All eyes will be on the Champ de Mars this Saturday, with the tenure of the Fashion Heights Barbe Cup (Group 1) at weight-for-age. With the last six Classic winners and a further two Group race winners entered, this golden contest is expected to be wide open from the word go.

RICKY MAINGARD: HOLDING ALL THE CARDS!

It is fair to suggest that last year’s race was the start of the shift in momentum that propelled Ricky Maingard to the Trainers’ Championship. Having nominated the trio comprising of FROSTED GOLD, defending race winner UNDERCOVER AGENT and reigning Champion Horse ALSHIBAA, he has made it known that he intends to keep hold of this race.

FROSTED GOLD came on song in the second half of his debut season, winning the Princess Margaret Cup, before doubling the score in the Duke Of York Cup. Already this season, he has already added another win to his tally, taking out the feature of the third meeting, earning his jockey Rye Joorawon his 400th career win in the process. His connections have decided to keep him fresh for this race, and he has looked bang on form at track work. The chances of this grey horse adding another Classic win for his trainer is to be taken very seriously.

UNDERCOVER AGENT’S (Jameer Allyhosain) fine 2021 campaign started with his gutsy win in this race last year, giving way to two more Group race wins and the Milers’ Championship. So far this season, he has yet to get going, finishing in the placings once in two outings. However, those two runs have done him plenty of good, as he is in vastly improved condition and form. It won’t be a surprise if he manages to show his true colours this time round.

Champion Horse ALSHIBAA (Bernard Fayd’herbe) was last seen winning the Maiden Cup for the second year in-a-row, the fourth horse to have done so. He returns to competition following an absence of 10 months, and it is correct to state that his big aim is to become the first horse to win Mauritius’ biggest sporting event three times in-a-row. He has been well-prepared for his racing return, and as he remains a genuine performer, he can make his presence felt.

 

GUJADHUR: WIN NUMBER 25 FOR ‘MR CLASSIC’?

The current trainer of Mauritius’ oldest Stable certainly knows a thing or two about winning Classic races, having recently saddled the winner of the Duchess Of York Cup. Victory here on Saturday will make it 25 Classic wins for him, and he has entered the duo of ROYAL WULFF (Jose de Souza) and BLACK CAT BACK (Sunil Bussunt) in order to achieve this big milestone.

ROYAL WULFF made it all about himself in the IndianOil Duchess Of York Cup, showing a powerful turn of foot to get the better of stable mate Shah Akbar. He went very close to confirming in the Derby Trial, finishing runner-up to Walls Of Dubrovnik, who went on to strike again. He has been a star performer at track work, and the possibility of him securing his second Classic win is more than a genuine possibility.

BLACK CAT BACK made his seasonal debut directly over the mile in the tenth meeting. He nearly made it all the way, ultimately finishing 3rd, under a length behind Crank It Up. He has come out very well from that run, and it would be a mistake to put a line through his chances, especially if he manages to dictate proceedings.

 

VINCENT ALLET: RIGHTING THE WRONGS OF 2019 AND ’21!

Tabascorez’s win in this race in 2007 was one of the major factors in Vincent Allet’s Championship winning season. He is still chasing his second win in this race, having seen Cool At Heart (2019) and TWIST OF FATE (2021) go so near yet so far. The latter makes his second start of the season and will no doubt be looking to make amends from his near-miss last season. He made it onto the podium in his seasonal debut and he has come out very well from that run, showing complete satisfaction at track work. At the very least, a bold showing is forthcoming from him with reigning Champion jockey Dinesh Sooful on board.

 

RAMESHWAR GUJADHUR: A SILENT HOPE ON ALYAASAAT?

Following The Gatekeeper’s coronation as Four-Year-old champion, the father and son duo of Rameshwar and Subiraj Gujadhur will look to ALYAASAAT (Chase Maujean) for their second straight Group 1 win. Formerly trained by the late Gilbert Rousset, this powerful finisher won numerous Group races, and finished runner-up in two Classic races. He made his seasonal debut for his new yard in the ninth meeting, doing well to complete the podium. He has benefited hugely from that run and will certainly appreciate running over the mile. It is correct to state that he merits tons of respect in this contest.

KAMADEVA (Roby Bheekary) has also been entered. He has proved to be a source of satisfaction for his connections, rising from the bottom all the way to the top. So far this season, he has raced twice, finishing in the placings on one occasion. He has looked very well in training, but considering he is competing against proven opponents at weight-for-age and over the mile, he is rated as just an outsider.

 

PREETAM DABY: FOURTH TIME LUCKY FOR STREAM AHEAD?

STREAM AHEAD (Michel Platini de Oliveira) can consider himself unlucky not to have won so far this season. If he saw victory dramatically snatched away by Red Mars in his seasonal debut, he has had to settle for the role as bridesmaid to Crank It Up in each of his last two runs. He remains well, but as he is up against very tough opponents, especially at weight-for-age, he will have to do be at his very best if he is to make it fourth time lucky.

 

PATRICK MERVEN: A SURPRISE IN STORE?

July was a fantastic month for Patrick Merven, as he saddled 11 winners. He will hope for more of the same this August, and representing him in this big race is HUBBLE (Anthony Andrews), who ended last season with three wins in four races.  His seasonal debut came in the feature race of the 4th meeting, with 8th place the best he could do. He has looked well in his recent workouts, but as he is competing against very tough competitors, he has a very tough task on his hands.

 

HOLY WARRIOR, newcomer for the Gujadhur Stable, is the Emergency Acceptor. A highly-rated stayer, he might have won just twice in South Africa, but was very competitive in the country’s higher-rated long distance races, competing against the likes of Nebraas and Silver Host, while in his last start, he was runner-up to a certain Sparkling Water – the latter having recently won the Hollywoodbets Durban July. He has been well-prepared for his debut, and even though the Maiden Cup is his main target, he is not prevented from introducing himself with a bang, if he gets in in the last minute.