Bengaluru Derby: Mostly work, very li’l play
By Akhila Damodaran | Express News Service | Published: 16th July 2017 10:24 PM |
BENGALURU: On a pleasant Sunday afternoon, all roads led to Bangalore Turf Club for one of the biggest events of the Summer Racing calendar - Kingfisher Ultra Derby 2017. The derby, which has been around for the past 30 years, always promises the thrill of racing and glitz and glamour.
This weekend, it brought together equestrian enthusiasts, fashionistas and jockeys to witness 13 horses race for a trophy and a prize money of Rs 2 crore, which will be paid by Bangalore Turf Club and Kingfisher.
The racing horses were, on an average, three years of age and weighed a maximum of 56 kg including the weight of the jockey and saddle.
The horses galloped through 2,000 metres to the finish line, and there were ambulances speeding alongside them in case of emergencies.
There were the racing favourites and the ‘outsiders’, ones with less potential to win but who participate to advance their chances at other more prestigious races. Regulars at the derby named Castle Bridge, Shaman and Dr Logan as favourites and the outsiders as Casey and Oslo Court.
A booklet that was distributed to all spectators carried information about the rules, past performances, achievements, weight on the horses, jockeys and the date of birth of each horse in the race.
An elderly woman dressed in a saree was calculating and discussing who she should bet on.
She said, “I refer to past performances and look at the exact as well by backing for four horses.” Exacta is a kind of betting in which the punter should try and pick the horses that finishes the race in the first, second and third places.
When City Express asked Sakala Mohan Advani about her favourite horses, she said, “There’re Manifold and Castle Bridge. I would like Olympia Fields or Shaman to win. For third position, I would like to see Kangra.” Her prediction was a bit off and Kangra came fourth, Olympian Fields came third. She had bet for Rs 100.
The horse racing truly seemed to be a sport for all but a large majority at the stadium was senior citizens. Few men were decked up -- suits and hats both flat and tall -- most came in regular shirts; all sat with their eyes glued to the screens. There was business to do and money to be won. Not as many women were seen this engrossed, mostly they were seen enjoying the show.
There were a few young couples too, but they seemed lost in the crowd. Perhaps it was their first time at a race. A child, holding her father’s hands, looked excited and kept throwing questions about racing at her patient parent.
A man in his 30s, busy on the phone, was seen advising an elderly gent to bet on horse no 6. The listener bought a Rs 500 ticket, the minimum betting amount was Rs 100. Another person was explaining betting to two young ladies, even suggesting who they could place their money on.
Horse Manifold jockeyed by Neeraj Rawal won the Derby 2017. Castle Bridge, jockeyed by P Trevor came second.