A new star was seen on the Indian Derby horizon when the horse literally named as one swept aside the challenge of favourite Zuccarelli to win the Gr 1 Arion Horse Company Indian 2000 Guineas, the second classic of the season, on Tuesday. Rajesh Narredu trained A Star Is Born was ridden in exemplary fashion by jockey Suraj Narredu to guide the progeny of new stallion Roderic O`Connor to get the better of Pune Derby winner Zuccarelli to herald his arrival as a horse of serious merit for the next month`s Indian Derby.
Pesi Shroff trained Zuccarelli was widely expected to win the Guineas as he had already accounted for A Star Is Born and the other principal challenger in the fray Stockbridge. However, there was many who believed that the relatively inexperienced A Star Is Born who had run for the first time at Pune on which most horses need the benefit of a race run would be able to reverse the verdict on his conqueror. A Star Is Born too had been showing out in the workouts and those who believed that an upset was in the realms of a possibility stood to benefit. The striking feature of A Star Is Born`s win was the fact that his winning style suggested that he would be more at home even over the longer trips and the fact that his dam was a winner of a Derby winner over a mile and a half trip should boost his prospects.
The principal contenders may not have been able to take an ideal position as the early skirmishes at the start meant that both Zuccarelli and A Star Is Born were shuffled to the back of the pack. The designated pacemaker Souza set the pace with Darwin in the case, with the others spaced out behind. Souza was displaced in the front in the stretch by Darwin who held the lead till approaching the final furlong. Pradeep Chouhan brought Zuccarelli with a smooth run down the final furlong to assume command even as Suraj Narredu on A Star Is Born began the chase. The latter produced a powerful gallop and managed to cover the leeway swiftly and managed to overhaul the front-runner in the closing strides of the race to win by a margin of a neck. Presidential showed good improvement when occupying the third position.
With the two Guineas having been run, the two Guineas winners appear to be better than the rest unless there is a dramatic performer waiting in the wings. Right now, Pesi Shroff trained Miracle who hasn`t done anything wrong, having remained unbeaten, on varied tracks stands head and shoulders above the rest. But there is no denying the fact that given the relative inexperience of A Star Is Born and the fact that the mile and a half trip could suit him fine, a strong challenger indeed has emerged to the wonder filly. Suraj Narredu said that he was pretty confident of reversing the verdict on Zuccarelli as the horse had given him a good feeling after the final workout. ``A Star Is Born has exciting possibilities,`` said Suraj.
Imtiaz Sait trained Endeavour recorded an encore in the 1000 metres M N Nazir Trophy, a race for horses rated 40 to 66. Jockey Kritish Bhagat rode a confident race, waiting with the horse till midway through the straight before alerting the fancied runner to the task. Endeavour finished with a big effort and got the better of Cellini on the post. Spring Grove showed some improvement when staving off the long time leader Sky Fall to get the third slot.
Pesi Shroff trained Botero proved too good for the field in the 2000 metres Faiz Jasdanwalla Trophy, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. Pradeep Chouhan took Botero on a start to finish mission and enjoyed an uncontested lead all through the race. Sky Storm was the best of the beaten brigade taking second place ahead of Circle of Love. Last start winner Treasure Gold performed poorly, his jockey Jodha also keeping his horse so far behind that he was without hope all the way in the race.
Columbian from the stables of Pesi Shroff who was running after a longish break of 142 days swamped the field hardly raising a sweat in the 1200 metres Phoenix Tiger Plate, a race for horses rated 20 to 46. There was a flood of money on Fuhrer but the favourite who led till the final furlong was easily overhauled by Columbian who cruised past the front-runner with the jockey hardly having to move a muscle. Fuhrer just about held off Juiced to keep the second position.
Malesh Narredu trained Giant Star was left to tackle two tired horses in the 1800 metres Nawabzada Rashiduzzafar Khan Trophy, a race for horses rated 60 to 86. In the hands of jockey Neeraj Rawal, Giant Star won the race without a fight from his two opponents, winning by a distance. Successor was second about eight plus lengths ahead of the third placed Magistero.
Favourite Windy City went so fast in front that inevitably she faltered close to home and was caught up with by long shot Gusty Girl in the 1000 metres Castlebridge Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. Windy City looked the likely winner as she had a good break over the rest going into the final furlong but the front-runner had nothing much in the tank when Gusty Girl came charging home from way behind. Turmeric Tower ran on from behind to take the third position.
Dallas Todywalla who led in Gutsy Girl had a double for the day as in the last race his well-backed Chancellor had no problem in leaving the field stranded to claim the 1400 metres Machiavellianism Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category. She Is On Fire and Twelfth Earl occupied the next two slots. Black Cherry who was in the betting lost all her chances with a lethargic beginning.