Indian Derby day scales new highs with a new partnership - By Vivek Jain
Posted on - 04 Feb 2016
Indian Derby day scales new highs with a new partnership
By Vivek Jain
It is the time of the year when the RWITC hosts one of its grandest and most eagerly looked forward to events - The Indian Derby. The famous race, of iconic status, has a new nomenclature this year, thanks to our tireless efforts to bring on board two liquor giants together under an integrated banner - The Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby partnered by Signature, and hence the race retains its rightful place at the top of the sporting pyramid, when all seemed lost a short few months ago.
D-Day has already started breaking records before a near all time high field of 20 breaks through the gates. The prize money, swept past the 1 crore barrier in 2007, jumped to over 2 crore in 2010 and hurtled past 3 crore in 2013. This year's purse of over Rs.3.62 crore scales a new high, and makes it, by far, one of India's biggest sporting events, and is surely the fastest sport to scoop such a lavish sum in just over two minutes of exhilarating speed! This year's winning stakes of 2.17 crore is also a new record and the first time an Indian Derby winner gets a 2 cr+ payout. In yet another first, our total prize money for the weekend will be a notch above 5 cr, another new high.
For this we offer our gratitude and thanks to both UBL and USL and their managements for their confidence in both the RWITC and the event.
Full credit for the magnificent growth of the Derby to its present stature must go to Dr Vijay Mallya, who as Chairman of United Spirits first sponsored the Derby in 1985, when sponsorship was unheard of, and his passion and zeal both for the sport and for the Signature brand, and which has made the race what it is today. And the path breaking partnership to bring the first co branded Derby in history was largely due to his initiative and backing, as he is Chairman of both United Breweries, the title sponsor, and United Spirits, who also sets a record of a 32nd consecutive year of being associated with this mega event. As this is the 74th running of The Indian Derby, it is remarkable that nearly half have been run under The UB Group banner.
The Weekend Racing Carnival will be staged in its now customary pomp and splendor, which makes the RWITC a runaway leader in promoting its race days with such grandeur. In addition to live performances by well known artists (Gary Lawyer and The Other People on both days) the Li'll Flea Market, food courts and bars will dot the Mahalaxmi landscape, which abuts the sweep of the Arabian Sea. A luxury car is up for grabs in a contest, gaming zones can win free betting vouchers, and finally the drive to the track in a horse drawn carriage for the trophy presentation, with a Jazz band leading the way, will give the day a royal touch. Add to this the first ever unveiling of a jockey statuette in the Derby winning silks, you have a day replete with entertainment.
The Club has pulled out all the stops to make it a day to remember for upwards of 25,000 will fill up all the spaces on the sprawling lawns. If the packed Breakfast with Champions was any indication, the D Day should see a new record. A media blitz, topped off by live coverage on Neo Prime and our new partner, Bloomberg, will bring all the action to millions of homes, but nothing can beat the electrifying on ground atmosphere that the Day brings. The relaxed dress code and reduced entry is in deference to attract the young and fashionable, so expect flowery hats and skirts, linen jackets and designer shoes, where it will be de rigueur to see and be seen! A big splash on social media and the introduction of a Derby Race Form akin to the well known Daily Form Guide in the US, by a technology partner, just proves the effort we are making to drive up the bar to promote the sport.
The on track action is a cracker in itself, with a wide open race, and Lady Luck playing as important a part. The double classic winner, Myrtlewood, leads the pack even though she is the only filly with a hope, with Costa Del Sol, Phoenix Tiger, Desert God, all expected to be right up there. For finally the real star of the day is the equine, all glistening on the emerald green turf, though the biggest winner, whoever wins, is our magnificent sport of thoroughbred racing, as well as the Club, as we walk the talk in our relentless pursuit to showcase the Weekend in its mightiest glory.