Excerpts from ‘A Maharaja’s Turf’ ….. 16 – Windsor Lad : gallant and endearing


It was indeed teamwork that brought Derby honours to the Maharaja of Rajpipla. If Marcus Marsh spotted a promising colt that could win classic races, Windsor Lad, though a bit slow to come into his own, blossomed into one of the finest racehorses that ever lived. He was ridden with flair, judgement and panache by Charlie Smirke, and he responded gallantly to easily pip the hitherto unconquered favourite.

The press that had largely ignored the Maharaja’s horse, obsessed as they were with Colombo’s dazzling successes, now acknowledged the prowess of the champion three-year-old. Some of the compliments paid to Windsor Lad are reproduced below.

Hotspur in The Daily Telegraph,The right thing in the circumstances is to give a great measure of credit to Windsor Lad and to say that he won without leaving the slightest doubt as to his stamina, his speed and his courage. It was a grand thing for all concerned. For those who hold that only the bottomless purse can purchase the winners of great races there is the disconcerting fact that Windsor Lad was bought for £1,300 as a yearling.”

The Morning Post: “The King and Queen and other members of the Royal Family saw the Maharajah of Rajpipla’s Windsor Lad beat the favourite, Lord Glanely’s Colombo, in the Derby yesterday. The winner had been a well-backed horse for weeks past, and in carrying off the Derby after winning the Chester Vase he has repeated the achievements of Papyrus and Hyperion. The result was a Berkshire triumph, as the winner is trained at Lambourn and the English home of his owner is at Old Windsor. It is always useless to make excuses for a beaten horse, and in the circumstances the right thing to do is to accord full praise to Windsor Lad for a victory handsomely gained, in time equalling the record of Hyperion last year.”


“The Derby winner, Windsor Lad, was the outstanding yearling at the Second July Sales in 1932. Windsor Lad was the third of Blandford’s stock to win the Derby, the others being Trigo and Blenheim. There was much speculation at Epsom yesterday regarding other sires who had got three Derby winners. It was easy to recall Hurry On (Captain Cuttle, Coronach, and Call Boy). Stockwell got Blair Athol, Lord Lyon, and Doncaster. Touchstone sired the winners Cotherstone, Orlando, and Surplice. Eclipse and Highflyer also sired three winners of the premier Epsom classic. Blandford has to sire another Derby winner to equal the record of Sir Peter Teazle, the winner of the great race in 1787. He got the winners in 1798, 1799, 1803, and 1806. Waxy, winner of the Derby in 1793, sired the winners 1809, 1810, 1814, and 1815. In more recent times that great sire, Cyllene, got four winners in Lemberg, Cicero, Minoru, and Tagalie.”

Captain Heath in News Chronicle: “Just before ten minutes past three yesterday afternoon I stood atop Epsom’s grandstand and saw Windsor Lad win the Derby for the Maharaja of Rajpipla. It was a sight which, despite my appreciation of a gallant victory, I had to view with mixed feelings. In one sense I was an onlooker of nothing less than a personal tragedy. After the horse had won the Chester Vase I made no bones about nominating him as the likely winner of the Derby; after he had triumphed over difficulties to win again at Newmarket last month, I was even more emphatic in suggesting that he would score. And then I went off him – deserting him for the horse that should have won, but didn’t!”

Ferdinand Kuhn jr. in The New York Times,The combination of a stout heart and sound training had most to do with Windsor Lad’s triumph, together with that stroke of luck at Tattenham Corner. The third choice at 15-2 when the race started, the horse had an excellent record, with three victories at Newmarket. The Maharajah bought the horse as a yearling for £1,300. Now he is worth £40,000, with the added glory of having been the Derby winner.”

The Times of India,Windsor Lad scored a smashing victory at Epsom and won for Rajpipla and India the blue riband of the turf. He was a length ahead of Easton, who beat Colombo into the third place by a head.  The favourite, who had never lost a race before and who was guarded like a rare treasure from early in the day, failed to stay. The colt swung wide while entering the straight, and Windsor Lad took the lead which he convincingly established at the post. The winner won the race in two minutes and thirty-four seconds, thereby equalling Hyperion’s 1933 record. By winning the Newmarket Stakes and the Derby, Windsor Lad has performed a feat which very few have done before – only eight others have done it since 1899. Call Boy was the last to complete the double.”

Observer: “Our liking for Colombo need not diminish our admiration for the winner of the Derby, a colt in every way worthy of the highest honours of racing. That Windsor Lad is a genuine stayer was obvious from the vigour with which he finished the race, and if he is in equally good trim when he runs for the St. Leger, it will be difficult for Colombo to reverse the placings over the longer journey. The favourite was also in splendid fettle, but nothing on parade carried as much muscle as Windsor Lad. His quarters were as hard as a board, and few colts have ever stood up to a stronger Derby preparation.”

Liverpool Post: “Windsor Lad was bought as a yearling for 1,300 guineas by the Maharaja of Rajpipla, who was given an enthusiastic reception at the end of the race. Before a crowd of at least a quarter of a million, the most discussed Derby of recent years ended, not as anticipated, in a victory for the hitherto unbeaten hot favourite, Lord Glanely’s Colombo, but for the Newmarket Stakes winner, Windsor Lad, owned by the Maharaja of Rajpipla. Lord Woolavington’s Easton was second, and Colombo third. Windsor Lad put up a remarkable fast gallop, and his time of 2 mins. 34 secs. equals the record for the race set up by Hyperion last year. Windsor Lad, of course, had shown his ability to stay the distance, as he won the Chester Vase over twelve furlongs. Ho took command of the field as they raced around Tattenham Corner into the straight, with Easton and Tiberius behind him and Colombo on the outside. Windsor Lad was bred in Ireland by Mr. D. Sullivan, and the Maharaja displayed considerable judgement when he purchased him as a yearling for 1,300 guineas at the Newmarket July sales.”

Bouverie in The Daily Mirror, “Windsor Lad cost 1,300 gns. as a yearling, and his victory is yet another reminder that a horse who has won over a mile and a half, can never be left out of the Derby. After Papyrus, Hyperion, and now Windsor Lad, we shall be looking more than ever to the Chester Vase as the best Epsom guide.”

Western Gazette, “The King and Queen were present at Epsom on Wednesday to see the Maharajah of Rajpipla’s Windsor Lad, beat the greatly fancied Colombo by a length in one of the most exciting Derbys of recent years. The time equalled the record set up last year.”

Sunday Sportsman, “Windsor Lad was a worthy Derby winner. He had previously won the Chester Vase (as did Hyperion last year) and the Newmarket Stakes. In both these races he gave us the impression that he could have pulled out more if necessary; he pulled it out all right on Wednesday. Of Windsor Lad it may be fairly said that he won on his merits. Both Easton and Colombo made gallant attempts to peg him back in the last quarter, but he held them off in decisive fashion. He was running on when he passed the post, and his ability to stay the St. Leger course must surely be beyond question.”

Reynold’s Illustrated News: “As to the winner, I had formed a very good opinion of him, and while not imagining he would beat Colombo, I thought he would get a place. He proved himself a real stayer, and justified the confidence of his connections, who for weeks before had predicted he would win. Mr. Marcus Marsh, who knows a good horse when he sees one, immediately snapped him up for his patron the Maharajah, paying 1,300 guineas. Windsor Lad was the first classic success registered by his owner, trainer and jockey. In conclusion, while not myself giving the winner, although I gave all three placed horses, I would like to call attention to the fact that my colleague “Early Bird”, not only gave the winner, but napped it.”

Taffyrus in Birmingham News: “Colombo was toppled from his pedestal after all in the Derby. The Derby did one good thing, it showed that one doesn’t have to look like a Derby winner to be one. When Windsor Lad won at Chester, those who claim so much horse sense ruled him out of the Epsom race. I hope they have now learned a lesson. Twelve months back it was the same with Hyperion – Lord Derby’s colt was only a pony and could never win the Derby. After last week’s happenings I should think the ultra smart people will bury their heads and admit that, after all, Windsor Lad is a good colt. The Maharajah of Rajpipla’s Windsor Lad was, as I suggested, the best each way bet in the race, and though first choice had to be Colombo, on account of his unbeaten record, readers who read my notes carefully would have realised that I was none too sure of my choice in going for Lord Glanely’s colt. It was a great race, however, and I am glad that the honours went to Windsor Lad.”

Pullman’s Weekly News  “The King and Queen were present at Epsom on Wednesday to see the Maharajah of Rajpipla’s Windsor Lad, beat the greatly fancied Colombo by a length in one of the most exciting Derbys of recent years. The time equalled the record set up last year.”

(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email singh_iv@hotmail.com).

One thought on “Excerpts from ‘A Maharaja’s Turf’ ….. 16 – Windsor Lad : gallant and endearing

  1. A brilliant read; beg, borrow or steal, this is a great book, a book you cannot simply put down or put away.

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