The event was full of glamour and betting

Suraj Narredu, astride Arabian Prince, blew kisses to the crowd. He had reason to be elated. The champion rider had spurred the chestnut-coloured steed to victory by a length and a half in the main event of the Vijay Textiles Golconda Derby on Sunday. Not quite able to contain his happiness, he threw his sunglasses to a section of his vociferous supporters.

Nearly 14,000 spectators had come to watch the stellar event of the winter season at Malakpet, according to Ashok Kumar, a senior Steward with the Hyderabad Race Club (HRC). The first enclosure itself had 8000 racing enthusiasts. “With the way things are going here, Hyderabad is closing in on Mumbai in its bid to become the nation's leading racing centre,” he added.

The flower-bedecked invitees' section would have been a fashion photographer's delight. On display were Givenchy purses and Louis Vuitton handbags, designer eye-wear and exotic hats that would've done the Ascot derby proud.

For doctor couple Bhadra and Sreelatha Reddy, the derby was a welcome relief from the pressures of running their hospital. Winners could be spotted walking away from the betting booths with broad smiles on their faces, while those who lost their money concealed their disappointment well. A pair of foreigners proclaimed loudly they'd lost less, backing the least favourite horses.

Also seen were strikingly dressed women, handing out high-denomination currency notes to hangers-on, awaiting their beck and call. The course's tastefully landscaped interior was awash with expensive automobiles, horse-shoe shaped parking slots set apart for prominent trainers, their staff and guests.

Keywords: Derbyracingbetting