About this time 82 years ago my grandfather Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla’s horse Windsor Lad won the blue riband of the turf, the Epsom Derby of England. Here is an excerpt from my book ‘A Maharaja’s Turf’:
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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
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.
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This is an excerpt from Indra Vikram Singh’s book A Maharaja’s Turf ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6
Distributed in India by: Variety Book Depot, AVG Bhawan, M-3, Middle Circle, Connaught Circus, New Delhi-110001, India. Tel. + 91 11 23417175, 23412567.
Author Indra Vikram Singh, grandson of Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla, can be contacted on email email@example.com.
Follow Indra Vikram Singh on Twitter @IVRajpipla.