In the 20 years between 1971 and 1990, as many as 12 Indian Derby winners — or 60 per cent — went on to repeat in the Indian Turf Invitation Cup (2,400m).
In the next two decades, this percentage fell to 20, with just four obliging. Public fancies have won the last four years, most recently Moonlight Romance (2011) and In The Spotlight (2012).
It is interesting to note that no Calcutta-based horse has annexed the event at Hastings since Midnight Cowboy in 1975.
This year with the older brigade being eligible, all the spotlight has fallen on Toroloco, fourth last year, and to a lesser extent on the local champion, Dandified (14 wins from his 18 starts at Kolkata).
Notably, the latter’s connections have opted for the “big one”, when the alternate Super Mile on the same card was his for the taking. Toroloco has been perfectly tuned, with a win over Dandified on the track in January.
After a comedy of errors relating to declaration of the riders, Paul Mulrennan will steer the Irfan Ghatala-trainee, who is best-placed to prevail.
The same schooler is double-handed with the year-younger Wind Stream (Martin Dwyer), an unlucky loser of the McDowell Signature Indian Derby at Mahalakshmi four weeks ago. That gelding will attempt to gain revenge over Super Storm, with Jimmy Fortune retaining the mount on the Derby hero.
It’s hard to make a definitive case for most of the others, though in a year like this, where the runners have taken turns beating each other, an upset is entirely possible.
Run over 1,600m, the Maj. P.K. Mehra Memorial Super Mile lacks an outstanding contender. Ranthambhore and Kohinoor Wish constitute a pair of consistent runners who relish the trip; they ought to be concerned at the business end.
The only four-year-old in the field, Chase The Sun, can add some spice to the finish.