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Gift of Grace proves formidable in Guineas

By: Frankel   December 21 , 2019

The Usha Stud Farm bred Gift of Grace who had twice missed the plum by narrow margins finally made it good in the most prestigious race, the Gr 1 1600 metres Stylecracker Indian 1000 Guineas, the first classic of the Mumbai racing season on Saturday. The Parvati Byramji trainee was ridden in fine fashion by David Egan to stave off the late flourish of another Bangalore challenger Cosmic Ray. The victory boosted first season stallion Speaking of Which who had a quick classic double after her another daughter Rosina had won the Gr 3 Calcutta Oaks an earlier at Kolkata.

The filly is jointly owned by breeder Ameeta Mehra along with D R Thacker and Mukul Sonawala. Ameeta Mehra who was elated by the success of the daughter of Speaking of Which who won two classics in the space of 75 minutes at different centres said: ``My father had always told me that you cannot assess the worth of a stallion in a hurry. Wait till it snows was what he used to tell me. I have been breeding horses to win classics and they are all rearing to go when the big occasion comes. I expect Speaking of Which progeny to excel over middle and long distances. Gift of Grace is a dip back horse and has big joints and since many trainers were reluctant to train her, I chose to keep and race myself because of her attitude in the paddock where she would not let anyone pass her. I gave the horse to Parvati who has really worked hard to get the result. We have raced her sparingly and I am happy with the outcome of our strategy.`` Incidentally, Gift of Grace is by a woman trainer and bred and owned by the only woman breeder in India.

With Well Connected not showing the spark of the summer season which had seen her win two classics including the Derby with sparkling efforts, the race had an open look about it. Karthik Ganapathy trained Juliette had enhanced her reputation by beating top-rated Sultan Suleiman and Alexei and was accorded the status of being the favourite. The formidable Bangalore challengers were all quoted at liberal odds with Well Connected being the second favourite ahead of Gift of Grace.

In a moderate pace set by Hunt For Gold, David Eagan brought Gift of Grace from the wide outside draw to take a handy second position ahead of Well Connected, Thailand, Juliette and the rest with Cosmic Ray bringing up the rear. Hunt of Gold couldn`t keep the lead for long in the stretch and soon Gift of Grace shot ahead chased by Well Connected and Juliette but the latter two were unable to change gears as it were, and the Parvati ward kicked on resolutely. Pradeep Chouhan brought Cosmic Ray with a powerful effort on the wide outside and the progeny of Burden of Proof showed good resolution but could produce that bit extra and fell short and Gift of Grace could easily see off the challenge. Juliette and Well Connected filled up the frame. Cosmic Ray hadn`t raced since her effort in the Mysore Derby.

The Imtiaz Ahmed trainee Iron Age who struck a purple patch at Pune maintained his imposing form winning the Gr 3 1000 metres Sir Homi Mehta Sprint Challenge, a terms race for three-year-olds and over. David Eagan had Iron Age lead from the start at a good clip and the Manjri Stud Farm produce comfortably lasted out the trip to win from late rallying Intense Stylist. The progeny of Strong Suit won in a new course record timing of 56.91 seconds to better the record of King Khalil. La Magnifique ran on to finish third.

The trainer and jockey combination of Noshir Cama and Pradeep Chauhan had a back-to-back double for owner Jaydev Mody. Tanjo had served notice of an early win when running an eye-catching second behind Mzilikazi. Backed to the exclusion of the rest to win the 1400 metres M N Nazir Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66, Tanjo took command of the race approaching the final furlong and sped clear to win the race easily from late-finishing Gentilesse. Run Forest Run who was up with the pace stayed on to save place money.

Lorraine maintained her imposing form by completing a hat-trick with an easy win in the 2000 metres Nawabzada Rashiduzzafar Khan Trophy, a race for horses rated 60 to 86. Lorraine took over the running from Sagittarius in the stretch and bounced clear to win with ease. Momentum was third.

Pesi Shroff trained Akina Speed Star brought off an upset in the 1800 metres Venus De Milo Trophy, a race for horses rated 4 to 30. King Solomon from the same stable was the preferred horse. Akina Speed Star led from the start and held off the strong challenge of Ex`s And Oh`s to land the spoils. King Solomon was a well-beaten third more than five lengths adrift.

Shiraz Sunderji trained Tenerife who had performed well below par in her last run and was reported to have bled, pulled off a resolute win in the 1200 metres Kejriwal Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46 to provide visiting jockey Nicky Mackay with his first win in India. Tenerife went on a start to finish mission and looked vulnerable when Mighty Warrior essayed a strong challenge in the final furlong. The front-runner however, produced that bit extra to pull away for a comfortable win. Transform ran from way behind to take the third position.

Vishal Gaikwad trained Noble Heir obliged expectations in the 1400 metres Uttam Singh Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46 thanks to a persevering ride by Colm Donoghue. Noble Heir graced the rear of the field for the most part of the journey and looked to have a difficult chance but the three-year-old covered enormous ground in the final furlong to measure Cellini close home. Ron saved place money.


Lorraine (P S Chouhan up) winner of the Nawabzada Rashiduzzafar Khan Trophy

Tanjo (P S Chouhan up) winner of the M N Nazir Trophy

Akina Speed Star (Leigh Roche up) winner of the Venus De Milo Trophy

Tenerife (Nicky Mackay up) winner of the Kejriwal Trophy

Iron Age (David Egan up) winner of the Sir Homi Mehta Sprint Challenge (Gr.3)

Gift Of Grace (David Egan up) winner of the Stylecracker Indian 1000 Guineas (Gr.1)

Noble Heir (Colm O Donoghue up) winner of the Uttam Singh Trophy

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