The first Sunday of every February brings with it the most awaited event of the racing calendar – the Indian Derby at the Mahalaxmi Race Course in Mumbai. In its 74th year of existence, this is considered to be the mother of all horse racing events in India with this year’s total prize money being a whooping Rs. 3.6 crore, making it one of the richest payouts in a single event in India! However, there’s a small change you’ll notice – the McDowell’s Indian Derby (a name that has been synonymous with the event) has been renamed to Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby. This is a result of the single longest alliance in sporting history coming to an end after United Spirits Limited (USL) decided to withdraw sponsorship, hence giving way to United Breweries Ltd. (UBL), which will now co-sponsor the event.
If you’re heading to the races, here are 5 Derby Facts To Know Before You Head To The Races:
1. The Favourites:
Last year it was Dr. M. A. M. Ramaswamy’s champion colt Be Safe (trained by M Narredu) that took home the title of National Champion, breaking the course record in the bargain. This year, a lot of hopes ride on Pesi Shroff’s wonder filly, Myrtlewood, who recently won the Indian Oaks. Also look out for Phoenix Tiger and Bengaluru-based trainer S Padmanabhan’s Desert God, who won the Kolkatta Derby.
Watch last year’s derby race:
2. Dressing Up:
Known for its pretty ladies and large hats, you must certainly be dressed well to make your presence felt. If you’re visiting the Member’s enclosure (entry fees is Rs. 350), men must dress in a suit/ safari or a full-sleeved shirt topped with a tie/ blazer. Shoes are an absolute must! Ladies can wear anything but beachwear (well, duh). National dresses like dhoti or churidaar are also permitted. There’s not specific dress code for the public enclosure (entry fees is Rs. 30).
3. Know Your Information:
You’ve got to do some bit of research before you place your money right? Get your hands on one of the 3 pocket-sized race books available – Cole, BOL and Lucky Spinner that provide information about the horses, owners, trainers, past performances, statistics and of course the selections per race. These books are available for just Rs. 20 and are a worthy investment.
4. Must-Know Terms
While you dress pretty, you’ve got to sound smart too! These are some terms you need to know so that you don’t sound like a novice:
- Win: When you pick a horse to complete the race in 1st The minimum bet is Rs. 10 only.
- Place: When you pick a horse to complete in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd position (when 8 horses run) or 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th position (when 12 or more horses run) or 1st or 2nd position (when 7 or fewer horses run). The minimum bet is Rs. 10 only.
- Forecast Pool: When you pick two horses to finish 1st and 2nd. The minimum bet is Rs. 10 only.
- Quinella Pool: It is similar to the Forecast Pool, just that you win if your choices features finish 1st and 2nd or 2nd and 1st. The minimum bet is Rs. 10 only.
5. Hear The Horses:
This may sound funny, but the mannerisms and body language of horses speak volumes about their form. Here are signs something to look out for:
- Coat: A shinny coat is a sign of a healthy horse. If the coat doesn’t reflect sunlight then it’s a sign of a rusty horse.
- Eyes: Rolling eyes are a sign of fright or excitement while a steady, firm gaze signifies alertness.
- Tail: Raised tail is a sign of readiness to strike while a kinked one shows fear.
- Ears: An alert and ready horse will always flick his ears towards then jockey while mounting.
Hope these tips help you win some big bucks but certainly don’t forget your lady luck!