The first leg of the Sprinters’ championship takes centre stage in this Saturday’s third meeting, with 8 runners from 7 yards lining up in this Group 3 contest, named after the legendary Noble Salute, one of the finest racehorses to have graced Mauritian turf in the 1980s.
Last year’s race witnessed Blow Me Away scoring an extraordinary win. Despite a very bad start, he quickly recovered and progressed all the way to the front. He showed plenty of courage to fend off the attentions of Charles Lytton, Prince Of Thieves and Reim in the final stages.
One racehorse which has legendary status here is TANDRAGEE, who will embark on his 7th season. His 2017 campaign was marked by his stunning win in the Barbe Cup, contributing heavily to his yard’s Grand Chelem. The decision of his yard to keep him in competition must be fully respected, as even at the ripe old age of 9, this double classic and multiple Group race winner remains on very good terms of himself.
He has benefited from a very long break and is in excellent shape and form. With Jamie Theriot on board, he can reproduce his 2014 win in this race.
ERNIE had a fine debut season, striking three times, including the Group 3 Lightning Cup. His last start saw him complete the podium, 0.85 lengths behind Speed Limit – a good result considering he was stuck wide for the majority of the race.
He has been in preparation mode since the start of the year, constantly progressing. He is capable of earning his yard and Cedric Segeon their second wins in a Group race this season.
CAPTAIN SWAROVSKI (Derreck David) made his debut in the Duchess Of York Cup, where he was an afterthought, finishing a distant 6th. This Alain Perdrau-trained gelding has come out well from that race and will relish running over the 990 metres. He warrants major respect in this contest.
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE (Juan Paul Van der Merwe) showed complete satisfaction in his debut season. He won three times and finished on the podium in three other races. He failed to crack the placings in his previous outing after encountering difficulties.
This Rameshwar Gujadhur-trained gelding has been a revelation in training, clocking some eye-catching chronos in the process. It may be tough task for him against proven opponents, but it would be a major mistake to put a line through his chances here.
STEP TO FAME (Dinesh Sooful) can be considered as a specialist over this short sprint, as all five of his wins have occurred over this trip. He had to make do with two wins in 2017, while he finished unplaced in his last three races and was found to be lame in his last race in the Duke Of York Cup meeting.
He comes into this contest in good condition and if he is very close to his optimal form, he can make it.
Gilbert Rousset’s yard has won this race twice with Green Keeper (2012) and Polar Royale (2015). They will look to CHARLES LYTTON for win number three on Saturday. This six-year old may have showed complete satisfaction in his debut season, but it was a tough 2017 campaign, as he was unlucky on some occasions, as well as failing to show up in some of his races.
He has come out well from the break and he showed a good attitude in his gallops. With Pravesh Horil up, he is entitled to make his presence felt.
PSYCHO SYD (Richard Oliver) had to settle for just one win in his debut season. He did finish three times in the money, while he was a disappointment in some of his showings.
He has been a consistent presence in training in recent weeks, and as he hails from an in-form yard, coupled with the fact he is carrying only 52 kg, he can give the main favourites a big run for their money.
NORDIC WARRIOR (Sunil Bussunt) raced seven times last season, winning just once and landing two place finishes. Even if he is not close to the form of his early days in Mauritius, he still remains a competitor with full of courage. He is not prevented from landing a place in the quartet here.
ZUD WES, a new arrival at Shirish Narang this season, is the Emergency Acceptor, and will make his debut, should there be a late scratching. A son of Western Winter, he is a pure sprinter, having won four times. He has looked in solid form in his trials and it is worth keeping a good eye on him.