History will record that the 47th running of the Indian Turf Invitation Cup, originally set for March 2009, was almost abandoned due to the influenza outbreak in late 2008.
Fortunately a consortium of breeders and the Hyderabad Race Club jointly came to the rescue by framing the race as a result of which six four-year-olds will face the starter at Malakpet on Sunday.
Five of the seven local runnings of this prestigious rotating event have been annexed by Bangalore-trained runners, with the remaining two falling to those hailing from Mumbai. The tally of the latter centre is set to increase as McDowell Indian Derby and Indian St. Leger winner Antonios, trained by S.S. Shah and to be ridden by P. Kamlesh, stands out in the unfortunate enforced absence of Set Alight, who has been retired.
Undoubtedly Icebreaker has the advantage of having had a feel of the track and has been well rested since her victory in the Nizam’s Gold Cup on the same surface. Yet she has a leeway of three lengths to make up from her last meeting with Antonios — and the latter appears to have improved even further.
It is significant that Autonomy is tackling this event rather than the Super Mile and he should complete the placings.
In view of the unusual circumstances, the traditional two-day carnival has been compressed into a single afternoon and hence three other rich Grade I races will share the limelight.
In the eight-runner Super Mile, Rhapsidion Snow has the best credentials but will be tested by Juventus, Dancing Dynamite and Diego Rivera, while the Sprinters’ Cup looks a mere formality for the best horse in India, Oasis Star.
Finally, of the dozen lined up for the Stayers’ Cup, Noble Prince should lead home Yana, Angelique and Riyasat.