Monday, January 25, 2010

Jacqueline wins HDIL Indian Oaks (Gr 1)

It was a jaw-dropping performance.

The kind after which one has to pinch oneself to check that one is not dreaming.

The Pesi Shroff-trained four-year-old filly Jacqueline put in yet another sensational performance on Sunday at Mahalaxmi. In the hands of Englishman Richard Hughes, who was specially flown in for the ride, Jacqueline annihilated her nine rivals to win the grade 1, HDIL Indian Oaks, the stellar attraction of the ten-race card. The King Charlemagne - Talita Kumi filly thus created a unique record of winning all the three Classics run this season so far, as she had already won the 1000 & 2000 Guineas on this track last month.

One could watch the expression of helplessness and anxiety on the faces of Khushroo Dhunjibhoy and Bergis Minoo Desai, the duo who own Jacqueline along with Mr & Mrs Vijay Shirke, as both of them were still shut up inside the Members' stand lift as starter flagged off the ten runners for what is popularly known as the 'Ladies' Derby'. And by the time they got ejected from the elevator and rushed to their box, the field had already crossed the first furlong, and Jacqueline (Richard Hughes up) was trailing the field, a detached last, nearly a dozen lengths behind leader and stable-mate Alize on whom jockey Malcolm Kharadi did the role of a pacemaker to perfection.

Jacqui continued to grace the wrong end, absolutely unconcerned, as if she were out for a walk in the park rather than racing as a piping hot favourite in a grade 1 race, and even Richard Hughes gave no hint of what lay in store for the hapless rivals who were already off the bridle and flapping their wings, sensing the one big chance of pulling off a stunning upset. The most serious bid came from another Pesi Shroff trainee, Astral Flash with CD Hayes up, who overpowered all to open a handsome lead midway in the homestretch. However, Richard Hughes, still keeping Jacqui on a tight rein, maneuvered his way through the field and practically toyed with Astral Flash in the final furlong to glide away for a two-length victory.

"Unbelievable! Simply unbelievable!!," an overjoyed and shocked Dhunjibhoy kept muttering to himself after the race.

Vijay Shirke, in whose colours Jacqueline ran, echoed similar sentiments when asked by interviewer Mahendra Mallya what crossed his mind when she was still taking things easy with just over a furlong to go. "I almost had a heart attack," he said.


  1. One has to watch the video clippings again and again to relish the mesmerising turn of foot unleashed by JAC demolishing the opposition with scant respect. Amazing Filly, not only brought abroad, but perhaps from a different planet.
    Congratulations for all Jac's connections.

  2. Sir,
    I am a dedicated FINOO fan but am out of India so I cannnot get messages on my mobile. However my foreign mobile no is 00-977-9808043481. Else you can send mail or send me a no I can call.


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