Monday, December 20, 2010

The Indian 2000 Guineas report

"I knew Star Future was closing on me": Richard Hughes

Prakash Gosavi

The second Classic of the Mumbai season culminated in a nail-biting finish as the 10-to-1 Star Future (Suraj Narredu up) menacingly closed on the 9-4 favourite Ocean And Beyond (Richard Hughes up). But to the relief of the backers of the popular choice, Englishman Richard Hughes managed to spare a dwindling half length to Suraj Narredu, and won the Casino Royale Indian 2000 Guineas (Gr 1) astride Ocean And Beyond trained by SK Sunderji. Hughes thus completed a back-to-back 2000 Guineas double as he had last year won the same race at the same track astride Jacqueline.

When asked if he knew that Star Future was coming at him, he replied, "Of course, I did," and added, "he (Star Future) is a talented horse, and I had said last week that it was a hard choice for me to pick (between the two), but I had people who gave feedback, and I think I was lucky to make the correct choice."

Hughes admitted he had apprehensions. He felt the mile trip could be a bit sharp for Ocean And Beyond. "But I knew his long strides would compensate for quickness, and he proved it today," he said.

Prem Tharani, who represented the Wadhawan Livestock Pvt Ltd as sole representative in the absence of head honcho Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan, found himself in an envious position as owner as both Ocean And Beyond and Star Future were his possessions. "For a moment I thought Star Future would catch up with Ocean & Beyond," said Tharani in a post-race interview, "but I was confident Richard Hughes would gain the day--he was simply superb."

Winner Ocean And Beyond (Kingsalsa - Sayuri) who won prize money of Rs 36,18,000, besides a glittering trophy valued at Rs 75,000, was trained by S K Sunderji and was bred at the Equus stud farm of Shyam Ruia, while the runner up, by Diffident out of Sure Future, was bred at the Poonawalla farms and trained by C D Katrak.

Trainer SK Sunderji, for whom it was the first ever 2000 Guineas success, gave full credit to Richard Hughes, and went on to add, "If Richard is riding my horse, I will always fancy his chances in any race including the Derby."

Ironically, Cooji Katrak, trainer of the runner up who shares the record of highest number of wins (five) in this coveted race along with Rashid Byramji, felt Richard Hughes in fact made a wrong choice when he preferred Ocean And Beyond to his horse, Star Future. "He did not win because of a correct choice," Katrak did not mince words when he spoke to MiD DAY, "he won in spite of a wrong choice, thanks to his extra-ordinary riding skill. Had he chosen Star Future, he would have won by two-and-a-half lengths instead of half a length."

(c) MiD DAY


  1. Sir,Within 8 days of your article on dangers faced by jockeys ,I have witnessed the tragic fall of a jockey and the horse (almost simultaneously)on 15-12-2010( MYSORE RACES)and sorry to note the jockey A.R.MANI is now no more.While this may be a different case,I strongly feel bigger the field of horses the greater the risk. The field should be restricted to only 8.I leave the rest for your valuable comments.A.K.vijaya kumar.your student.HYD.

  2. Was it Sunderji's first win/ or second. What about Desert Lightning !

  3. Hello Rajagopal,

    You must be meaning Desert Warrior, not Desert Lightning I guess. In that case, Desert Warrior never won the 2000 Gns, it was won (in 1989) by Visuvius owned by the Poonawallas and trained by CD Katrak and ridden by Pesi Shroff. Vesuvius suffered a very bad setback, had to undergo a surgery, and in Feb 1990, the Indian Derby was won by Desert Warrior ridden by Pesi Shroff. But Sunderji had already left the country by that time, and the horse was in the care of Altaf Hussain when he won the Derby. After some years Sunderji returned (I think he was in Middle East) and took trainer's licence afresh.

    Prakash Gosavi


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