The McDowell Signature Indian Derby 2009 was (as you know) India’s much awaited rendezvous for the Bold & Beautiful this past weekend. India’s most prestigious race and the premier fashion event of Mumbai “McDowell Signature Indian Derby”, was back with a bang this year with a record prize amount of Rs 1.75 crores, for the first time in the Indian racing history.
Apparently “Saddle Up”, the Signature (and somewhat cheesy sounding) cocktail for the McDowell Signature Indian Derby, named after Dr. Vijay Mallya’s legendary horse was served to all guests. Keeping with the Derby traditions worldwide, this Signature whiskey based cocktail was a special summer cocktail which will be served at the Derby every year.
Apart from the races, performances by International Ariel ballet and Salsa artistes were introduced for the first time. Kaytee Namgyal, Sophie Choudry and the Salsa India company performed salsa and tribute performances to the Beatles, Rolling Stone & Cliff Richard. Rocky S. presented models Simran Kaur Mundi and Sarah Jane in his race inspired dresses.
As I mentioned their specially designed 9000 sq ft air-conditioned “hanger” featured a flea market, tarot readers, Derby hats, face sketching and several other attractions for visitors.
Besides the high stakes a lucky patron Mr. Sanjay Shah drove away in a gleaming new Mercedes, as a part of the Derby sweepstakes while Mr. Usman Rangila won his weight in whiskey!
The McDowell Signature Indian Derby was won by “Antonios” owned by Farouq, JK Rattonsey and Hussain Nensey, trained by S.S. Shah, jockey was Sylvestor Dsouza. The owners, trainer and jockey were ecstatic by the suprise win of Antonio over favourites “Set Alight” and “Autonomy“. Mrs. Rekha Mallya gave away the derby Tropy. Also present were the (official) Mallya children Siddharth & Laila. I stress official because this one night at Play (a night club in Lower Parel, Mumbai) Siddharth introduced himself to (a fairly shocked) me as Vijay Mallya’s “legitimate” son!
Spotted: Zavaray Poonawala with daughters Delna and Simone, Dr Cyrus Poonawala, Mohit Burman, Dallas Toddywala, Riyadha Oomerbhoy, Randhir Kapoor, Esther & Raju Daswani, Rashmi Nigam, Devita Saraf, Shaan Khanna, Akbar Khan, Adar Poonawala, Mohit Lalvani, Gary Lawyer and Madhur Bajaj
Racing draws its share of celebrities form all walks of life. Who can after all resist the glamor associated with the Sport of Kings. Bollywood’s great owners included Raj Kapoor, Mehmood, and the Sippy’s of Sholay as well as Sanjay Khan. In fact the first horse he had ever bought was in partnership with the Actress Sadhana and was named after their hit film, Intaqam. The partnership clicked. In 1970, they bought a son of Rock of Gibralter in the auction ring for a 1.35 lakhs and in 1972, this horse – named Prince Khartoum for the record, won the Derby by a short head. Since then his brother Feroz Khan achieved great success with his filly, Winning Pretty.
The first Indian Derby in 1943 offered a purse of just about Rs. 35,000. Pesi Shroff was the winning jockey astride Revelation. In the year 1985, Dr. Mallya’s group picked up the sponsorship of the race and made it into the extravagant social sporting and fashion event it is today.