• Ruffina wins The Sprinters Cup (Gr.1)
  • Azzurro wins The Dr M A M Ramaswamy Stayers Cup (Gr.1)
  • Whomakestherules wins The Maj P K Mehra Memorial Super Mile Cup (Gr.1)
  • Kangra wins The Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Gr.1) in record timing
By Vivek Jain
Thursday 04 Jan 2018
Mr Vivek Jain

AT THE end of the year, the media is full of stories of sporting achievements in different categories with most of the space devoted to cricket. Horse Racing, which has a niche, but committed audience, is virtually always missing from any mention. In our sport the stars are the equines and they deserve accolades as any sporting superstar. For thoroughbred racing, the year is from November 1 to October 31 and performances are judged for this period, as the premium winter seasons get under way only on November 1.

A “sire” or the male stallion is the prepotent force in choosing a juvenile to race and a stallion’s ability to produce champions is what usually influences a buyer to choose his progeny. For the year 16-17, the mantle of champion sire went to Multidimensional, standing at Usha Stud, who has already produced 35 classic winners, after being retired to stud in 2009. His progeny won over Rs 12 crore in prize money, well ahead of second placed Phoenix Tower. However, the Phoenix, standing at the Manjri, had the distinction of having sired the most number of individual winners in 87, and had the maximum winners across India, which at 139, placed him at the top.

Multidimensional holds several aces for this year’s classics in Sana, Prevalent Force, Manifold, to name just a few.

The races for three year olds are the harbinger of future classic glory, and here again Multi stood in first rank, with his first season runners winning roughly half of his overall earnings of 12 crore+. Excellent Art, the Poonawalla based stallion was a close second in this category. However, Excellent Art, in his first season as sire, was way ahead at the top of “first season sires” and is also the sire of the champion Ruffina. Whether Excellent Art can produce champions over the classic mile-and-a-half remains in question.

What of the champion horses of the year that thrilled patrons across the country? The highest prize winner was the Dashmesh bred Hall Of Famer, and the grey’s Rs 3.44 crore stakes wins came mainly due to her win in the Indian Derby. The other top performer was Serjeant At Arms, who won Rs 1.89 crore and established himself as the country’s top miler.

The champion three year old was Castlebridge, with over Rs 2.44 crore in winnings and is considered at the top of the Indian Derby hopefuls. Following the Castle, were Manifold, Lady In Lace and Ruffina, all of whom will have a big say in the winter.

However, the classic horse of the year has to be Temerity, who won the Invitation, adding to her win in the Oaks and has franked this form by her two wins in terms races this season already.

All these statistics will play a part, as the over 1,200 horses reared at various Stud farms start getting sold to potential buyers, and by some reckoning, half may already have been sold in private deals.

The racing industry’s crisis, notwithstanding, there remains a demand for the top farms and top stallions and not surprisingly the foals of Multidimensional, Phoenix Tower and Excellent Art are the most in demand and command the highest prices as we come around to the Auction Sales, just a month or so away.

Courtesy TOI