UB Group, RWITC Attest Multi-Crore 'Signature' - By Mahendra Mallya
Posted on - 28 Jan 2011
UB Group, RWITC Attest Multi-Crore 'Signature'
McDowell Pump in Whopping Rs 28 Cr for Indian Derby
By Mahendra Mallya
The Indian Derby (Grade 1) raised its undisputed status even higher, as the premier horseracing extravaganza in India to compete right up there with any other sport in the country. In fact, with the new agreement between the sponsors, the United Spirits Limited and the RWITC, the Grade-1, McDowell Signature Indian Derby is officially the richest individual sporting event with unprecedented stakes, fast nudging the INR Two-Crore-Plus mark!
In a historic Sponsorship deal, the country's premier Turf Club, the RWITC and the leading breweries giant - the United Spirits Ltd (USL) signed an agreement, wherein the Indian Derby will remain the property of the USL for the next five years (2013 - 2017). The sponsorship amount, it was revealed at a press conference on Thursday, 27th January 2011, was it the region of a whopping INR 28 Crores! This is the richest and longest sponsorship association. The UB Group have remained the Sponsors for the Indian Derby since 1985, and ‘The McDowell Indian Derby' was first run in that year. For the last couple of years, it has been ‘The McDowell Signature Indian Derby'.
An evidently content Chairman of the RWITC, Mr Vivek Jain said, "It is the biggest sponsorship deal in the history of the Indian Horse Racing scenario and perhaps the biggest in terms of stakes (Prize money to the winner) for any individual sporting event in India. It also emphasizes the tremendous faith the UB Group has in the RWITC. I had a talk with Dr Vijay Mallya when he was at the racecourse in late December. I reminded him that the Derby sponsorship contract was coming up for renewal and he was spontaneous in his reply confirming his intent to extend the sponsorship and assured me that the UB representatives would finalize and seal the new agreement. That has now been done and we have shaken hands".
Mr Amrit Thomas, Executive Vice-President, USL, who addressed the media, said, "The McDowell Signature Indian Derby is an iconic event and the USL is proud to be associated with this high-profile race for the classy thoroughbreds. This is the most coveted crown in horseracing. With 27 years of our continued association with the Indian Derby, it is perhaps the longest extended corporate association for an elite sport in India. The McDowell Signature Indian Derby is a 'Signature' moment that crowns the best horse in India and is a shining example of a great lifestyle sporting event that firmly places Mumbai and India on the world Derby map."
Mr Vivek Jain also announced that as a bonus, the Indian St Leger, which will be henceforth run in Pune, will also be sponsored by the UB Group. This will add a lot of colour to the Pune season and with a healthy list of sponsored races in Pune, the Indian St Leger will be an ideal 'sign off' for the Indian Classic at the end of the year.
Looking at the immediate rosy Classic picture in the current season, the McDowell Signature Indian Derby weekend is scheduled to take off on the 5th and 6th of February 2011. A sublime lead-up is on the cards. The "Breakfast with the Champions" an interesting exercise to follow the final work-outs of the actual Derby contenders, will be held on the 3rd of February 2011 early in the morning (6 30 am). The media have been invited to witness the fast gallop of the horses under the Derby 'spotlight'.
After a quick breakfast, the media gathering would then be taken on a guided tour to the restricted stable areas, where they will be familiarized with the routine of the horses at their residence. A tour of the equine swimming pool and the equine hospital is sure to draw a lot of interest and insight to the media personnel. And for the first time, an opportunity for the gathering to witness a racehorse workout on an equine treadmill galloping at high speed. Most of the media persons were already excited to the idea of watching a race horse in motion on a treadmill.
On the same evening, the now popular "Post Position Draw Party" will be held at the racecourse. This event is to provide the connections of the horses an opportunity to pick the draw for their respective Derby representatives themselves and to play a part in the fortunes of the draw number for their horses. This event will be blended with a mix of spectacular fashion, music and entertaining shows, followed by cocktails and dinner.
"On the Derby weekend", Mr Thomas informed, "A huge air-conditioned hangar covering 16,000 square feet will be available for members and their guests to relax and the entertainment lined up, would be of top international quality. Internationally famous artists will provide top class entertainment," he assured.
A tribute to Freddie Murphy and the Pussycat Dolls will be the highlight of the weekend entertainment. Billy West, regarded as Europe's best clone of Freddie Murphy will have the crowds enthralled. Sharing the space with him will be the Pussycat Dolls. There will be a special breathtaking display of Martial Art artistry by the specially flown in Shaolin Monks, masters in the act. The Derby weekend then, is all set to bring in the best of entertainment from across the globe, off the race track. The equine champions on the race track will provide the ultimate icing on the cake!
Mr Vivek Jain and Mr Amrit Thomas jointly unveild the Trophy for The McDowell Signature Indian Derby 2011 amidst thunderous applause. The golden 'Horse-and-rider' exquisitely crafted Trophy looked most attractive and the flash bulbs were working over time to catch a perfect picture of this awesome prize. The trophy is valued at Rs 1,00,000/-.
A record stakes of over INR 2.18 Crores will be offered as prize money and the winner is expected to net in the region of Rs 1.3 Crores. Multi-Classic winners, Ocean And Beyond and Moonlight Romance seem the closely matched pair as favorites for the Derby. The Wadhawan camp are sitting pretty, as both the top horses come from their string. Sunlight, another quality filly, will look to create a flutter and the Wadhawan camp wouldnt mind that either, as she too comes from the same stables.
Mr Jain and Mr Thomas then raised a toast - the traditional Derby toast, christened the "Saddle Up" Cocktail, named after Dr Vijay Mallya's famous horse Saddle up, who won the Champion horse title overseas.
The countdown has begun. The anticipation is in the air. The Indian Derby is round the corner and the city of Mumbai is gearing up to savor the unmatched excitement of the only race that stops the city - The McDowell Signature Indian Derby (Grade 1).