All the talks about favourite Murioi winning the Indian Derby was laid to rest as Alaindair, winner of the Bangalore Kingfisher Derby, added another Classic to his list of wins. At the Mahalaxmi Race Course on Sunday, Alaindair gallopped to glory in the Indian Derby, the richest race of the country.
A ranked outsider, this gelding stunned one and all by winning the event from Starry Eyes with a record time of 2:28.05s, eclipsing champion filly Jacqueline’s time of 2:28.54s that was set in 2010 at the same race.
“He has been outstanding and responded well when it mattered the most,” said Alaindair’s jockey YS Srinath, who won his first Indian Derby in Mumbai.
Alaindair was nowhere in the picture when the race reached the 1,200m mark, and it was at the bend, the home stretch, when the gelding hit the front.
“I saw Murioi making the move and that prompted me to take a chance. I wanted to beat this colt Murioi, who beat us in the Deltins Casinos Indian 2000 Guineas. We made it,” Srinath said.
“It has been a dream-come-true,” said Ameeta Mehra, one of the owners of Alaindair.
Alaindair avenged the defeat at the hands of Murioi who won at the same race course in December. Murioi, the tote favourite, finished out of the board in the race.
It was Alaindair’s trainer Altamash Ahmed’s first Indian derby win in his second attempt. He had earlier trained Alaindair to victories in the Karl Umrigar Trophy besides the Colts Championship Stakes (Gr1) and the Kingfisher Derby Bangalore.
The crowd erupted as the 15 contenders got off the starting gates, and chants of Murioi, Murioi and Murioi reverberated the air. But they were a disappointed lot as it was not Murioi but Alaindair who pipped Starry Eyes for the coveted title.
There was total silence at the race course except for a few who applauded the champion horse’s efforts.
1. The Royal Challenge ‘Game For Life’ Cup, Div II (1,200m): 1. Hidden Asset, 2. Double Diamond, 3. Magic Vision
2. The Four Seasons Cup (1,600m): 1. Speed King, 2. Legend Of The Seas, 3. High Expectation
3. The White Mischief Cup (1,000m): 1. Way Out, 2. Victorious March, 3. Hawk Of The Wind
4. The RN Kanga Gold Trophy (1,600m): 1. Supreme Star, 2. Deja Vu, 3. Storm Tracker
5. The Antiquity Blue ‘Fusion Of The Finest’ Cup (1,600m): 1. Sheer Class, 2. Haunting Moments, 3. Elite Model
6. The McDowell’s No.1 Platinum Trophy (2,400m): 1. Reynolds, 2. Romantic Beauty, 3. Pumba
7. The BK Rattonsey Memorial Maiden Multi-Million (1,200m): 1. Merchantofvenice, 2. Last Chance, 3. Quasar
8. The McDowell Signature Indian Derby, Grade 1 (2,400m): 1. Alaindair, 2. Starry Eyes, 3. Circle Of Life
9. The Royal Challenge ‘Game For Life’ Cup, Div I (1,200m): 1. Wild Waves, 2. Neptune’s Ocean, 3. Bella Figura