Record breaking Indian Derby to set hearts a flutter - By Vivek Jain
Posted on - 31 Jan 2014
Record breaking Indian Derby to set hearts a flutter
By Vivek Jain
Our Club’s mega event, The McDowell Signature Indian Derby, needs no introduction. Year after year it gets bigger and bolder, and records are being set even before the big day on Sunday. The 30th successive running under the McDowell prefix, a record in itself makes it easily the longest running sponsorship of any sporting event in the country. And the prize money of a whopping 3.2 crore this year, or over half a million dollars with the winner scooping just under 2 crore, is yet another record, unparalleled in the history of this sport, and fittingly under the aegis of the RWITC.
250 horses will compete for record stakes of 4.6 crores, the highest for a racing weekend.
To expect upwards of 25,000 to throng Mahalaxmi is now par for the course. A variety of reasons have prevented a promotion overkill, but nonetheless a sea of humanity will descend on the hallowed lawns of this great course, celebrating its grand 130th year later this season. As always it will be more than just the magnificent steeds that will set hearts a flutter. The ladies may swoon at the sight of Akshay Kumar, the Bollywood hunk that will be the ambassador for the day, and a host of music, fashion and magic events will regale the members in the mammoth air conditioned tent, and also in the paddock. The names are international and the carnival setting will once again bring lifestyle and sport together, and the recipe for what makes Derby Day so very special.
As always the weekend packs grandeur and style on the lawns with top class racing with haute couture as much a part of the ensemble as the thoroughbreds! Expect black dresses to dominate the landscape, set off with flowery hats and linen suits. The packed stands not only shout home the winners, but it is also de riguer to ogle at the fashion, to see and be seen! In a rare promotional innovation, we are having a dozen jockeys dressed in McDowell and RWITC silks move around the city in an open air bus, to announce the big race. And talking of cars, we will drive Dr Mallya to the presentation dias on the track in a rare 1908 vintage – a Woseley Landaulet to bring a touch of heritage to the day.
In the background of all this hype, will be the real stars- the horses, who have trained for two solid years with this one race in mind. 15 will line up at 5.30, and in under two and a half minutes flat, a new champion will be crowned. As many as six are fillies, including the first three in the Indian Oaks, and the recent record of fillies winning theDerby has probably encouraged their participation. But on form, the stand out appears to be Murioi, the turf baron Dr.M.A.M. Ramaswamy’s star, and it will take a special performance indeed from his challengers to test him. But the Derby has been won by rank outsiders, and with a field of highly bred classic horses, it could well be anybody’s race.
A media blitz in the mainstream media, social media, selfie, live streaming and live on NEO Sports is in keeping with our efforts to showcase the sport in all its glory.
So the mega event is finally here!
Be there to be part of this spectacle!