I want to express a thought or two about the Bangalore Kingfisher Derby to be run this Sunday. The fact that I will not be in Bangalore saddens me. The unavailability of a TV channel to watch the Derby depresses me. May be, I can call Mr Manohar and or Mr Madhukar and be able to listen to the call (Commentary) live.
Indiarace has a separate section for the Kingfisher Derby. It is a great idea. Sharan Kumar of Racingpulse has devoted time to write about how Music’s Show win in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on Wednesday impacts breeding in India and the lofty status to which Sohna Stud Farm has been elevated. Noverre, Music Show’s sire, stands at Sohna Stud Farm. I had the pleasure of seeing Mr Sultan Singh, who manages the Stud Farm, in February in Mumbai. He must be on cloud nine.
Music Show is a three year-old filly by Noverre. The dam is Dreamboat who is by Mr Prospector. Trainer Mick Channon had maintained that his filly was the best sophomore in the country but had been frustrated that, in run after run, the Noverre filly had come up with a list of excuses. The Falmouth Stakes provided the perfect platform for Music Show to showcase her ability.
Lillie Langtry, fresh off a thumping score in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, was the 9-4 public choice. Spacious, second in a photo in the Windsor Forest, set a brisk pace with Kieren Fallon whose intention was to run his rivals off their feet. Spacious had a two-length break with 250 metres left and the chasing pack was running out of steam. There was one exception. Music Show, in the hands of the in-form Richard Hughes, was travelling very well. The ultra quick pace was beginning to take its toll on Spacious. The line did not come soon enough for Spacious and Fallon. As the speed collapsed, Music Show, who had been nursed along briliiantly by Hughes, emerged with the lead as they came out of the dip. Music Show won by two lengths and ran the 1600-metre Falmouth in 1 36.76 seconds. Eight ran and Music Show was a 13-2 chance. The Jabber Abdullah-owned filly was being ridden by Richard Hughes for the first time. The Falmouth was Music Show’s first race against older females. Rainfall, who beat the boys in Royal Ascot’s Jersey Stakes, ran on to be third. Lillie Langtry and Special Duty had no response when the race took a serious turn.
It was in the Nell Gwyn Stakes (in April at Newmarket) that Music Show gave evidence of her potential. An outside post was too big a handicap to overcome in the English 1000 Guineas. Music Show was sixth. In the Irish 1000 Guineas, the Channon trainee salvaged third. She came off a fourth place finish in the Coronation Stakes.
Trainer Channon was delighted. “We believed that she was the best three year-old filly in the country but sometimes the faith falls away. With this filly, the faith did not diminish. In both Guineas, she was trapped out wide and then when she lost at Royal Ascot, I was in bits.”
Jockey Hughes spoke about the Falmouth journey. “They went a suicidal pace. I must have been 12 lengths off at the halfway point. At the two-furlong pole, the leaders were walking and I was able to ease by them.”
It was a great Wednesday for the Bangalore-bound Hughes. He was aboard the Richard Hannon-trained Memory who was seeking three wins in a row and was the 5-4 favorite in the Group III Cherry Hinton stakes, the race preceding the Falmouth. Seven freshman girls answered the starter’s call. Late in the 1200-mtere Cherry Hinton, Memory was in danger of not finding room. With the ‘suspension threat’ hanging over him, jockey Hughes was exercising extra caution. With 200 metres to run, Memory was last. With one big surge, the favorite moved to first as the line loomed large. The time was 1 12.44 seconds. Memory, by Danehill Dancer out of Nausica N by Diesis, is now three for three. She made a winning debut at Goodwood in mid May and in her second outing, won the Group III Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
Memory was an odds on favorite as the betting began and drifted to 5 to 4. I am mentioning this because a ‘drift’ is taken as a sure sign of impending disaster. It is not so. For the most part, bookmaking is an art that requires delicate balancing of odds. Money must have come in other fillies and Memory’s odds went up to offset the liability if she lost. The bookmakers reacted to Memory’s Cherry Hinton win. She was given a quote of 8-1 for the 2011 English Guineas.
Richard Hannon spoke about Memory’s next start. “She will get a mile standing on her head. I would like to win a Group I with her and we will run her in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh (August 29) and I suppose that will be it this year. I had no doubt despite the problems. She won quite easily once she got in the open.”
There was more glory awaiting Richard Hughes. A determined Suited and Booted, a Richard Hannon ward, won the 5 30 PM race at Newmarket giving Hughes a riding triple and taking him closer to Paul Hanaghan in the riders’ contest. Suited And Booted was a 9-1 chance. That was a lucrative triple and my arithmetic fails me when I try to figure out what a three-horse parlay would have brought.
Across the channel in France, Christophe Soumillon was putting on a riding show at Deauville. Wednesday’s racing at Deauville was held on the (all weather) fibersand surface. Jockey Soumillon rode the winners of the first three races. Soumillon won with the 1/5 Khawatim, followed with the 1/2 Boltcity and got home the 18/5 Vertiformer. All the three winners came from Jean Claude Rouget’s yard. Soumillon has severed his links with the Aga Khan and rides for trainer Rouget. Christophe Lemaire rode for Rouget until last year and is the engaged jockey for the Aga Khan this year.
Hughes sits out Thursday. He is in action on Friday at Newmarket. He does not ride Saturday and Monday-serving out the bans that have have plagued him. On Sunday, he rides Moonlight Romance in the Bangalore Kingfisher Derby.