20190203_182813 (1) (1)Nothing could have prepared me for the derby experience – least of all for the mother of all races – The Kingfisher ULTRA Indian Derby 2019 which is synonymous with high fashion and ‘GOOD TIMES’  in the country.

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The fourth edition of the iconic derby was termed as extravagant with its great line-up of thoroughbreds and the city’s crème-de-la-crème in attendance.   Also it was thrilling to witness and experience the roar of thunderous applause that ensued once the horses were galloping on the track and the subsequent gasps of astonishment as the thoroughbreds crossed the finishing line,  it was an experience never to be forgotten.

kingfisherAt the entry of the Mahalaxmi racecourse gate itself we could feel the anticipation of the people as they thronged into the premise. People far and beyond – fashionistas and horse race enthusiasts from all walks of lives, under one roof – to celebrate and witness this most iconic Derby which is hosted in Mumbai.

Easily considered the best and biggest of all Derbies in India, horse owners, best of the thoroughbred horses, trainers, and jockies make headway to the Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby which is a good 2400 meter race across the circular track at Mahalaxmi race course.

20190203_191448 (1) (1)The weekend leading up to the Derby was indeed more than just a race, it was a festive atmosphere with a glamourous prelude of grand magnitude. The Run-up to the Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby kicked off with much fanfare at the Breakfast With Champions with a behind the scenes look at the horses.  We were given a glimpse into the world of horse racing and even the grooming and preparation which goes on before the  derby by several horse race enthusiasts, owners of the stables, trainers of the thoroughbred horses.

We waited in anticipation for the derby to begin,  the excitement was almost palpable.  Luckily, we got a prelude to the same with some interesting races which precedes the main derby.

derbyGetting a feel of the place, and settling into the environment and after a few chit-o-chats we land up betting on one of races and as luck prevailed,  we  made our first win with ‘No.4 Headway’.  We now have our sights on ‘The’ race with #SirCecil #Adjudicate #StarSuperior being the hottest contenders to win.  Btw: you can place your bets for as little as Rs.10 going up to astronomical figures ( depending on  how adventerous you feel).

20190203_181951 (1) (1)Closer to the race time, we watch the ground being prepared, with the horse and jockies doing the warm up on the racing ground (this time they will race on the grass-ground track instead of the  practices on the mud track.  I am told these horses running the derby race are all aged 4yrs, (all horses in here celebrate their birthdays on the 1st of Jan), so its easier to have them in one age group category.  The focus on the derby which is a good 2400 meter racing track is all about speed and stamina.  Sir Cecil and his other contenders Star Superior, Adjudicate, Vintage have a great previous track records and have shone in other races held across the country at different races.

cecilThe race began with the competition being very tight between Sir Cecil who everyone was rooting for,  but at the very last second, Star Superior galloped away at lightening speed to claim the ultimate fame!   Star Superior was one of the favourites  to win the Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby and he/she lived up to the expectation with fine display of speed and stamina.  Sir Cecil the famed grey stallion finished at No.3 spot and Adjudicate at No.2 spot.

Winning horse at Kingfisher Ultra Derby, 2019

Star Superior owner Mr. Zavaray Poonawalla & Mrs. Behroze Poonawalla, representing Poonawalla racing and breeding; Mr. Adar Poonawalla representing Viloo Poonawalla racing & Breeding; Rajesh Narredu & Sanjay kumar Shinde, took home Rs 1.2 crore as prize money and were immensely proud of their achievement while receiving the trophy from Mr. Gurpreet Singh, Divisional Vice president Marketing, United Breweries Limited

Star Superior With the Owners and Trainer (1)Commenting on his win, Jockey Suraj Narredu said “That this victory was extra special as the winner was trained by his younger brother Rajesh Narredu. Rajesh Narredu dedicated this victory to his family and thanked the Poonawalla family who owns Star Superior.”

The top three of the Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby -2019 are:

Sr.no Horse name Owner Trainer Jockey
1. Star Superior Poonawalla, Narredu Rajesh Narredu Suraj Narredu
2. Adjudicate Mrs. D. Khaitan J.E. Mckeown A Sandesh
3. Sir Cecil Mr. Tegbir Singh Brar S.Padmanabhan David Allan

This year’s derby weekend was truly one-of-a– kind experience as it offered the best of the world of racing, music and fun.  Crowds moved and swayed to tunes of the artists  DJ Chico and Preeti who had put up a scintillating performances by Forefront and OnEmpire.

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All-in-all this was one of the most momentous occasion for us, and it won’t be forgotten easily.  SirCecil, Adjudicate and of course of winner of Kingfisher ULTRA India Derby 2019 – Star Superior, remain etched in our memories !