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A BIBLICAL DERBY
By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)
Monday 13 Jan 2014
Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

It has been some time since two horses, the prime contenders in the Indian Derby, have monopolised so much attention and divided opinion. The reference is obviously to Jeremiah (Jeremy - Acciacatura) and Murioi (Dubawi - Zacheta's Girl). At the moment, it is far from clear whether both will actually step out for the Blue Riband on 2 February though, ordinarily, one would expect them to finally end their hide-and-seek and come face to face. If they do, the outcome is most uncertain and even Nostrodamus would be hesitant to commit himself. 

No race is a two horse race. In fact, in every race each horse has at least one ticket punched on the Tote. After the race, the winners blow their trumpet and the losers listen to the Last Post or the Marche Funebre. Before the race is a different story. In fairly recent times, there have been several Indian Derbies which seemed limited to two main protagonists and, perhaps, one that readily springs to mind is the anticipated duel between Everynsky (owned by the Khataus) and Dr. M.A.M. Ramswamy's Aristocrat. Wally Swinburn gave them both a slip and won on Mohawk after having taken up the running round the bend! 

Neither Jeremiah nor Murioi has so far raced over 2400 m. though both have won over 2000 m., the former as many as five times. Will they get the additional 400 m.? That's the question vexing their huge armies of supporters. The answer to that, of course, is that we will know when they go over it! That is of no use to anyone so here is an attempt to unravel their pedigrees. 

DOSAGE INDEX 

Dosage Index is a tool that is very often employed to asses a horse's stamina. As with everything in racing, all tools have their imperfections. Moonlight Romance, winner of the Indian Derby and the Invitation Cup has the same DI as the dual Sprinters' Cup winner Attila. Still, for those who set store by it, here are the relevant figures:- 

Jeremiah - DI 2.20 (5-1-10-0-0)   CD - 0.69
Murioi     - DI 1.22 (2-1-5-1-1)     CD - 0.20

 SIRE  

Jeremiah by Jeremy. Jeremy won 4 races, £ 237,144 at 2 to 4 including Betfred Mile, Gr.2, etc. Best official rating 117. Never raced beyond a mile. Started his stud career at Irish National Stud at a fee of € 12,500. Will stand in 2014 at Garryrichard Stud for € 3,000. Has had one black-type winner - Yellow Rosebud - on the flat. Six of his progeny have a rating of over 100. Average winning distance of progeny is 7.8 furlongs. Most of his progeny excel around a mile though he has a had a few wins over longer. 

Murioi by Dubawi. Dubawi won 5 races at 2 and 3, £ 757,340 incl. Irish 2000 Guineas, Gr.1, National Stakes, Gr.1, Prix Fresnay le Buffard Jacques le Marois, Gr.1, etc. Best official rating 125. Raced just once beyond a mile when he was third, way behind the winner Motivator in Vodafone Epsom Derby, Gr.1. Retired to Dalham Hall Stud for a fee of 25,000 Guineas which has now gone up to 100,000 Guineas for 2014. Sire of 44 Group winners, 11 Gr.1 winners including Waldpark, a winner of the German Derby over 2400 m.. His best progeny excels from 1600 m. to 2000 m. but he has several Gr.2 winners at 2400 m. or more. Average winning distance of progeny is 9.3 furlongs.

SIRE LINE 

Jeremiah - Jeremy - Danehill Dancer - Danehill - Danzig - Northern Dancer
Murioi - Dubawi - Dubai Millennium - Seeking the Gold - Mr. Prospector

 DAM 

Jeremiah ex Acciacatura. Purchased for € 40,000. Acciacatura won 1 race at 2 (1200 m.) and placed thrice including second in Silver Flash Stakes, L, etc. Best official rating 75. Dam of three foals abroad of which Litura (Whipper) won a race over 1600 m. 

Murioi ex Zacheta's Girl. Purchased for €18,000. Zacheta's Girl did not race. Murioi is her first foal. 

FAMILY 

Jeremiah traces to La Troienne and belongs to an elite family. Acciacatura's dam,  Lady in Waiting, won 5 races and is the dam of 5 winners incl. Kid Grindstone (10 wins incl. Fifth Season Stakes,Gr.3 over 1700 m., etc), etc. The next dam, Princess Rooney, was a Champion Older Mare in U.S.A. who won 17 races incl. Kentucky Oaks, Gr.1, Breeders' Cup Distaff, Gr.1, Spinster Stakes, Gr.1, Frizette Stakes, Gr.1, Vanity Invitational Handicap, Gr.1, etc. The successive maternal grandsires are Stravinsky (sprinter), Woodman (sprinter/miler) and Verbatim (miler with one win over 2000 m.) 

Murioi traces to Helvia. This is an average family. Zacheta Girl's dam, Zacheta, is also unraced. Zacheta had five foals abroad of whom four have raced and two are winners - Ransom Note (by Red Ransom), rated 117, winner of 7 races (1400 m. to 1800 m.) including Nayef Joel Stakes, Gr.2 and Dawn Sky who won his only race at 3 over 2200m. Zacheta is half-sister to Marienbard, 8 wins (2400 m. to 2800 m.) incl. Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe -Lucien Barriere, Gr.1, Grosser Prix von Baden, Gr.1, etc. The successive maternal grandsires are Fantastic Light, Polish Precedent and Darshaan, all of whom are good stamina influences. 

SUMMING UP. Murioi has much the better sire though both have the best of sire lines. Murioi also has more evident stamina in his tail female line. Jeremiah's dam is better performed and he comes from an elite family. Nothing to choose between them. Take your pick. Both, of course, can't win but the loser will have to find reasons other than stamina to explain the reverse. 

This is only an academic exercise to provide recorded facts to followers of both the adversaries. The fact is that our level of racing is so shallow that class assumes greater importance than just stamina. Based on pedigrees, it is difficult to explain how Velvet Rope, Diabolical and Hotstepper won the Indian Derby. Velvet Rope's sire was a miler and so was Diabolical's. Glory of Dancer, however, did have the attributes to get a mile and a half horse. Come to the dams. The dam of Velvet Rope was unraced; She has had five other foals none of whom won beyond 1200 m. Double Quick, the dam of Diabolical, won 6 races, including a Listed Race, in England and they were all over 1000 m. She had four other foals who won 21 races between them but none beyond 1400 m. Flying Home won 4 races but only one of them was over a mile; all others being at shorter distances. Flying Home produced seven other foals to race, all by Glory of Dancer. They won 22 races but only upto a mile. 

PAST THE POST 

This is attributed to Jeremiah, "The Weeping Prophet" - 4:13 -” Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as the whirlwind, his horses swifter than eagles. Woe onto us! For we are spoiled..... " 

Jeremiah was a prophet. I am not. The Indian Derby Preview will be posted at the usual time.