On a not-so wintry afternoon, Bangalore’s racing enthusiasts gathered at the Turf Club to watch their favourite horses in action, and of course, bet on their strides.
Beating the crowd favourite Super Storm by less than a minute, Red Baron surged ahead of the eight horses in the final lap to win the Winter Meeting at the Bangalore Turf Club. Red Baron, surprise winner of the Kimmane Bangalore Derby on Saturday, is trained by jockey O’Donoghue.
The mood was upbeat among the patrons in the members’ enclosure, where the seasoned patrons were seen giving advice to the newcomers. “I usually choose horses that have been brought in from outside Bangalore. Super Storm seems like a good choice, but I am still giving it a thought,” said Sakala Mohan Advani, seeming confident about her bets. Ms. Advani has been a part of the derby for nearly 70 years and was with her aunt this time, who was deep in thought about her options.
Another veteran, B.B. Shankar, who has been a part of the city’s derby events for the past five decades, was confident about his choice of Super Storm. “I have opted for this colt and it also seems to be the crowd favourite. Let’s just hope we all are right,” cheered Mr. Shankar.
Reminiscing about the early days of the derby, Ms. Advani said, “The standard of the game was much better then, and it was far more glamorous.” Proving her right, the presence of celebrities was to the bare minimum, with just actor Ambareesh and Congress MP Anil Lad attending the event.
However, the younger generation has also developed an interest in the race. Pramodini Prashant, a businesswoman from the city, was excited about the races, even though she was letting her mother select the horse they would be betting on. “My mother is the expert. We all have been attending these events because my father is part of the Derby Club,” she said. Even more clueless were a bunch of college kids who were tensed about the horses they had bet on. “In the earlier races, I won Rs. 70 and lost Rs. 20, so I am still happy. For the next race we are betting on Super Storm, Jersey Girl and Snowbird,” said Sumer, a student of CMS College, hoping at least one of them would win.
With a gloomy look on his face, looking at the results, G. Venkatesh, a member of the Mysore Derby Club said, “I took a bet on Maths Baby (No. 2), but it came fourth. It is just not my day I guess.”