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KARACHI: All roads lead to the Karachi Racecourse at the end of the University Road and close to Malir Cantonment on Sunday where the blue-ribbon Quaid-i-Azam Gold Cup promises to offer action-packed spectacle.

The first race gets into action at 12.30pm.

Contrary to the long tradition of hosting the cup on Dec 25 since its launch in 1949, the holding of this year’s event has been delayed by five days.

“This was decided in Oct to give space to ailing horses to recover from equine flu they suffered during summer,” a source told Dawn in response to a query.

There are two instances in a decade that the Quaid-i-Azam Gold Cup did not coincided with the birth anniversary of the Quaid. In 2013 it took place on Dec 29 and again two years later it was held on Dec 26.

This year’s field of the Quaid-i-Azam Gold Cup is also the smallest ever as only four horses including the defending champion Big Bravo will battle it out for honours in the 10 furlongs race.

Five-year-old bay horse Big Bravo had created history of sorts by capturing both Derby and Quaid-i-Azam Gold Cup last year.

He will be up against six-year-old bay horse Toofan, five-year-old bay horse Class Leader and four-year-old bay filly Sweet Victory.

Class Leader had galloped to three-quarter-of-a-length victory over Big Bravo in the Quaid-i-Azam Trial Cup on Dec 15.

Besides four more cup races — the Rasheed Jung Memorial Cup, the Nursery Cup, the X-Mas Cup and the 2000 Guineas of Pakistan — are also on card for the day.

The late Rasheed Jung, who served as a KRC steward in the past, died recently.

A sum of approximately Rs2 million ($15,000) will be at stake in the classic, semi-classic and regular races in a nine-race card.

Quite a number of owners, riders and horses have come from the upcountry. Prominent riders from Lahore who have flown into the city include Aftab Chaudhry, Bilal Ahmed and A. Raza.

Meanwhile, the Racecourse has been tastefully decorated with buntings, flags besides whitewash to commemorate the annual big occasion.

Following is the field and selection:

THE M. RASHEED JUNG PLATE SCALE ORDER VIII-B — 4½ F:

Sarwan Rose 9-2, Secret Mind 9-0, Saudagar 9-0, Justify 8-10, Mehak 8-5, Quetta Queen 7-11, Killing Eyes 7-10, Aas Pass 7-10.

Win: Justify.

Place: Mehak and Queeta Queen.

THE M. RASHEED JUNG PLATE SCALE ORDER III & IV — 5 F:

Meri Saba 9-0, Tip Top 8-9, Baab-e-The Rani 8-5, Saba 8-5, Salam-e-Kaif 8-5, Lovely Baby 8-3, Luck Pass 8-1, Shining Arrow 7-11.

Win: Meri Sahiba.

Place: Tip Top and Lovely Baby.

THE M. RASHEED JUNG MEMORIAL CUP SCALE ORDER IV & V — 5 F:

Duran Duran 9-0, Native Prince 8-9, Whats App 8-4, Pari 8-3, Skype 8-1, Black Tiger 8-1, Renu Devi 8-1.

Win: Skype.

Place: Whats App.

THE NURSERY CUP — A TERM RACE FOR TWO-YEAR-OLD PAK COLTS AND FILLIES — 5 F:

Romeo 8-4, Victory King 8-4, Cigar Girl 8-1, Queen’s Best 8-1.

Win/Place: No selection.

THE X-MAS CUP SCALE ORDER I, II & III — 6 F:

Ayaash 10-0, Ghazi Gift 8-7, Winter 8-7, Swarovski 8-5, Dhannak 8-3, Big Frank 8-3.

Win: Winter.

Place: Ghazi Gift.

THE 2000 GUINEAS OF PAKISTAN — A TERM RACE FOR THREE-YEAR-OLD PAK COLTS AND FILLIES — I M:

Chief Sahab 8-7, Determination 8-7, Funky Twist 8-4, Most Gifted 8-4.

Win: Determination.

Place: Chief Sahab.

THE QUAID-I-AZAM GOLD CUP — A HANDICAP RACE FOR THREE-YEAR-OLD AND UPWARDS PAKISTANI HORSES — 10 F:

Big Bravo 10-6, Toofan 8-2, Class Leader 8-1, Sweet Victory 7-8.

Win: Class Leader.

Place: Big Bravo.

THE M. RASHEED JUNG PLATE SCALE ORDER V, VI & VII — 4½ F:

Don Khalifa 9-0, Black Smoke 8-9, Second Life 8-8, I. Gold 8-7, Hi Honey 8-4, Sonia Again 8-4, Sanam Kaif 8-4, Tiger Jet 8-2, Blue Revenue 7-10.

Win: Tiger Jet.

Place: Don Khalifa and Black Smoke.

THE M. RASHEED JUNG PLATE SCALE ORDER VIII-A — 4½ F:

Fakhr-e-Kashmir 9-2, Winning Direction 8-12, Sharapova 8-4, Sala Star 8-4,Pick Power 8-2, Paris 8-1, Fire N Furry 8-0, Sassy Gold 7-12.

Win: Sharapova.

Place: Pick Power and Fakhr-e-Kashmir.

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2018