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Spotlight wins hot fight

Photographer Pradeep Dhivar was at Indian racing's big-ticket event, the Derby yesterday at Mahalaxmi, where it was all about hats, hooves and hurrahs


Spotlight gets it right: The winning horse with jockey Martin Dwyer
(up) and (r) trainer S Padmanabhan and an elated owner, Jamshed Appoo
(extreme r) after bagging Indian racing's most coveted prize, the Derby
at Mahalaxmi yesterday

It was been there, won that for Dombivali (w) resident, Anil Prabhakar Bhoir (42) who seemed tongue-tied when he went on the dais to receive his prize on Sunday evening, in front of a mammoth Derby crowd at Mahalaxmi. The transporter (he owns a slew of buses and vans which he rents out to corporates) had just won a contest of skill at the racecourse; he took home the keys to a Mercedes Benz car. "Well done, you won a Mercedes," Derby sponsor Vijay Mallya said to him, even as Bhoir took the huge, cardboard cutout keys to the car, which were of course, symbolic of the real keys which would be handed to him later. Bhoir predicted the first four horses of the Derby in the correct order, In the Spotlight (1), Smashing (2), Field Marshal (3) and Pronto Pronto (4). 


Lawn warrior: This little lady gets a feel of which horse to pick at
Mahalaxmi yesterday. Race books were a must buy accessory on D-Day
so that punters could make their choice


He said later, "I have no words right now to express my happiness I am so surprised, but of course, this surprise is a very pleasant one."

Bhoir added that, "I am not a regular punter, which means that I do not attend every race of the season, but I do make it a point to attend the Derby and some other major races."


Hat or what? Natasha Poonawalla believed in making a bold and
somewhat bizarre statement that had the photographers snapping wildly
as she appeared on the lawn in this hat, while the prize giving ceremony
was on


Bhoir who had come to the races with a friend, returned home to break the news to his joyous family - his parents, his wife and a daughter who is 12 and son who is 9. Bhoir has been called to the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) office today (Monday) where he would be briefed about details on when he would receive the car. "I will know the procedure on Monday," he said, on Sunday night, and added, "Right now, it is time for celebrations."


Heads and tales: Some head turning headgear at the races yesterday.
Even Vijay Mallya who was giving away trophies on the dais, was moved
enough to comment on the well groomed ladies and their head turning
headgear


Bhoir said he picked, In the Spotlight over other fancied runners, "Because she had won at other centres, so I thought she would win in Mumbai too," he said and added with a laugh, "I was also wearing my lucky shirt and trousers, when I wear this attire I always feel I have some good fortune in my work, so I wore it at the races too."


Gate crasher: A horse is led to the gates as the excitement builds up
and the race is about to begin. The crowd went wild sensing there were
only seconds to go before the Derby


This self-confessed car freak who personally owns two cars, a Wagon R and a Maruti van said he did not know which would be his first destination when the Benz comes home. "I have not thought about that, but, I will definitely drive the car to a temple first and foremost." He had a message for race goers, "Always fill in the contest of skill forms - I see many people not bothering to fill them, thinking they will never win. Do not be cynical, you never know when it will be your day," signed off the new Mercedes owner, who can't wait to get behind the wheel to experience horsepower of another kind.


Crowd puller: Massive turnout ensured that the day had a packed house.
Now touted as both a sporting and lifestyle event, the Derby is pulling in
a throng of first timers, besides dyed-in-the-wool punters

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