Invitational Cup 2013 in Kolkata - Day 1 : crowning of Native Knight and Nefyn

04/03/2013 - Découvertes
Far from the slums, Kolkata is one of the biggest cultural pole of India. Located in West Bengal, the former capital of the british Indian Empire has a population of 16 million inhabitants and kept a huge english inheritage in its architecture, philosophies and leisures. But as british as it could be, Kolkata is a true indian city and therefore colourful. The black london taxis turned yellow, and horses display the popular red dot, the tilak, on their foreheads as a good luck charm.


The Invitational Cup is a kind of the indian version of the breeders cup. To match with the size of the country, the territory is divided in five racing authorities : Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chinai and Kolkata. Once a year, all champions of the different areas gather to compete in four main events.


Native Knight triumphs in the Stayer's Cup.

The meeting started on Saturday 2nd March with the Stayers Cup. The big favorite is number 3 Native Knight, a son of the late Placerville, former champion sire of the Punawalla family, billionaires biggest breeders of the country who bred the 7yo gelding. Native Knight was runner up of the the 3200m longest race last year. Kolkata's track is only 2400m long and the event has to start in front of the stands.


The trainer Narendra Lagad and his wife, Bégum Shaherbanoo, consider the 7yo Native Knight, like a member of the family.

Native Knight did not let down the 30 000 racegoers. He is owned by a 20 people syndicate represented by Bégum Shaherbanoo, a royal lady married to the trainer Narendra Lagad.

Zavary Poonawalla, indian biggest breeder


The indian racing program is mostly based on sprints and the sprinter's cup is one of the feature Gr.1 race over 1200 m, with 80 000euros prizemoney to the winner. King of last year with his champion filly In The Spotlight, the trainer Padmanaban relies on number 8 Speed Six, carrying Vijay Malhya's silks, owner of the beer Kingfisher. He also looks after number 11, in the red silks, Klipspringer, a son of Diktat, who will be beaten but will score the following day in another big event ! No one really pays attention to number 5, the 7year old Nefyn, a walking disaster.


With his white face, Speed Six looks ti be sure to win the Sprinter's Cup but will be beaten in the last strengh by another chestnut horse, Nefyn, in the inside, under red and yellow color.

Speed Six looks dominant all race long until the last furlong, to be beaten by a nose by Nefyn. Nefyn is by the unknown american stallion Senure, a son of Nureyev out of the french mare Diese. Aged 7, Nefyn only had physical and health problems. Despite a terrible start, he was carried to victory by the old but useful irish rider Jimmy Fortune.


Nefyn, ridden par Jimmy Fortune.