After so much build up and anticipation, the fourth and final classic of the season has finally arrived, with the tenure of The Swan –  Duke Of York Cup (Group 1 – 1600 metres) at weight-for-age. All the ingredients are there to make this classic race a one to remember and it must not be forgotten that there are numerous subplots that are at play here, such as the Horse Of The Year honours, the Trainers’ championship, and most significantly, a golden chance for a feat to be achieved for the first time in 83 years.

A full field lines up in this golden contest, which is also the fifth and final leg of the Milers’ championship. All eleven horses will have one goal in mind – to succeed Parachute Man. Last year, he became the second horse after Studded Chalice (1997) to win the Maiden Cup and Duke Of York Cup back-to-back. With Rye Joorawon on board, he dug deep to score a famous win, ahead of Charles Lytton, 2015 winner One Cool Dude and Karraar.

It is correct to say that all eyes will be on the oldest stable on Mauritian turf on Saturday afternoon. Ramapatee Gujadhur has a golden opportunity to become the first trainer to win all four classics in one season. The last time this was achieved was back in 1934, when Amurdeal Gujadhur saddled the filly Winking to glory in all four classic races. After near-misses in 2004, 2012 and 2015, he will be eager to put things right this time round.

He has entered heavy artillery in this golden contest, in the names of ENAAD, TANDRAGEE and READY TO ATTACK – three horses that have struck in some of Mauritius’ biggest races.

ENAAD is a horse that needs no introduction. He became headline news in Mauritius when he ruthlessly squatted the opposition in the Air Mauritius Maiden Cup, producing a devastating finish over the final 600 metres to score a crushing win.

He has not been seen since, with his yard opting to keep him fresh for this Saturday’s big race. The transition from 2400 metres to 1600 metres could be described as complicated, but even so, his yard and his jockey Steven Arnold have done everything necessary to make this transition smooth as possible.

His form at track work was splendid, and as he is a very classy sort, he has every chance of adding a second classic to his C.V.

TANDRAGEE, winner of this race in 2012, may have been an outsider in the Barbe Cup earlier this season. However, he produced a majestic showing, going on to win his second classic on Mauritian turf. He has always tried his best during his career here, and is another horse that is highly thought of by his yard.

This nine-year old has come out from a break, and it seems to have done him some good, as he showed up well in his workouts. He will have Sunil Bussunt steering him, and a win here won’t only guarantee him the Milers’ championship, but also boost his chances of winning the race to be crowned champion horse this season.

READY TO ATTACK will be attempting to win his second classic race, following his heroics in the Vocalcom Duchess Of York Cup. He was last seen just two meetings ago, scoring his third win of his debut campaign. He remains in good condition and with Imran Chisty in the saddle, he is rated as a major player in this.

Gilbert Rousset’s hold on the Trainers’ championship is under threat from Rameshwar Gujadhur, with only Rs 505,000 in stakes money separating those two trainers. PRINCE OF THIEVES, KARRAAR and SCOTSNOG are representing the former, while the latter is putting his hopes squarely on the shoulders of Four-year old champion HARD DAY’S NIGHT.

Following a tough first half of the season, PRINCE OF THIEVES has been hitting the right notes in the second half of this campaign. He opened his account for the season in the 20th meeting, before finishing runner-up in his last two attempts.

He comes into this race in very good nick and even if he is running over the 1600 metres, it should not be a problem for him. With Nishal Teeha steering him once again, he has a good shot of making it. 

After finishing runner-up in the Golden Trophy and Maiden Cup meetings, KARRAAR made it third time lucky n the Mauritius Union Group Colonel Draper Cup, winning from start-to-finish. It was his second win of the season and his first in a Group race.

This Six-year old remains in top order and he will relish running over the 1600 metres. With Rye Joorawon on board once again, he is entitled to double the score here.

After a disappointing showing in the Maiden Cup, SCOTSNOG showed his true colours in the 28th meeting, finishing on the final step of the podium. He is in better condition, and will appreciate running over a far longer trip. With Kersley Ramsamy riding him, he merits plenty of respect.

HARD DAY’S NIGHT (Dinesh Sooful) has been a revelation in his debut season. He single-handedly won the Four-year old championship for his yard, while he has performed genuinely in his other races. His last attempt saw him finish runner-up to Karraar, although he did not help himself by getting an average start.

He looked in good shape in his grass gallops, and he is capable of earning his connections yet another glamorous race.

The yard of Jean-Michel Henry has entered the duo of OOMPH – chosen by Cedric Segeon, and EASY LOVER (Rakesh Bhaugeerothee).

After a rough start, OOMPH has gone on to shine. He had no problems in winning the Three-year old championship, while his first race as a Four-year old saw him made it a hat-trick of wins. As a result, he has risen into the elite, and his yard has not hesitated in entering him in this golden race.

It is a serious test for this son of Tiger Ridge, and a place in the quartet would be deemed as a satisfactory result.

Stable mate EASY LOVER did not hit the right notes in his last two attempts, finishing unplaced. He is capable of doing better and he can make the frame in this, if he is able to rediscover his best form.

The winning trainer of the last two editions of this race has entered SPEED LIMIT (Brad Pengelly). After two brilliant wins in the 22nd and Maiden Cup meetings, he had to settle for 4th place in his latest. In solid shape, his best bet is a lower place finish.

DREAMFOREST (Doorgesh Bheekary) represents Preetam Daby’s yard. He was last seen competing in the Maiden Cup, finishing a long way behind Enaad. He is rated as just an outsider in this contest.

KREMLIN CAPTAIN is the Emergency Acceptor. He will go down as one of the finest horses trained by Ramapatee Gujadhur. Arriving as an unknown, he has gone on to strike 13 times, including a classic and two Group 1 races. He has not been in competition for the majority of this season due to a foot problem, and should one of the eleven runners be a late scratching, he will make just his third appearance.

This son of the late Captain Al has benefited from his last start, and comes into this race in good shape and form, also making quite an impression in his barrier trial. He is not prevented from landing this gigantic contest.