Excerpts from Indra Vikram Singh’s book ‘A Maharaja’s Turf’ ….. 9 – Epsom Derby 1934 : Comments from the owner, jockey and trainer immediately after the race


One of the first newspapers to report this glorious win was The Evening News of that Wednesday, 6th June 1934.

Owner, Jockey, Trainer Say 

By Our Special Representative

EPSOM, Wednesday,

Trust the London crowd to find a name they can pronounce for someone whose name presents a little difficulty! Thus His Highness The Maharaja of Rajpipla became “Good old Pip” to the crowd on Epsom Downs this afternoon. “Good old Pip” shouted a thousand voices as the Maharajah led in his horse after the race. His dark face was all smiles, and he waved his hat gaily to the crowd. “…..am very, very happy indeed,” he said to me in the unsaddling enclosure. “I knew the horse was good, and said so from the beginning. I am glad that he has won, not only for my own sake, but also for all the people who had faith in him. Since I came to England the British public have given me a wonderful reception. Now I am glad to be able to give them something in return.” The Maharajah was then escorted to the Royal box by Lord Lonsdale and was heartily congratulated by the King and the Royal party.

“Winning All The Time”

Charlie Smirke, the jockey, was delighted with himself and with Windsor Lad. He said to me: “I felt that I was winning all the time. From Tattenham Corner I was sure. Tiberius was the only horse in front of me, and I knew I could go to the front when I wanted to. Once I had taken the lead Windsor Lad went on to win.”

Mr. M. Marsh, Windsor Lad’s trainer, had just one thing to say, and he said it with a grin, “I told you so. In fact I’ve been telling you for weeks. Windsor Lad is a great horse, he won a great race, and I’m not a bit surprised.”

Just a word from Johnstone, Colombo’s jockey: “I was not unlucky. I had every chance, but it couldn’t be done.”

There will be great rejoicings in Old Windsor at Windsor Lad’s victory. The Maharajah of Rajpipla has an estate there, and they say that every man, woman and child in the village had “a bit on” Windsor Lad. Most of the people of Old Windsor were at Epsom to see the race. Their cheers when “their” horse won was the loudest of all.

Bookmakers Hard Hit

The bookmakers are badly hit by the result. Considerably more than a million pounds will have to be paid out to the lucky backers of Windsor Lad. Six big London bookmakers alone will have to pay something like £200,000.

 * * * * *

Marcus Marsh was understandably ecstatic. He recalled in his book, “Pip was still completely overwhelmed by it all and kept saying, over and over again, ‘See…..it was good, it was very good’. I had a glass of champagne with Pip, who still found it all very difficult to accept. Thus, that night, our lives moved full circle. For it had been here, four years ago precisely, that I had first met Pip and first dreamed of winning the Derby.” It was to be a lifelong bond, with Marsh alluding in his book to “an ebony cigarette box which was presented by the Maharaja of Rajpipla”. Windsor Lad, it was reckoned, was the first Derby winner to be ridden by a girl. Beryl Higg, daughter of the famous jockey, was secretary to Marsh, and she often rode for him in the early morning.

(Author Indra Vikram Singh, grandson of HH Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla, can be contacted on email singh_iv@hotmail.com).

A Maharaja's Turf cover (front )

  • Hardcover: 127 pages
  • Publisher: Sporting Links (2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8190166832
  • ISBN-13: 978-8190166836
  • Package Dimensions: 28.6 x 22.4 x 1.8 cm

Available on http://www.amazon.in


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