The road to the Maiden Cup begins this Sunday, with the start of the Group 3 Winter Stakes, which is also the first leg of the Stayers’ Championship. Just six runners line up in this 1850 metre contest, and it is the duo of ALSHIBAA and PERPLEXING, who share a rivalry, that stand out.

The Champ de Mars racecourse has witnessed some tremendous rivalries, whether it is horses, jockeys and even trainers. It is correct to say that the rivalry involving ALSHIBAA (Derreck David) and PERPLEXING (Rye Joorawon) is one that has captivated Mauritian turf over the past year. Both have faced off on numerous occasions, and it is the former that is in front by a score of 2-1.
Both runners did their best in their respective seasonal debuts, landing on the final podium spot. Having come out very well from those runs, they are in good order, and another duel for the win is forthcoming here.

MADE TO CONQUER (Cedric Ségeon), Gujadhur stable’s second runner, makes his second start here. This pure stayer did not disgrace himself in the Duchess Of York Cup, over the 1400 metres. In vastly improved condition, he will relish the 1850 metres and is capable of showing his true colours this time round.

OPERA ROYAL (Jameer Allyhosain) performed averagely in his seasonal debut. The defending champion stayer is in better shape and form and as the longer trip is in his favour, he can make his presence felt.

The Praveen Nagadoo-trained duo of MORNING CATCH (Yashin Emamdee) and TEN GUN SALUTE (Dinesh Sooful) complete the line-up. The former looks to be the sole frontrunner in this contest and it will be interesting to see if he can make it. The latter’s recent form does not make good reading and he has alot to do if he is to take the honours.