A familiar face on the English racecourses for over a dozen years already, extremely popular with the racing crowds and well-liked by friends and acquaintances alike, the ever-smiling and amiable Maharaja, generous to a fault, drew rousing cheers from the multitude estimated to be anywhere between a quarter and a half million that exhilarating afternoon on the Epsom Downs. As soon as the dapper prince, in his tail-coat and top-hat, stepped on to the course after Windsor Lad had blazed past the finishing post, the spectators were on their feet, calling out “Good old Pip” over and over again. It was a memorable ovation that only a few Indians like the immortal cricketer Prince Ranjitsinhji would have ever experienced in England. Countless people stepped forward to congratulate him, among the first being his good friend the Aga Khan.
The media flocked to Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla, to photograph and film him and get quotes and reactions for the morning papers. By the time he led his gallant colt to the unsaddling enclosure, there was a great melee around him. Just then a gentle word was whispered in his ear that the King wanted to see him. People recalled those moments, “In the unsaddling enclosure the smiling Indian simply got ‘lost’ under his emotions. It took him some time to realise that General Tomkinson (manager of the King’s stable) was calling him to go to receive the congratulations of the King and the Royal Family. The words were not heard for a moment or two. This Indian ruler has given the lead which can well be emulated by others. He took the public into his confidence from the earliest moment by his open declarations of confidence in Windsor Lad’s chance.”
Up above to the royal box did the victorious ruler ascend to receive the felicitations of King George V and Queen Mary and all the members of the royal family present. The King raised a toast to this brilliant triumph, crowning an unforgettable day in the life of Maharaja Vijaysinhji.
He was widely quoted and written about in the media the world over, some excerpts of which are given in the pages that follow.
To a Star reporter in the paddock: “Everyone says when they win the Derby that they are delighted. I don’t want to say that. I am pleased beyond description. I thought my horse would win. I don’t want to say that I knew it would, but I am very, very proud, and I must really pay a high tribute to the manner in which British sportsmen applauded Windsor Lad’s success. That stirred me quite as much as the thrill of the whole race.”
In The Evening Standard: “It is so good for me to have come from another part of the British Empire to win a race like this. I am too happy to speak almost. I told everybody the horse could do it. I said so from the beginning.”
Nottingham Evening News: “The Maharajah was warmly congratulated by the King and others in the Royal Box. The Maharajah said, ‘Didn’t I always say what a good horse he was? How happy I am.”
Carlton of Manchester Dispatch noted, “After Windsor Lad had won the Chester Vase I asked his owner, the Maharaja of Rajpipla, if he feared Colombo and he did not hesitate to tell me that to his view nothing could beat his colt. The Aga Khan, who had three runners in the race, was one of the first to congratulate the Maharaja of Rajpipla, who, hat in hand, stood in the centre of the course all smiles waving to the crowd while waiting to lead in his colt.”
Cardiff Western Mail: “The hero of the day was the Maharaja of Rajpipla, who was so confident of winning that he had arranged in advance a celebration dinner for forty guests. He has an estate at Old Windsor, where there are great rejoicings to-night.”
Bombay Sentinel June 7, 1934
Indian owner wins Epsom Derby
Maharaja of Rajpipla wildly cheered by British sportsmen
‘Good Old Pip’ roared thousands, as the Maharaja of Rajpipla led the winner into the paddock. Obviously pleased with the nickname, he repeatedly waved his grey top-hat. He said, “I am glad Windsor Lad won not for my own sake so much, as for the British public which has given me such a wonderful reception.” The Maharaja called at the Royal Box and received congratulations from the King.
The Daily Mirror Thursday, June 7, 1934
Indian prince wins the Derby
Called to Royal Box
A few moments later and the Maharajah of Rajpipla, owner of Windsor Lad, is led into the box to receive the King’s congratulations. This moment is said to be the greatest that can come to any racehorse owner. One can well believe it.
Liverpool Post June 7, 1934
The Derby won by an Indian prince.
Windsor Lad equals record time. Colombo beaten at last.
Great ovation for successful owner.
As soon as the colt had flashed past the winning post, his owner the Maharaja went forward to greet him. He is a regular visitor to English racecourses, and when the crowds recognised him they set up an ear-splitting cheer. “Good old Pip” they roared as the Maharaja entered the paddock. The Maharaja was obviously delighted with the nickname. Time after time he waved his grey topper in acknowledgement. The King and Queen, the Prince of Wales, and most of the Royal Family gazed down from their high vantage point upon the demonstration.
The Maharaja’s Delight
“I told the British public it was a good horse,” said the Maharaja. “Naturally, I am very happy now that it has been so successful. The British public have given me a tremendous welcome. It has taken my breath away. How happy I am. Oh, what a magnificent reception! How can I thank the public for it. What cheers they gave my good horse!” The Maharaja went to the Royal box and was warmly congratulated by the King and other members of the Royal party. He spends a great deal of his time in this country, and resides at the Manor, Old Windsor in Berkshire. Hence the name “Windsor Lad” for the best horse he has ever owned. His chief recreations are polo and racing. This is his first “classic” winner.
Daily Herald Thursday, June 7, 1934
Smirke rides cleverly to win on Windsor Lad
“Good Old Pip,” The Crowd Yelled
Windsor Lad Surprises Them All. “Unbeatable” favourite couldn’t catch up
by Hannen Swaffer
So the Maharajah of Rajpipla, his owner, had a great reception when he raced out on the course to lead in his winner. “I told the public he would win,” he said. Rajpipla, whom I first met soon after he began his annual visits to England, a few years ago, is a reigning potentate in India. He loves the English summer season. In India he has to move in a world of semi-reverence. Here he can “mix”. When he bought Embargo I chaffed him. “They ruin you on the Turf,” I said. Little did I think he would ever be presented to the King, not as a reigning prince in oriental clothes, but as the owner of a Derby winner. Yesterday he became, to the crowd, “Good old Pip”.
The Daily Telegraph Thursday, June 7, 1934
Windsor Lad equals Hyperion’s record in the Derby
The Maharaja of Rajpipla was naturally immensely elated. He is greatly liked by all his English friends, and this magnificent victory has come to him after about a dozen years of ownership on our Turf. I recall a victory on Epsom’s racecourse some years ago when Embargo won for him the City and Suburban. He was no more than a handicapper. Windsor Lad was bought by him as a yearling because he was a son of Blandford, whose stock were winning the big races. Blandford, indeed, has now sired three Derby winners – Trigo, Blenheim and Windsor Lad. It is a great performance for that sire, now, by the way, at the Whatcombe stud in England.
The Maharaja was speedily on the course, waiting to lead in his horse. One of the first to congratulate him was the Aga Khan. Many others cordially extended their felicitations. Very soon after the jockey had weighed in, the Maharaja was invited to proceed to the Royal box and there receive the congratulations of the King and Queen. He was truly delighted with the warmth of the reception on every hand, and will certainly never forget this wonderful day in his life.
The Maharaja of Rajpipla is entitled to be satisfied on the result that he has the best colt in the country. There is less conviction that Colombo was beaten on his merits. Meanwhile the owner of the winner can look forward to receiving some important cheques from bookmakers on Monday which splendidly garnish the stake and the honours of the race itself. A long time ago, the Maharaja made a bet, before he left India, of £4,000 to £400 and £1,000 to £100 a place. There were other wagers since at shorter prices. The total amount has doubtlessly been well liquidated by what a generous and delighted owner has already disbursed in presents, especially, of course, to those who were chiefly instrumental in bringing about the victory.
The Sporting Life Thursday June 7, 1934
Windsor Lad equals Derby record
by Meyrick Good
“I do not fear Colombo,” was the remark of Windsor Lad’s owner after his colt had won the Newmarket Stakes. We were inclined to think that the Maharaja was a super-optimist, but the Epsom result justified his faith in the son of Blandford.
Manchester Dispatch June 7, 1934
The Derby wheel of fortune. Windsor Lad’s Victory
by Sir John Foster Fraser
Yet, after Smirke, the jockey in purple and cream sash, pressed Windsor Lad past the post, there rose a cheer as though the favourite had really won. Into the course – the long broad ribbon of green between the excited multitude – stepped the slim figure of the Maharaja, dark of feature, carrying his white topper in his hand with a red rose in his coat, bowing and smiling as he went to meet his horse. When he came into the enclosure he was mobbed by a hundred white-toppered friends. The Aga Khan, who had three losing horses in the race, patted him on the shoulder.
Then the Earl of Harewood came and got the Maharaja out of the clutch of a crowd of interviewing journalists and took him to the King to be congratulated. For everybody was there, the King and Queen, and most of the Royal family, down to little boys from Epsom Town, who were allowed to crouch at the feet of policemen on promising to be good. The Derby is an institution as well as a race.
Manchester Dispatch June 7, 1934
Stamina pulls Windsor Lad through
Winner Equals Time Record. Indian Maharaja’s success
by Gary Owen
After Windsor Lad won the Chester Vase, I asked his owner, the Maharaja of Rajpipla, if he feared Colombo, and he did not hesitate in telling me that nothing would beat his colt. Since then almost every owner had said they would not account for Colombo, with the exception of the proud young Indian who led in Windsor Lad to-day. Immediately the race was over the Maharaja of Rajpipla went on to the course to meet his victorious colt, having to remove his hat continuously and acknowledging the plaudits of the crowd. As soon as the colt had flashed past the winning post his owner the Maharaja went forward to greet him. His Highness was obviously thrilled at this typical English greeting and he beamed with pleasure as he doffed his grey top hat. The Aga Khan, who had three runners in the race, walked across from the Jockey Club stand and was one of the first to congratulate his compatriot. The Maharaja, with hat in hand, stood in the centre of the course, all smiles, waving to the crowd while waiting to lead in his colt.
The Sporting Life Thursday, June 7, 1934
“HE WILL WIN!” SAID THE OWNER OF WINDSOR LAD
by Augur (Capt. R.C. LONG)
The Maharaja of Rajpipla publicly stated that his colt, Windsor Lad, would defeat Colombo and win the Derby. This he did in unimpeachable style at Epsom yesterday, and the open-hearted manner in which the stable supported the colt’s prospects render the victory all the more popular. The King graciously commanded the Maharaja of Rajpipla’s attendance to receive congratulations, which were extended on all sides. H.H. Maharaja of Rajpipla rules a State of 1,600 square miles in the Bombay Presidency. He spends a great deal of his time in this country, and resides at The Manor, Old Windsor in Berkshire. His chief recreations are polo and racing, and he is a regular visitor to most of the South-Country race meetings.
Sheffield Independent June 7, 1934
Windsor Lad wins on merit
After Windsor Lad had won the Chester Vase I asked his owner the Maharajah of Rajpipla if he feared Colombo and he did not hesitate in telling me that in his view nothing would beat his colt. The Aga Khan, who had three runners in the race, was one of the first to congratulate his compatriot, the Maharajah of Rajpipla who, with hat in hand stood in the centre of the course all smiles waving to the crowd while waiting to lead in his colt.
Daily Sketch Thursday, June 7, 1934
Colombo’s fatal breather after a mile
The Maharajah, who walked out to meet his colt after the race, had as great a reception from the huge crowd as did the Aga Khan a few years ago when he led in Blenheim.
“I Was Always Winning”
His Highness, when I spoke to him afterwards, made a characteristically happy reply, “It is good for a man from another part of the Empire to win this race,” he said. “I told the British public Windsor Lad was a good horse and that he would probably win.”
Glasgow Bulletin June 7, 1934
Windsor Lad’s £1,000,000 bill for bookies
250,000 Crowd See Hot Derby Favourite Well Beaten
As soon as Windsor Lad had flashed past the winning post, his owner, the Maharajah of Rajpipla, went forward to greet him. The Maharajah is a regular visitor to English racecourses, and when the crowd recognised him they set up an ear-splitting cheer. He was obviously thrilled at this typical British greeting, and he beamed with pleasure as he doffed his grey top hat. The Aga Khan sprinted forward to congratulate him, and he was soon surrounded by a host of friends and acquaintances.
“Give me five minutes,” pleaded the Maharaja when interviewed by a reporter. “I can’t collect my thoughts.” And his actions were true to his words. His slightly grey hair was ruffled with excitement. He waved his hands as he expostulated, his features twitching in a nervous smile.
A polite message was then whispered in the ear of the joyful owner. “The King has sent for you,” he was told. The Maharaja turned in a daze, still carrying his hat in his hand, and walked away up the stairs.
The Maharaja of Rajpipla rules a State of 1600 square miles in the Bombay Presidency. He spends a great deal of his time in this country, and resides at The Manor, Old Windsor in Berkshire, hence the name, Windsor Lad, for the best horse he has ever owned. His chief recreations are polo and racing.
The Times of India June 8, 1934
Maharaja of Rajpipla wins blue riband of the turf
Windsor Lad’s great race
Thousands Cheer “Good Old Pip”: Owner Congratulated by King
Winner achieves Newmarket-Derby double
CHEERS FOR RAJPIPLA
A deafening roar greeted the proud Maharaja as he led the winner into the paddock: “Good old Pip”, cried a thousand voices. His Highness, obviously pleased with the nickname acknowledged the reception. He was later summoned by the King and congratulated.
HYPERION’S RECORD TIME EQUALLED
A million people, including Their Majesties the King and Queen, witnessed H.H. the Maharaja of Rajpipla’s Windsor Lad gain a smashing victory from Lord Woolavington’s French bred Easton, with the hot favourite, Lord Glanely’s Colombo, a neck away third.
After Windsor Lad had won the Newmarket Stakes the Maharaja of Rajpipla scouted any idea of his horse being beaten, arguing that, although Colombo had never been beaten, the colt had never done what his horse had.
A wonderful demonstration took place when H.H. the Maharaja of Rajpipla led Windsor Lad into the paddock – jockey Smirke full of smirks. Although the race resulted in the downfall of the hitherto unbeaten favourite thousands upon thousands of cheers rang out for the Maharaja and his gallant horse with the cry resounding in the air “Good Old Pip”. His Highness was delighted with the nickname and repeatedly waved his grey top hat to the cheering crowds, saying, “I am glad Windsor Lad won not so much for my own sake as for the British public which has given me such a wonderful reception.”
His Majesty the King then summoned the Maharaja to the Royal Box and heartily congratulated him on his great achievement.
Greenoce Tele June 9, 1934
The New-Style Derby
A Popular Winner
A new star swam into public favour when the slender and nervously smiling Maharajah of Rajpipla led in his winner. No one seemed to think it that a man who would be debarred as a “native” from some English clubs in his own country could be a popular idol and receive the congratulations of the King over here!
The Field June 9, 1934
The Maharaja of Rajpipla’s Derby
How Windsor Lad and Easton Beat the Favourite
And for the first time in all the history of the great Epsom classics, an Indian ruler, the Maharajah of Rajpipla, led in the winner, to the accompaniment of rousing cheers from all parts of the course.
(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email email@example.com).