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The Derby carnival rides into town - By Mohit Lalvani

Posted on - 02 Feb 2019

The Derby carnival rides into town
By Mohit Lalvani
IT’S the Indian Derby weekend and the carnival kicks off today with an evening of racing under the stars with strong race card, food and music. For those who have never been to a night race meet, it’s an experience worth ticking off. It’s the equivalent of the IPL or D/N cricket and the colours come to light; even the turf looks greener.
The festivities will run till at least 10 PM and will lead into the Sunday race day with DJ Preeti and On Empire with Shibani Kashyap also joining in with a cameo. However, the real stars of the show will be the thoroughbreds. In fact, its arguable that never has a race day of this quality ever been offered at Mahalaxmi race course.
There is a total of four graded races including the Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby which will see Sir Cecil defend his unbeaten tag. The fillies Adjudicate and For Your Eyes are two that he will have to watch out as well as the colt, Star Superior. So far, it is Star Superior that has run closest to Sir Cecil but that was over a shorter distance. This is likely to be a different story and it’s hard to see Star Superior reverse the form over the Derby distance. He is the first pick with Adjudicate looking the real danger.
The race card will also see the return of Serjeant At Arms to the track in the grade 3, Rusi Patel Trophy. Many will remember that he was favourite for the Derby two years ago before returning down to his best trip of a mile and winning the Super Mile. He then ambitiously went to the US and performed with reasonable distinction even if he didn’t win. There is great anticipation to see him on the race track and reclaim his title as the best miler in India.
The S.M. Shah Eclipse Stakes of India is a grade 2 race run over 2000 metres and the Derby winner from three years ago will likely be favourite. He is trained by Sir Cecil’s trainer, S. Padmanabhan and will be ridden by David Allan. For punters, looking to make a fast buck, look for a horse called Salazaar here who has looked extremely impressive in his workouts.
With a graded race for the juveniles too, Derby day will have the very best on tap. Fashion and style will be at the forefront and with about 35,000 visitors to Mahalaxmi, it is the only destination in town.  

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