Monday, February 08, 2010

Jacqueline wins Indian Derby

Queen filly Jacqueline wrote a glorious chapter for herself and her connections when she created a world record yesterday at the Mahalaxmi racetrack. She made a clean sweep of the Indian Classics by winning the grade 1, McDowell Signature Indian Derby, the fourth and final Classic of the Mumbai campaign.

She also broke the jinx faced by nine earlier Derby favoruites, none of whom could win the Indian Derby between 2001 & 2009.

Jacqueline was tested for the first time this season, and she passed the test with flying colours. The Bangalore challenger Becket, trained by S Padmanabhan and owned by Mumbai horse owner Haresh Mehta, put in an extra-ordinary performance despite running on the Mahalaxmi racetrack for the first time, and looked like stealing the race at the distance post.

Khushroo Dhunjibhoy, Jacqueline's part owner, was frank when he confessed after the race that he had underrated Becket. "This was the first time Jacqueline was tested in the homestretch by a very good horse," he told MiD DAY, "I must frankly admit that I didn't expect Becket to stay so well because his pedigree did not suggest it. But he ran such a great race, I thought he was probably going to win."

Dhunjibhoy was not alone in thinking Becket almost pulled it off, most of the record 27,148 racing fans (up by 10% over last year) too thought their darling Jacqui was probably not going to make it. Such was the faith put by the crowd in jacqueline that 50 % of the win pool (the tote betting touched a new record at Rs. 4 crore) was bet on her, and therefore when Richard Hughes got the queen filly to take up the gap on the inside, the record crowd started chanting "Jacqueline, Jacqueline", jumping in the air and dancing with joy.

"She has just created a world record," said a beaming Vijay Shirke, owner of Jacqueline in whose colours of 'Green, red sash & yellow sleeves', Jacqueline created history by winning all the four Indian Classics this season. "I must give credit to Pesi Shroff without whose training skills this would not have been possible," he added, "his stable hands who looked after her, Richard (Hughes) who handled her so well, and of course to Jacqueline herself who has brought so much excitement and joy to our lives."

Berjis Minoo Desai, who owns a quarter share in Jacqueline, was all praise for Sultan Singh of Sohna Stud who bred both Jacqueline and Becket who ran one-two in the Derby. Deepa Dhunjibhoy, wife of Khushroo Dhunjibhoy who believes blue is her lucky colour, said in a lighter vein, "I wore blue again today, and I think it helped her, it just pushed her to the winning post that much more."

Pesi Shroff, the man whom everybody gave credit for Jacqueline's super show, was modest when he said he was being made to "look good", thanks to his owners who were giving him such good horses like Jacqueline to train. "She will next run in the invitation cup on March 7," trainer Pesi Shroff said when asked about the future plans for Jacqueline.

1 comment:

  1. "Jacqueline's" method of pace and running reminds me of another "Wonder Horse" of the Indian racing track, "Elusive Pimpernel". Only difference, "Elusive Pimpernel" was a colt and "Jacqueline" is a "Filly".Luck also played a crucial role in "McDowell Indian Derby-2010" as "Jacqueline" was lucky to squeeze through the gap on the rails and go ahead of a tiring "Becket".


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