The Gr 1 Bangalore Turf Club Sprinters Cup has often been the graveyard of the favourites but this year, one can say with confidence that there would be no deviation to the script. The race, which is one of the feature event of Saturday`s races, appears to be at the mercy of Darius Byramji trained Multifaceted and Imtiaz Sait schooled Iron Age. Both come to this race on the back of an amazing winning streak.
Multifaceted slaughtered a formidable field in his last outing at Bangalore with a start to finish dash. He won the race on the bridle. One has not seen such exceptional performance on the Bangalore race track which poses its own problems. If the horse is free of any hiccup, it is difficult to see anyone toppling the five-year-old son of Multidimensional.
Iron Age is no doubt a speedy customer but his reputation has been built by beating almost an identical opposition on each of the occasions. He will face an acid test as it will not be easy to hit the front as there are many speedy customers in the fray and he will have to battle it out with them if his jockey were to prefer to ride him aggressively in front. Interestingly, Iron Age found it hard to win over six furlongs in the early part of his career though, since the last Pune season, he has been spectacular even over six furlongs. He is a worthy challenger to Multifaceted.
Quite often the winners of Dr S C Jain Sprinters Cup have gone on to win the Sprinters Cup as well. Iron Age would attempt to emulate the likes of Oasis Star. Iron Age will surely go to the post possibly as a favourite to maintain his amazing winning streak. Among the others in the fray, Mauritania and Knotty Ash should provide the needed spice to the race.
The Gr 1 Dr M A M Ramaswamy Stayers Cup which also features Saturday`s races has an open look about it. On sheer consistency of performance, Cosmos appears to have an edge. The five-year-old gelding has been on an outstanding winning streak and his only loss in the last six outings came over a mile where she finished a close third in a tight finish. Cosmos beat My Opinion by four lengths last fortnight at Chennai in the Stayers Trial Strakes. The latter flanked the form by pulling off a thrilling win in the South India St Leger.
Cosmos has run thus far raced only seven times and won five of them. He was second on one occasion over seven furlongs and third over a mile. He has tackled the longer distance races in tremendous fashion. Cosmos is best on form among the horses in the fray.
Sulaiman Attaollahi trained Ambrosio has won back to back races over staying trips in impressive fashion. On one occasion when he raced over a shorter trip of seven furlongs during this season at Bangalore, he finished three lengths behind War Hammer. That performance perhaps has tempted Suraj Narredu to opt for Ambrosio in preference to Cosmos as he had the option of deciding which of the two horses he would want to ride. In the form that he is in, Ambrosio, despite being rated lower than the others, is expected to put up a strong performance.
Then there is Pesi Shroff trained Sacred Roman who is the winner of this race last year. Sacred Roman beat Raees in last year`s edition of the race and since then he has won on only one occasion, again beating Raees. The current form is not encouraging though one cannot trifle with Sacred Roman who is already a proven customer.
Arjun Mangalorkar trained Point To Prove is another established performer over longer trips. Point To Prove recorded an easy win over 2800 metres race last fortnight at Kolkata in the Gr 3 Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
Trainer Ganapathy has opted to run Southern Ruler in the Stayers Cup. Southern Ruler won the Mysore Derby last October in a smashing manner. He was out of depth against the more formidable contenders that he faced in the Indian Derby. Southern Ruler did not get a smooth run in the Indian Derby and he is expected to fare better here. The Stayers Cup has more often than note won by older horses though Sacred Roman broke that trend last year. Golconda Derby winner Royal Crystal is another who is sure to make the race an exciting one.
The Gr 1 Maj P K Mehra Memorial Super Mile is another highlight of the Invitation Cup weekend which is scheduled for Sunday. The race has a competitive look about it with no runner looking a cut above the rest. Calcutta Derby winner Trafalgar has an excellent chance of winning. Cosmic Ray is another top contestant. Trafalgar has been working well and his trainer James has preferred not to waste him in the Invitation Cup as he stands a greater chance to win in this company. Trafalgar had run about three lengths behind War Hammer in one of his outings during the summer season over seven furlongs. Subsequently, he ran more than eight lengths behind War Hammer in the Colts Championship Stakes where he reportedly came back with an injury. In the Indian Derby, he was knocked out from contention due to huge field which resulted in most horses running into rough weather. Considering the fact that he should be at home over the mile-long trip, he has a great chance of landing the coveted trophy.
Sulaiman Attaollahi trained Cosmic Ray had won the Mysore 1000 Guineas in taking style with a start to finish mission in a record timing. On two occasions, she came close to winning but appeared to have choked under pressure. She ran a close second to Gift of Grace in the Indian 1000 Guineas and then again was second best against Flying Visit over a mile after shaping to collar her opponent but faltering in the end. The course familiarity could help Cosmic Ray to bounce back to winning ways.
Darius Byramji trained Prevalent Force has been an outstanding performer. Prevalent Force stands tall for the sheer quality of his performances. He should be a force to reckon with. Suraj Narredu will be astride the champion six-year-old.
Indian 1000 Guineas winner Gift of Grace is another runner who runs with great hope. Jockey Sandesh will come in place of David Egan who rode the filly in her classic win. Vijay Singham who won the Golconda 2000 Guineas showed out in a mock race the other day at Hyderabad. With David Egan to guide his fortunes, there is a great deal of expectation from this son of Leitir Mor.