• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)
Friday 05 Jul 2013
Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

When racing shifted to Mallenahalli in the beginning of the twentieth century, Spencers had just taken over Mrs. Bronson's West End. World War I notwithstanding, racing took a firm hold. While Calcutta sent its Cup hopefuls to Pune, majority of other Calcutta horses summered first in Bangalore and then in Mysore. It was to be almost half a century before Bangalore established its 'Classics' and till it did so, the high noon of the Bangalore summer season was the Maharaja's Gold Cup, a race run over seven furlongs. Then, in 1933, the distance of the race was increased to a mile and three furlongs and it was won by the Tetratema gelding Trelawne who was owned Mrs. John Yorke. Trained by Cooper, jockey W. Hayhoe brought home Trelawne by a mere short-head. The thrilling race was just what was needed to establish the race over its unique distance.

Since then, the race has been over a mile and three furlongs (or 2200 m. after metrification) except on four occasions. In 1950, 1951 and 1952, it was run over a mile and a half while when Basque was victorious in 1991, it was over a reduced distance of 2000 m. For many years, the Nepal Gold Cup for Class I & II horses, the highlight of New Year's Day racing at Calcutta, was the only other notable race in the country run over this unusual trip. During the World War II, there was no racing at Bangalore and there was, naturally, no Maharaja's Cup for six years.

1965 was the next landmark in the history of Maharaja's Cup for that year the race was contested, for the first time, by Class I & II horses. It was a handicap race and the Australian horse Baraloy, ridden by Khade, won the race beating Portofino and Courage. When the Pattern concept was ushered in the 1980s, Maharaja's Cup was designated, retrospectively from Baraloy's year, as a Listed race. That was so because it was a handicap. In 1989, it became a terms run and was awarded a Gr.2 status. Ich Dien won that year and followed it up with another victory the next year. He is the last horse to have the race twice in consecutive years. Allied Forces also won the race twice but there was a gap of a year (1998 and 2000) between his two successes. Royal Tern (1979 and 1980) and Helen's Glory (1934 and 1935) are the other dual winners of the Maharaja's Cup.

Counting Baraloy's year, there have 48 renewals of the race and Classic winners have accounted for 36 (75 %) of them though Allied Forces won his Classic (the Bangalore St. Leger) after the Maharaja's Cup. 33 of those winners won the Maharaja's Cup as 4 year-olds. These are significant stats. In the last ten years, eight four year-olds have won, the same number were Classic winners five favourites have been successful and eight of the winners had had a previous run during the Bangalore summer season. Therefore, ideally, we should be looking a four year-old Classic winner who has raced this term.

So much for the trends. Unfortunately, this year's field of nine runners contains not a single four year-old Classic winner who has started during the current season. In fact, the older horses outnumber the Classic generation by 6 to 3. There are just three Classic winners -- Ocean and Beyond, Borsalino and Wind Stream -- left in the contest and the two four year-olds have not raced since finishing off-the-boardin Tintinnabulation's Invitation Cup. Three of the six older contestants are without any black-type while and only one is a winner of a Graded race. The field certainly lacks in quality (there isn't a single runner who has won a winter Derby or the Invitation Cup) and that makes for an interesting race where winner spotting is tricky.

Borsalino, the winner of the Kingfisher Derby Bangalore, Gr.1 and the Vijay Textiles Deccan Derby, Gr.1 in the first year of his racing, hasn't quite built on that performance. The last three times he came up against the Poonawalla Mysore Derby, Gr.1 winner Wind Stream, he has finished behind the Steinbeck gelding though he beat the latter out of sight in a mock race recently. Read what you will into that mock race result and remember that some give in the ground (which he may be lucky to obtain on Sunday) makes Borsalino a different horse. Against that is the fact that while he has never headed Wind Stream, the terms of the race require him to give 2 kgs. to Patrick Quinn's horse. Wind Stream was unfortunate to be buffeted about in the McDowell Signature Indian Derby, Gr.1. He still finished second to Super Storm with Hemisphere third and Borsalino out among the washing. The only poor run of his nine-start career was in the Invitation Cup where he was 11th but ahead of Borsalino. He hasn't run since then and it is difficult to explain his poor mock race. Like the older Ocean and Beyond, he runs in the colours of Mr. R.K. Wadhawan. Suraj Narredu is retained by Mr. Wadhawan and the jockey's choice of the mount will be interesting. It could also be used as a ruse to deflect the attention from the owner's 'chosen one'.

Hemisphere is a four year-old like Borsalino and Wind Stream and like them he hasn't won in 2013. Nor has he earned a bracket in his last eight starts apart from being unplaced in his two efforts during the current season. He was third in the Indian Derby and fifth in the Invitation Cup. Winning is a habit that he is yet to cultivate. The sole victory of his career came when he won a maiden at Pune under I. Pasha and returned a dividend of Rs. 334 on the Tote. That he gets weight from both Borsalino and Wind Stream is to his advantage.

Ocean and Beyond is not only the highest rated runner in the contest but also an epitome of consistency. A winner of the Nanoli Stud Pune Derby, Gr.1, he followed up with a victory in the Casino Royale Indian 2000 Guineas, Gr.1. He was, however, not destined to keep the prize for he tested positive in his post-race samples and was disqualified. Apart from these two races, he has raced 20 times and finished off-the-board just once. He began his racing in trainer S.K. Sunderjee's yard, moved later under C.D.Katrak's tutelage and is now based in Calcutta with P.Quinn. Quinn has done wonders with the gelding, bagging the prestigious Nanoli Stud Calcutta Gold Cup, Gr.2-Queen Elizabeth II Cup, Gr.3 double and placing second in the Indian Turf Invitation Cup, Gr.1.where Hemisphere, Wind Stream and Borsalino finished behind him. Ocean and Beyond was well beaten recently in the Chief Justice's Cup, Gr.3 by an Acquired Taste and Panamera but he may not have been in complete earnest that day. 

In the last ten years, the two horses who have won their first graded race with a win in the Maharaja's Cup are Adrian and Alekona. Adrian returned a winning dividend of Rs.115 on the Tote while Alekona gave Rs. 89 to those who had backed him. So the seven year-old mare Drop of Honey, Cool Approach (late Six Gun Smith), Panamera and Ambrosia are not entirely without a crumb of comfort. The connections of Drop of Honey have shelled out Rs. 72,000 as a final entry for their mare so they must have more than just a hope. As Six Gun Smith, Cool Approach found winning none too easy and with a rating of only 67 he is out-handicapped. Panamera (twice a close second to An Acquired Taste this term) and Ambrosia are two well-bred mares who have worked their way up the handicap route; they can be expected to give their best though the company they are taking on is stiff.

The likeliest of the older horses is Spearhead, a seven year-old who is only a few days younger than Drop of Honey. This full brother to Fantabulous King is a winner of three Grade 3 races, two of them over 2400 m.(the Idar Gold Cup, Gr.3 at Pune and earlier the Governor's Cup, Gr.3 at Bangalore in heavy going). On the running of K.N. Guruswamy Cup in May, where he was third to An Acquired Taste and Panamera, the weights are very much in his favour. Like Ambrosia, he will be carrying the silks of Dr. Vijay Mallya so you know that he will be doing his best. Spearhead generally likes to make the running and so does Borsalino. It will be interesting to watch this duel, if it comes to pass, and see who gets his way.


Some fascinating trivia from the previous runnings of the Maharaja's Cup:-

* In 1952, 16 runners went to the post and it resulted in a dead-heat between ORIENTAL SOL (M. Cracknell; trainer Maj. E. Fownes) and MOLLY WESTON (J. McGaffin; trainer Mohd. Lahori).

* It was an equally pulsating close finish in 1959. The winner was FREE MANOR who was owned by Mr. & Mrs. Baba Khan and ridden by Jagdish. The mare, naturally enough, was trained by Baba Khan and the verdict was shd, hd, shd.  

* Several well-backed favourites have failed to win the Maharaja's Cup and some famous names among them are Bade Miya, Star Haven, Topmost, Almanac, Chaitanya Ratham, Chaitanya Chakram, Divine Light, Brave Dancer, Star Supreme, Saddle Up, Bonzer, The Pelican, Zurbaran, Southern Empire, Becket and In The Spotlight.

*  J.H. Foley and P. Shroff have ridden as well trained a winner of the Maharaja's Cup.


* Owners  - Mr. D. Khaitan and Partners (5)  Dr.M.A.M. Ramaswamy & Partners (5)

* Trainer - R.R. Byramji (12)

* Jockeys - M. Jagdish (5) and V. Shinde(5)

* Stud Farms - Poonawalla Farms (9) Usha Stud (9)

*  Fastest Time - ALEKONA (2008) 2.15.12   Slowest Time - PARSIANA (1966) 2.33.4


Run at Bangalore, usually in the month of July.

1933          TRELAWNE* (Cooper) (W. Hayhoe) (24)

Mrs.John Yorke

1934          HELEN'S GLORY* (S.J. Meekings) (Capt. M.R. D'Arcy) (21)

Mr. V.L. Govindraj and Capt. M.R. D'Arcy

1935          HELEN'S GLORY* (S.J. Meekings) (Capt. M.R. D'Arcy) (20)

Mr. V.L.Govindraj and Capt.M.R. D'Arcy

1936          DICHROIC* (T. Burn) (Earl of Shannon) (14)

Mr. S.A.A. Annamalai Chettiar

1937          THE PAUPER* (A. Roberts) (N. Wood) (14)

Mr. S.R. Varma

1938          ALBURY* (N. Whiteside) (Capt. M.R. D'Arcy) (22)

Mrs. M.R. D'Arcy

1939         OLD FOGEY* (J. O'Neale) (T.Hill) (17)

Mrs. C.N. Reed

1940         ROYAL PALACE* (Adley) (R.G. Saulez) (19)

Mrs. P.L. Orde

1941 (a)   

1942 (a)

1943 (a)

1944 (a)

1945 (a)

1946 (a)

1947        SHAHI BAG* (B.T.Duffy) (F. Malone) (5)

Mrs. Justice

1948        IDOL SON* (P. Shanker) (A. Clarke) (10)

Mrs. F.H. Wright

1949        TOUCHE* (J. McGaffin) (.B.L. Shinde) (12)

1950 (b)   ORCADES* (A. Mulley) (Ali Asker) (16)

1951 (c)   FELLEXIA* (E.J. Cracknell*) (D.W. Balfour) (15)

1952 (c)   ORIENTAL SOL* (M. Cracknell) (Maj E. Fownes) (12)

               ........................... dead-heated with .......................

MOLLY WESTON* (J. McGaffin) (Mohd. Lahori)                

1953        CHMO* (E. Eldin) (J. Thompson) (12)

Mr. R.J. Sigtia

1954        PORT DESIRE* (Ahmed Khan) (Baba Khan) (9)

Mr. M.A. Chidambaram

1955        ROCK OF GIBRALTAR* (P. Khade) (Capt. Fownes) (12)

The Maharaja of Parlakimedi

1956        GO CAREFUL* (B.T. Duffy) (Lt. Col. W. Kerr) (12)

Lt. Col. W. Kerr and Mrs. J. Chambers

1957        IN EXCELSIS* (J.H. Foley) (M. Galstaun) (19)

Mr. D.E. Avari

1958        GLOWING CURLS* (Fakruddin) (Charles) (17)

Mr. J. Thomas

1959        FREE MANOR* (M. Jagdish) (Baba Khan) (18)

Mr. & Mrs. Baba Khan

1960        FALARANI* (K. Raghunath) (B.K. Lagad)

Mr. M.P. Davis

1961        ROYAL COMMAND* (J. Tyrrell) (Ali Asker) (22)

Maj. & Mrs. M. Mirza

1962        AUREOLE TIME* (A. Woods) (Maj. E. Fownes) (10)

Mr. S.M. Omer              

1963        LADY GIBRALTAR (S. Reddy) (B.P. Shivan) (17)

Mr. B.P. Shivan

1964        PRABALO (S. Reddy) (Maj. E. Fownes) (10)

The Maharaja of Parlakimedi

1965       BARALOY* (P. Khade) (T. Dougall) (12)

Mr. & Mrs. T.G. Gaonkar

1966       PARSIANA* (S. Yeshwant) (16)

M/s. S.A., Cyrus S. & Zavaray S. Poonawalla

1967       RAMKIRPAL (J.H. Foley) (P.Rylands) (19)

Mr. H.S. Grewal

1968      BHISHMA[NSB] (B. Foy) (D.C. Jarvis) (13)

Mr. Al. M. Muthukaruppan Chettiar

1969      BUCK PASSER (N. Remedios) (M.B. Mangalorkar) (20)

Mr. S.L. Nahata and Mrs. S.L. Chamria

1970      MAMMA'S MINK* (R.W. Alford) (D.C. Jarvis) (14)

Mr. & Mrs. R.E.O. Carey and Mrs. D.C. Jarvis

1971      ROYAL CHALLENGE (R.W. Alford) (M.Galstaun)

Mr. G. Venkateswara Rao

1972      HONEYDAY (R. Butfoy) (M.Galstaun) (11)

M/s. I.J. Chouls & Madhu M. Amarsey

1973      NOBLE PRINCESS (M. Jagdish) (R.R. Byramji) (12)

Hajee Abdul Sattar Sait

1974      RICHELIEU (V. Shinde) (B.K. Lagad) (8)

Mr. & Mrs. R.M. Goculdas and Mr. Mulraj D. Goculdas

1975      SWEET MEMORIES (M. Jagdish) (R.R. Byramji) (11)

M/s. R. Shivlal, S.R. Daga, R. Kumar & L. Kumar

1976      COMMANCHE (M. Jagdish) (R.R. Byramji) (10)

M/s. Ranjit V. Bhat & Yogesh M. Shah

1977      SQUANDERER (V. Shinde) (R.R. Byramji) (6)

M/s. Ranjit V. Bhat & I.S. Mirchandani

1978      MANITOU (V. Shinde) (R.R. Byramji) (R.R. Byramji) (4)

M/s. Ranjit V. Bhat & Yogesh M. Shah

1979      ROYAL TERN (N. Reuben) (B.K. Lagad) (10)

Mr. & Mrs. R.M. Goculdas and Mr. Mulraj D. Goculdas

1980      ROYAL TERN (R.F. Parnell) (B.K. Lagad) (5)

Mr. & Mrs. R.M. Goculdas and Mr. Mulraj D. Goculdas

1981      OWN OPINION (M. Jagdish) (A.B. David) (5)

Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy

1982      TRACK LIGHTNING (R.F. Parnell) (R.R. Byramji) (8)

Mr. & Mrs. S.C. Khatau and M/s. C.M. Khatau & K.C. Khatau

1983      CAMINO (D.J. Gibson) (R.R. Byramji) (7)

Mr. & Mrs. S.C. Khatau and M/s. C.M. Khatau & K.C. Khatau

1984      BERGAMO (V. Shinde) (R.R. Byramji) (6)

Mr. & Mrs. S.C. Khatau and M/s. C.M. & K.C. Khatau

1985      CONFUCIUS (Saroop Singh) (Uttam Singh) (9)

M/s. S.M. Ruia & R.J. Sigtia

1986      DUPONT (Warren Singh) (Z. Darashah) (8)

M/s. P.F. Pinto & Z. Darashah

1987      AZHAR (R. Gowli) (S. Inayatullah)

Mr. & Mrs.C.M. Varma, Mrs. V.C. Varma and Mrs. Heena Mukherjee

1988      BRAVE DANCER (P. Shroff) (Vijay Singh) (8)

Mr. Babi Nobis

1989      ICH DIEN (L. Marshall) (G. Basappa) (7)

Lt. Col. & Mrs. D.C. Basappa

1990      ICH DIEN (L. D'Silva) (G. Basappa) (9)

Lt. Col. & Mrs. D.C. Basappa

1991 (d)  BASQUE (S. Marshall) (M.B. Mangalorkar)

Mrs. Gayathri Rao, M/s. R.M. Reddy & J.Krishnadev Rao and Dr. Ravinder Reddy 

1992      STAR CONTENDER (R. Corner) (J.H. Foley) (9)

Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy

1993      ASTRONOMIC (V. Shinde) (R.R. Byramji) (4)

Mr. D. Khaitan

1994      DIABLO (M.A. Gallagher) (C. Taraporevala) (7)

Mrs. Gogineni P., Mrs. Gogineni S. and M/s. Gogineni M.R. & Gogineni V.S.P.

1995 (e) MYSTIC MEMORY (Aslam Kader) (R.R. Byramji) (11)

Mr. D. Khaitan and Mr. & Mrs. Z.S. Poonawalla

1996 (e) ELUSIVE PIMPERNEL (Aslam Kader (R.R. Byramji) (7)

Mr. Khaitan

1997 (e) MINISTERIAL (M. Narredu) (J.H. Foley) (9) 

Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy

1998 (e)  ALLIED FORCES (C. Ruzaan) (Darius R. Byramji) (8)

Mr. D.Khaitan and Maj P.K. Mehra

1999 (e)  BEAUTIFUL BABE (K.P.G. Appu) (M. Eshwer) (9)

Mrs. Villo C. Poonawalla, Mrs. Behroze Z. Poonawalla, Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla and Mr. Yohan Z. Poonawalla

2000      ALLIED FORCES (R. Marshall) (Darius R. Byramji) (11)

Mr. D. Khaitan and Maj P.K. Mehra

2001      ENDORSEMENT (C. Ruzaan) (M. Eshwer) (15)

M/s. Dilip & Sunil Jhangiani

2002      IFLOOKSCOULDKILL (Harish) (R.R. Byramji) (14)

Mr. D.R. Thacker and Manjri Stud Farm Ltd.

2003      CLASSICAL ACT (Suraj Narredu) (J.S. Dhariwal)

Dr. & Mrs. Vijay Mallya

2004      ADRIAN (Y.S. Srinath) (L.V.R. Deshmukh) (10)

Mr. & Mrs. Farooq K. Rattonsey and M/s Sameer & Zaheer F. Rattonsey

2005      SOUTHERN REGENT (B. Prakash) (S. Ganapathy) (11)

Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy

2006      HOLDING COURT (M.A. Gallagher)  (S.Padmanabhan) (8)

Mr. & Mrs. Haresh N. Mehta

2007      SOUTHERN EMPIRE (B. Prakash) (S. Ganapathy) (8)

Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy and Mr. Z. S. Poonawalla

2008      ALEKONA (Suraj Narredu) (M.B. Mangalorkar) (13)

Mrs. Tripti Kohli and M/s. Srinivas Shanker & M.B. Mangalorkar)

2009      NOBLE PRINCE (W.Smith) (S. Padmanabhan) (7)

Capt. Jamshed J. Appoo and Mr. & Mrs.Z.S. Poonawalla

2010      ARABIAN .PRINCE (R. Marshall) (J.S. Dhariwal)  (8).

Dr. & Mrs. Vijay Mallya

2011      XISCA (B. Prakash) (P. Shroff) (10)

Ms. Christaline Glenn, Mr. Mehernosh Deboo and Mr. & Mrs. K.N. Dhunjibhoy

2012 (f)  TOROLOCO (Suraj Narredu) (Irfan Ghatala) (9)

M/s. Vikram Singh & Nirmal Singh


(a)  No racing at Bangalore during World War II.

(b)  There was a dead-heat between Orcades* and Der-Neu-Way*. The latter was relegated to third on objection.

(c)  Run over a mile and a half.

(d)  Run over 2000 m.

(e)  Sponsored by Eveready.

(f)   Sponsored by Novotel.

General Notes

1.  Before 1933 run over 7 furlongs for horses in lower classes

2.  1933 to 1964. Handicap for lower class horses over 11f/2200 m. 

3.  1965 to 1987. Handicap for horses in Class I & II. 2200 m.

4.   Since 1988, Terms race for 4 Years and over.

5.   An asterisk after a horse's name (e.g. DICHROIC*) indicates an imported horse.