Experts are unanimous that there is no clear cut favourite for the 71st running of the Indian Derby, but there is a strong likelihood of Wind Stream, owned by real estate magnet R K Wadhawan along with his partners and trained by the Bangalore-based professional Irfan Ghatala, getting installed as public choice moments before the 17 runners get stalled for one-in-a-lifetime contest that will decide the champion horse of the crop of 2009.
The Derby winning horse will take home a cool Rs 1.8 crore along with an exquisitely crafted gold trophy, but this greatest race of the year is more about the honour than about the money. At 5.30 pm sharp, in what is expected to be a record crowd, the starter will despatch 17 aspirants for the gruelling trip of mile-and-a-half, and nearly two-and-a-half minutes after that only one horse will create history, inscribing his or her own name into the Derby scroll of honour along with the connections--the owner, trainer, breeder and the jockey.
Shivalik Hero, Wind Stream, An Acquired Taste, Machiavellianism, Borsalino & Snowscape is my shortlist for the Derby, of which, I think the trio of Shivalik Hero, Wind Stream and Snowscape are likely to be concerned at the all-important end. I believe the recent form of the Kolkata Derby winner Snowscape is exceptional, and therefore, I nominate him to win the Derby.
First race at 1.15 pm.
Royal Challenge `Game For Life' Cup - Div II (Class V; 1200m)
Hawaiian Princess 1, Zanthos 2, Midnight Lady 3.
Four Seasons Cup (For 3y, maidens; 1600m)
Falcon 1, Circle Of Life 2, Mars 3.
Vladivar Cup (Class II; 1000m)
Anahi 1, Bullseye 2, Winter Wind 3.
Antiquity Blue `Fusion Of The Finest' Cup (Class III; 1600m)
Appalachia 1, Barringo 2, Winston 3.
R N Kanga Gold Trophy (For 4y&o; 1600m)
Ranthambhore 1, Smashing 2, Rajasthan Royals 3.
McDowell's No.1 Platinum Trophy (Class IV; 2400m)
Ice Cool 1, Monet 2, Sophisticated 3.
B K Rattonsey Memorial Maiden Multi-Million (For 3y, maidens; 1200m)
Trance 1, Stiletto 2, Silver Streak 3.
McDowell Signature Premier Indian Derby Gr 1 (For 4y; 2400m)
Snowscape 1, Shivalik Hero 2, Wind Stream 3.
Royal Challenge `Game For Life' Cup - Div I (Class V; 1200m)
Ice Age 1, Stormyday 2, Ceasarina 3.
Best bet: Appalachia (4-7)
Good bet: Trance (7-11)
Chance bet: Anahi (3-8)
Upset: Suntan Beauty (1-15) & An Acquired Taste (8-1)
Super jackpot poo: 4,5,6,7,8,9
Jackpot pool: I - 3,4,5,6,7; II - 5,6,7,8,9
Treble pool: I - 2,3,4; II - 6,7,8; III - 7,8,9
Tanala pool: All races