Derby diaries. . . .
This weekend saw the most awaited day in the annual racing calendar.
The Indian derby,is held on the 1st Sunday of February every year, in Mumbai,it is one of the most prestigious races in the country. The winner is crowned the best horse of the year in India . Run over a distance of 2400 meters, it’s a test of speed, stamina, and skill. The jockey is equally important during a race for he can judge his horse’s capacity and must decide when to push the horse ahead (the brain to the brawn). The winnings are shared by the owners, the trainers and the jockey. Indian horses have even been making a mark on the international front since the last two decades.
Horses with a capacity to win bigger races are flown over to Dubai and Hong Kong. Race horses enjoy princely quarters and even have coolers (if the horse prefers the cooler temperatures), imported oats, dedicated vets, and personal groomers.
They have tread mills and swimming pools for their daily exercise. They love eating leaves called “loosun” a sort of a salad.
Their shoes are usually made of steel or aluminium, sometimes with a bit of a heel.
Derby Contenders are specially flown down to Mumbai from other racing centres such as Bangalore, Calcutta and Hyderabad. As are some world renowed jockeys, who are specially flown in for the race from England, Ireland etc.
Horses are proud and aware when they win and rejoice. They also remember when they get visited by us. I had the pleasure of one such occasion, when i met one of our a filly’s at the stable, she was a beautiful chestnust brown coloured girl with 3 white socks. (which is what i called her with love). Everytime i visited the stable she’d stop in her tracks holding up all the horses behind her on their evening roll. Her eyes rolling in my direction.
After the racing years are passed, they usually retire as stallions or in private farms, to lead a happy relaxed retired life.
some equally anxious horses, last minute off loading!
time to put your money where your mouth is!
celebrations and jubilations! Vijay Mallya sponsor of the race arrives in his spanking new Rolls Royce flanked by the customary horsemen (a quaint tradition remnant of the british raj, gives a royal touch to the prize distribution ceremony)
a day well spent, time to head home !