A Maharaja’s Turf: Collector’s edition on the triumph of Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla in the Epsom Derby of England in 1934


A Maharaja’s Turf

by Indra Vikram Singh

Collector’s edition on the triumph of Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla in the Epsom Derby of England in 1934

Published in India by Sporting Links

ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6

Fully Illustrated

Hardcover with jacket 8.75 x 11.5 x 0.6 inches (landscape)

140 Pages

Available at an attractive price on Amazon  https://www.amazon.in/dp/8190166832


The Book : This is the story of the exhilarating victory of Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla in the Epsom Derby of England in 1934, the only Indian owner to win the blue riband of the turf in its history dating back to 1780. The dapper Indian prince’s horse Windsor Lad left the hitherto undefeated favourite Colombo trailing in third place in the presence of royalty led by King George V and Queen Mary, and a multitude of an estimated quarter to half a million people on that damp afternoon of 6th June. The triumph earned the Maharaja a unique hat-trick of Derby victories as he had already clinched the first Indian Derby at Calcutta in 1919 with his horse Tipster, and the Irish Derby at Curragh in 1926 with Embargo.

The enthralling tale recounted by the Maharaja’s grandson Indra Vikram Singh offers an insider’s insight, and is embellished with rare media photographs of the race and from the Rajpipla royal family collection over many generations. It has been extensively researched from about 80 newspapers and magazines of 1934, five books and websites, and carries articles by the Maharaja himself. There are news reports, cartoons and caricatures which open out a whole new world. Featured are the British royal family, the Aga Khan, Maharaja Man Singh II of Jaipur and the leading racehorses, owners, trainers and jockeys of the day, among other eminent personalities.

The book captures the era between the two World Wars, of imperial times and a royal lifestyle, also going back centuries into history, connecting the past and the present and depicting the march of time, even as the thrilling race remains the central theme. It unfolds the tale of the uncanny prophesy of Gipsy Lee, the several coincidences around the number 13, the defeat of a ‘super-horse’, and the unrelenting quest of a prince to realise his dream that is bound to keep the reader transfixed.


The Author : Hailing from the erstwhile royal family of Rajpipla, now in the state of Gujarat, India, Indra Vikram Singh is a heritage resort promoter, writer, author, editor and publisher. He is author of ‘Test Cricket – End of the Road?’ (Rupa & Co., 1992); ‘World Cup Cricket’ (Rupa & Co., 2002); ‘The Little Big Book of World Cup Cricket’ (edition I, Sporting Links, 2007); ‘The Little Big Book of World Cup Cricket’, edition II (ISBN 978-81-731422-0-8, Media Eight, 2011); ‘A Maharaja’s Turf’ (ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6, Sporting Links, 2011) on the triumph of his grandfather Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla in the Epsom Derby of England in 1934; ‘The Big Book of World Cup Cricket’ (ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3, Collector’s edition, Sporting Links, 2011); ‘Don’s Century’ (ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0, Sporting Links, 2011) which is a biography of Don Bradman and a panorama of batting from the 1860s to the present times; and ‘Crowning Glory’ (ISBN 978-81-901668-6-7, Sporting Links, 2011), a special supplement on India’s win in the ICC World Cup 2011.


The author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email singh_iv@hotmail.com. His blogs http://www.indravikramsingh.blogspot.com and http://www.singhiv.wordpress.com offer an insight into his work, his family and heritage.


Contents :

Chapter 1 : Chasing a dream

Chapter 2 : Thoroughbred with great potential

Chapter 3 : Captivating prelude

Chapter 4 : Day of glory

Chapter 5 : “Good old Pip”

Chapter 6 : A time to celebrate

Chapter 7 : Media carnival

Chapter 8 : Windsor Lad: gallant and endearing

Chapter 9 : Marcus Marsh: chip off the old block

Chapter 10 : Charlie Smirke: dashing rider with a point to prove

Chapter 11 : An uncanny forecast….. and the lucky number 13

Chapter 12 : Was ‘super horse’ Colombo unlucky?

Chapter 13 : Experts and bookmakers bite the dust

Chapter 14 : Poignant moments

Chapter 15 : ‘I didn’t think I would win the Derby – I knew’

Chapter 16 : “My Three Derbys”

Chapter 17 : A life blessed

Chapter 18 : The family’s cherished memories

Chapter 19 : Special postal cover to commemorate the platinum jubilee of the Derby triumph

Chapter 20 : Rajpipla State post

Chapter 21 : The Gohil Rajput clan



Colour photo feature / Royal family of Rajpipla in modern times


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