam Rainbow Queen (GB). Bred at the Poonawalla Stud, Rainbow Trout is currently stabled under the tutelage of trainer Dallas Todywalla. She already has a second-place finish from her first-ever race in August. A Sandesh will hold her reins on Sunday.

Tasman – A son of Arazan (IRE), this bay gelding was bred at Poonawalla Stud. Trained by Sanjay Khosle, he has finished one race so far, in fourth place. S J Sunil is the jockey who will ride this gelding in the Raghunath trophy on Sunday.

Akina Speed Star – The result of a union between Dean’s Kitten (USA) and Cockayne (IRE), this is a chestnut filly running her first race. Her trainer is P Shroff. Neeraj Rawal will be in the saddle for this upcoming race.

Our Picks – Rainbow Trout gets our vote if the bookmakers begin listing at 5/1, ahead of Tasman. For a long-shot bet, Akina Speed Star looks like a solid choice.

2. The Indian St. Leger

This is the last of the five Indian Classics of the year, and also the longest at 2800m. Originally called the Governor General’s Cup in pre-Independence India, its name was changed after 1947. With the four other Classics all won by different horses in 2019, there is no chance of a triple crown this time around.

As usual, the field for this race is quite small with just four horses in the running for the title. Two of them have already won a Classic this year. With INR 39,15,789 up for grabs (approximately 44,000 pounds), there is a lot at stake in this race.

Out of those four horses, these three look the strongest:

Bushtops – This four-year-old grey gelding is certain to be a favorite among the bookies due to his stunning form. The son of Archipenko (USA) and Etroubles (FR), he has won 4 out of his last five outings, including three on the trot. Trained by MK Jadhav, he will have NS Parmar as his jockey in the St Leger.

Adjudicate – A daughter of Multidimensional (IRE), this bay filly has already won two Grade-1 events this year, the Calcutta Derby and the Indian Turf Invitation at Hyderabad. Her recent record is also quite good – 1-1-3-2-2. Coming from the stables of trainer JE Mckeown, she will have jockey A Sandesh in the saddle on Sunday.

Roberta – Another filly sired by the great Multidimensional, Roberta is the winner of the 2019 Indian Oaks. She also happens to be the only one of the four with any experience racing 2800m distances. Trainer P Shroff has kept her away from the race track this season, with many practice sessions to keep her fresh for this race. P Trevor will be her jockey for this one.

Our Picks – All three horses are evenly matched for this race, with Roberta getting our nod due to her experience at this distance if the oddsmakers start listing at 5/1. Bushtops is the most likely to give her a challenge, with Adjudicate a good choice for number three.

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