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Gallop Away With the Ready Reckoner

The biggest season of the Indian horse racing calendar is here. The Mumbai horse racing season. The Indian classics apart from the Indian St. Leger Grade 1 are run at the Royal Western India Turf Club at the Mahalakshmi racecourse in Mumbai.

Chaiti Narula | CNN-News18

Updated:December 11, 2017, 1:46 PM IST
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Gallop Away With the Ready Reckoner
Horse Racing.
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New Delhi: Every race is not a derby and every derby is not the Indian derby! What does that mean? Read this before you put that hat on and drive to the races this season! While you make an attempt to look your best, just know a few basics to make your racing weekend more informed.

The biggest season of the Indian horse racing calendar is here. The Mumbai horse racing season. The Indian classics apart from the Indian St. Leger Grade 1 are run at the Royal Western India Turf Club at the Mahalakshmi racecourse in Mumbai.

Of the 6 Indian turf clubs, the RWITC in Mumbai is the most important as the Indian classics are run at Mahalakshmi racecourse.

India draws its calendar from British horse racing. While a series of handicap races flood your calendar, the classics are to look forward to and a must do every season.

The first two classics are the Guineas and run in the month of December. The Indian 1000 Guineas is run by 3 year old fillies over a distance of a mile. The Indian 2000 Guineas on the other
hand is run by 3 year old colts and fillies over a distance of a mile.

A mile is 1600 metres or 8 furlongs. A furlong is 200 metres.

Past few winners of the 2000 Guineas include horses like Serjeant at Arms, Jacqueline, Phoenix Tiger, Pronto Pronto, Be Safe and many more that include some like Be Safe and Jacqueline who have also gone on to win the Indian Derby, Grade 1.

Every horses turns a year older on January 1. Hence the Guineas contenders are now 4 years old and run the pending classics as 4 year old colts and fillies.

January sees the running of the third Indian classic – The Indian Oaks, Grade 1 run over the Indian Derby distance of 2400 metres by 4 year old fillies. Only difference between this and the

Indian derby is that this is only for ladies and the Indian derby sees the colt and fillies fight it out for supremacy. Simply put this is the ladies derby. Some horses who have won this classic race include Moonlight Romance, Myrtlewood, Jacqueline and Temerity.

Then comes the biggest race of the Indian horse racing calendar – The Indian Derby, Grade 1 run in the first weekend of February. The Derby by definition is the biggest race of any country run over a distance of 2400 metres by 4 year old colts and fillies. While India plays host to many regional derbies across the racing centres spread in different cities, there can be only one
Indian Derby.

And that is run at the Mahalakshmi racecourse in Mumbai. It is imperative to track the lead up races to the biggest and best race of the country to understand what happens on the feature race of the day on the second day of the first weekend of February.

A few races like the RR Ruia Gold Cup in January, The Indian classics like the 1000, 2000 Guineas and Indian Oaks will give you a fair idea of what is happening at the biggest raceday of the Indian horse racing calendar. It is also the largest in terms of its stake money, fanfare and an absolute crowd puller for many years now. Some horses who have gone past the post to take the Indian Derby home are Be Safe, Jacqueline, Alaindair, Hall of Famer and Dessert God.

The Indian St. Leger, Grade 1 is the longest and the last of the five Indian Classic races run in Western India by 4 year old colts and fillies over a distance of 2800 metres. It also is the third leg of the Indian Triple Crown.

While The Triple Crown in the US consists of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes; India as mentioned earlier follows English racing pattern.
Hence the Indian Triple Crown consists of The Indian 2000 Guineas, The Indian Derby and the Indian St Leger. Horses like Squanderer, Indictment, Smart Chieftan have all gone on to win the honour of the Indian Triple Crown.

Apart from these classics, you will see a packed race-card every weekend to the millions and other handicap races. Some boast of equestrian supremacy, others boast of a lot of fanfare and some have a heady mix of both!

The Invitation Cup is run in rotation between the 6 race clubs run over a distance of 2400 metres. Some of the feature races on the Invitation Cup racing weekend include the Sprinter’s Cup, Stayer’s Cup and the Super Mile. While it is not a classic, it is a very prominent racing weekend in India.

Evening racing is a new feature in the Mumbai meeting and is picking pace to create a mark.

Watch this space for a complete coverage of the Mumbai racing calendar and detailed stories on this season’s champions. Hope this helps as a ready reckoner in the meanwhile!
| Edited by: Arjit Dabas
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