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Indian Derby to scale a new high on Sunday - By Vivek Jain

Posted on - 04 Feb 2011

Indian Derby to scale a new high on Sunday
 
By Vivek Jain
 
It’s time to dust your hats and pull out your finest attire. For, its Derby time! The 2011 McDowell Signature Indian Derby will set a new record and is the perfect showcase of what a racing event of this magnitude is all about.
 
From the prize money to the entertainment, the quality of the race to the record crowd expected, it has the makings of a real humdinger. The record prize money of nearly 2.2 crore has not only set a new benchmark for a single sporting event in the country, but is the fore runner of a massive build up as the UB Group and the RWITC is set to ink a renewal of the agreement till 2017, at a mind boggling near 28 crore. The prize pool for the race is set to surpass 3 crore and touch 3.5 crore in the years ahead, nudging it to international levels.
 
In under two and a half minutes a new champion will be crowned. Though there is no Jacqueline this year to wow the attendance, a top draw field of a dozen, represented by the best four year olds in the land with regional Derbies under their belt will bid to create history. Ocean and Beyond, the obvious favourite is thought of as an all-time superstar, but will have his task cut out by some champion fillies, notably Moonlight Romance and Xisca who have both won Derbies in impressive style. A new track record is on the anvil as several pacemakers will set the track ablaze from jumpout.
 
From the RWITC’s perspective, it will be a momentous occasion as the partnership with the UB Group enters an un-interrupted 27 years, perhaps the longest continuous sponsorship of any sporting event in the world of this magnitude. We will celebrate the new landmark agreement on Sunday as Dr Vijay Mallya will sign the new contract on the victory dias, and we hope to bring some pomp and pageantry to the occasion by having him drive up in an open air vintage convertible on the main track serenaded by a pair of horses with liveried syces, trotting to the tunes of an Army Band!
 
All of Mumbai descends on Mahalaxmi’s green turf, to gape with awe at the 16,000 sq ft air-conditioned tent that will be the buzz of activity for the two-day carnival. Tribute acts to rock legend Fredie Mercury and the Pussy Cat Dolls will share the spotlight with an acrobatics performance by the Shaolin Monks from China. The flea market inside makes it easy to spend time between races and this can also be witnessed on the large screen.
 
In yet another innovative step, the RWITC is conducting a miniature treasure hunt on Sunday to help familiarise first timers to the history of the Derby and the splendid environs of the Club. Contests on the Club’s new emphasis on social media initiatives on Facebook and Twitter with a host of prizes will add to the fun quotient and is a trend that will catch on in the months ahead.
 
From the unique Breakfast with Champions to a post position draw evening featuring the Ministry of Fashion models accompanied by a rustic Rajasthani folk Group, we have ensured a heady build up to Derby Day. We expect the media blitz to scream on through the weekend and after. It’s a rare day where such top quality sport rubs shoulders with leisure and entertainment of equal standing, making for an unmatched heady mix, for which the RWITC is becoming increasingly identified with.

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