Fairy tale ending to a record Indian Derby day - By Vivek Jain
Posted on - 09 Feb 2016
Fairy tale ending to a record Indian Derby day
By Vivek Jain
Ever since United Spirits wrote to the RWITC of their desire to withdraw their over 30 year association with the RWITC, virtually exactly six months ago, it became one of our top objectives to get the full sponsorship back and stage the Indian Derby with its usual magnificence and pomp.
Soon after the RWITC Committee elections in early September we, with single minded devotion, made this virtually our top priority, as the Derby is, after all, our jewel and what the Club is best known for in non racing circles. We made headway, with both USL and our new partner UBL, and in a matter of months, had settled the sponsorship. It finally took upto end January to sign the agreements due to several legal nuances, but pull it off, we did. And after the sun went down on Sunday after an exhausting day, a feeling of euphoria overtook everything else, as we staged perhaps one of the best Derbies ever, in spite of such uncertainty.
From the record stakes, to the massive attendance, to the high blitz promotion and finally to a terrific, exciting race, it had all the trappings of what a premium day should be, and perhaps matching anything the world has to offer. The flea market, beer and liquor stalls that had serpentine queues, to mannequins from the trees and foot tapping live music, we created just the ambience that had the crowd enthralled. The royal drive in the horse carriage led by trumpeters was greeted with cheers and applause and the final icing on the cake was the sporting spirit of two Bollywood A-listers, Saif Ali Khan and his wife Kareena, who weaved their way past hungry fans to present a Cup and even had the rare privilege to watch the big race from the Stewards car, in a rare promotional coup for the RWITC, to the delight of the shutterbugs and the teeming thousands.
So, soon after the Asian Racing Conference, the Club can add another feather on its cap. And deservedly, Dr Vijay Mallya applauded the Club at the presentation, and hinted at a long term association of Ultra with RWITC’s biggest brand. It takes enormous time and effort to stage an event of this magnitude. Its success will spawn others to the sport which was showcased in all its glory.
And finally the diminutive chestnut, Desert God, showed the guts of a street fighter to ward off the favourite Myrtlewood, in a heart stopping finale. If the day was captured on film, it had the makings of a potboiler, celebrity cast and all with a perfect, fairy tale ending!