Darius Byramji trained Prevalent Force who carried the weight of expectations in last Sunday`s Indian Derby but failed to deliver gets a good opportunity to redeem himself when he runs in the Gr 1 Catalyst Properties Bangalore Derby, the star event of the season to be run on Sunday. The event is perhaps held for the first time in the month of February in its 43rd year.
The winter season started only in the month of January as the Club and State Government were involved in a standoff and the license to conduct its activities was obtained only in the month of January and hence all the classics were re-scheduled.
The re-scheduling of the Derby has helped several horses which otherwise would not have been in the line-up to figure in the race. For one, the winner of Hyderabad Derby Mahateji gets an opportunity to try for a Derby double as a final entry. In normal circumstances, the time gap between Bangalore Winter Derby and Hyderabad Golconda Derby would hardly have been a few days. The Bangalore Derby itself attracted a smaller field because of several horses being targeted for the Calcutta and Indian Derby. Now most runners, barring those who finished among the first three in the Indian Derby are pitched in the fray.
Prevalent Force was off-colour in the Indian Derby. He travelled to Mumbai rather late and hardly had any time to acclimatize to the conditions. His below par effort could be partly attributed to this as also the fact that he had too much ground to cover on the front-runners. The spark was also missing. Though he will be running two gruelling races in one week`s gap, the fact that he stands tall by his accomplishments give him an edge. Srinath will once be guiding his fortunes and this progeny of Multidimensional has everything going for him. He has reportedly travelled fine without any issues and has maintained his condition. Prevalent Force will surely run as a favourite though the price may be higher than normal because of the short time gap between two Derbys that he is made to run.
If you leave out Prevalent Force, the race will be a contest among equals. Mahateji won the Golconda Derby impressively. On that occasion, Romantic Star was finishing on well after being boxed in at a crucial stage of the race due to crowding of horses at the final bend. Despite coming the widest and having immense ground to cover, the filly finished less than two lengths of Mahateji. Since she is a late maturing type, if she reverses the verdict on Mahateji, it won`t` be a surprise. Since David Allan is retained to ride for the Poonawallas, Romantic Star will have a new pilot in Zervan. Trainer Padmanabhan believes that if things fall in place and the filly runs to potential, she has an excellent chance of causing an upset. After all, Romantic Star was only half a length behind Manifold in the Fillies Championship Stakes in Summer and the fact that Manifold has beaten Prevalent Force puts things in perspective if the daughter of Multidimensional is on her best form, he added.
Warren Singh trained Nanhipari was a brilliant second behind Mahateji in the Golconda Oaks. Warren Singh believes that his ward is an out and out stayer and if the race is a true run one, his filly has a good chance because if the race becomes purely a test of stamina, his ward has that in plenty, he says.
Trainer Srinivas Reddy who has ventured out of his comfort zone of Hyderabad and entered Mahateji as a final entry is hoping that his ward would live up to expectations and record yet another win. Mahateji has tackled the mile and half trip effectively and has produced a scintillating burst of speed from way off the pace. She has as good a chance of winning as any if Prevalent Force flops.
Arjun Mangalorkar trained Kambaku was widely expectedly to have a strong say in the Golconda Derby but unfortunately for the trainer, the saddle shifted out soon after the jump out. The horse bolted to the front and expended his energy and as such, his run at Hyderabad needs to be discounted. The trainer is confident that Kambaku will be a force to reckon with in the Bangalore Derby.
Pesi Shroff has brought Zenon to race in the Derby. The well-bred colt should have no issues about getting the mile and half trip. He was running in the Indian Derby after a longish break and as such, he may not have had the desired fitness. Zenon ran a forward race in the Derby and stole a march in the straight after overtaking pace-setter Daffodils but could not sustain his foray in front and eventually weakened to finish seventh. If Zenon shows vast improvement from that effort, he can stir things up.
David Allan finds himself on Selfie Star who ran third in the Indian Oaks. The progeny of Excellent Art may not cut much ice especially since she has stamina limitations. Though Kangra won the Bangalore Oaks in style, in a true run race, she may find tackling the Derby trip difficult especially since she is not going to enjoy the uncontested lead that she got in her last classic win.
The stake money on offer is the highest in the history of this race. A big field of 15 runners will be in the fray. If a horse other than the ones mentioned above causes an upset, it must be attributed to the glorious uncertainty of the sport. The Catalyst Properties have agreed to sponsor this race for the next two years as well.