Saturday, February 05, 2011

Pesi Shroff on Sunday's Derby

"It's difficult to reverse form,
but after all, it's racing": Pesi Shroff

Prakash Gosavi

Pesi Shroff, the man who won the Indian Derby a record eight times as jockey, and also opened his Derby account as a trainer last year with Jacqueline, has pitched in not one, not two--but five runners in the McDowell Signature Derby field. Though he candidly admits he is an underdog in today's Derby, he nevertheless believes anything is possible. Excerpts from an exclusive chat with Pesi Shroff on the eve of the Derby:

MiD DAY: You have pitched five runners in the 12-horse Derby field, comment.
Pesi Shroff: If you go by the form, this race is strictly between Moonlight Romance and Ocean And Beyond, there is no point in denying the reality. They had better form than my runners last winter, it's the same this winter too. But there is something called luck of the race, also the way the pace will unfold in a race like the Derby can affect the result--it's racing after all. I believe in taking chances. After all, you cannot win unless you try.

MD: Are you trying to say all your five runners are contenders?
PS: Barring Batista, the other four will run their own race. It's no secret Batista is in this for a strategic purpose, and I have no problem in admitting that.

MD: What is your reading of this Derby?
PS: Clearly, Ocean Admiral is their (the Wadhawan camp's) pacemaker in the Derby. I think Moonlight Romance will prefer a fast, or at least a decent pace, whereas Ocean And Beyond may relish moderate pace. The fact that they come from different stables, and there is only one pacemaker may add a twist to the pace equation. And let me tell you the greatest pressure is always on the pacemaker, the best plans can go awry in a race like the Derby.

MD: So you hope to capitalize if such a situation develops....
PS: I have said it before, and I will say it again. All my four runners, barring Batista, have a reason to be there. They are good horses in their own right. The fancied runners may have better form, but at the end of the day the best form may amount to a mere assumption. I can only assure my horses will run their own race, and they will give a good account of themselves.

(c) MiD DAY

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