UNRAVELLING THE CLASSIC CONUNDRUM – A PREVIEW OF THE MAHARAJA JIWAJIRAOSCINDIA TROPHY – GRADE 2 -
-By Cyrus Naterwalla
This is one of the Premier Graded Races for older horses run over distance of 1800M and has been in force since the inaugural running in 1962 when it was named H. H. Maharaja Jiwajirao Scindia Memorial Gold Cup. The inaugural winner of this race was Rushikesh owned by the Raja and Rani of Kurundwad (Jnr) trained by Dady Adenwalla and ridden by Purtu Singh. The net stakes that day were Rs.20,505while this year’s winner will carry off a purse of Rs.9 lakhs.
The Maharaja was a great lover of horses and a keen sportsman. He actively encouraged horse racing and was a leading owner in Western India. He was a pioneer of Indian Racing for much of his life. For his lifelong commitment towards Indian Racing the RWITC, after his demise, instituted the H. H. Maharaja Jiwajirao Scindia Gold Cup. The brilliant Royal Tern had the unique distinction of winning this race 3 years in succession - 1979, 1980 and 1981 and uniquely in the first two years, he faced just a solitary rival.
In 1987, the race was upgraded to Group 3 Status and was won by Commander in Chief trained by Rashid Byramji and ridden by the legendary Vasant Shinde.
Since the year 2014, it has been upgraded to Grade 2 status. Several top performers have won this race such as Clinton, Onassis and Amazing Grace. Last year the race fell to the mighty Alaindair who sadly does not return to defend his crown.
This year’s renewal promises to be a competitive affair between the following :-
TEMERITY (Intense Focus xNarmina)
Trainer :-Pesi Shroff
Weight :- 59 kg.
Draw :- 4
Rating :- 120
CAREER STARTS :- 12
WINS :- 8
Last year’s Oaks and Invitation Cup heroine, she returned better than ever after a disappointing show in the Indian St. Leger where she ran well below par and was found to be in season, when getting up in the dying strides to beat two of today’s rivals, B Fifty Two and Aster Rose by a nostril. She took her time to get going as B Fifty Two was cleverly ridden from the front that day but she was motoring in the final 100 yards and the extra furlong will quite clearly be to her advantage. Her trackwork since the run has been excellent which means that she has maintained her form and fitness and on the same Terms she looks hard to beat
B FIFTY TWO (Phoenix Tower x Baileys Online)
Weight :- 53.5 kg.
Jockey :- P. Trevor
Draw :- 7
Rating :- 109
CAREER STARTS :-27
WINS :- 7
The 5 year old has developed into a consistent Group Race performer, winning 2 graded races last season and is particularly effective when controlling the gallop from the front. He looked to have the field stretched entering the final furlong in the A.C. Ardeshir Trophy last time out and just failed to hold off the tenacious Temerity, going down by the shortest of margins. He too appears to have maintained his form and fitness judging from his excellent trackwork and P. Trevor, who knows him really well is back in the saddle which could give him an added edge. He will not be troubled by the additional 200M and with no confirmed front runner in the field, he may well be able to control the gallop from the front unless Whomakestherules contests for the lead. He looks to have a strong chance again although Temerity may have slightly more scope for improvement
ASTER ROSE (Multidimensional x Lei)
Trainer :- Arjun Mangalorkar
Weight :- 54 kg.
Jockey :-Dashrath Singh
Draw :- 2
Rating :- 107
CAREER STARTS :-17
WINS :- 6
Lion hearted filly who was not at her best in her Classic year but has developed into a top middle distance 4 year old and struck a purple patch in Pune, winning 2 good Group contests including beating the colts in the RWITC Ltd Gold Cup (Group 2). She just looked a bit flat footed over the mile last time out but was seen staying on strongly towards the close and she is another who will be benefitted by the additional furlong. Dashrath Singh, who rode her in Pune is back to replace SurajNarredu in the saddle, her last couple of workouts have been outstanding and receiving 5 kilos from Temerity, she looks the one who could give her the most to do
WHOMAKESTHERULES (Multidimensional x Pricewise)
Weight :- 54.5 kg.
Draw :- 1
Rating :- 106
CAREER STARTS :- 12
WINS :- 5
Winner of the Kolkotta Monsoon Derby and the Colts Trial Stakes beating Accolade he broke down before the Kolkotta Derby and sadly missed the rest of his Classic Season. He made his reappearance only in June where he finished 4th behind Aster Rose in the Chief Justice’s Cup over 1800M before finishing a good close 2nd to Captain Morgan in the Maharaja’s Cup over 2200M. He then travelled to Pune and finished 3rd in the Indian St. Leger before ending runner up to Salazaar in the Hyderabad equivalent. The drop back to this trip is likely to suit him, he too is working well and could be the dark horse who could throw a spanner in the works here
CONCLUSION :-An extremely close and thrilling contest in on the cards and again there is likely to be a photo finish result. Temerity is selected to win narrowly from Aster Rose and Whomakestherules in that order with B Fifty Two also right there alongside them
(Disclaimer : Views are entirely that of the correspondent only and RWITC takes no responsibility for the same)