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By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.) | 24 Jan 2023 |


A total 280 jockeys have had a mount in the 80 Indian Derbies run so far. 50 of them -- 28 foreign jockeys and 22 Indian -- have had the distinction of riding a winner. The 28 foreignjockeys -- 5 Australian, 5 Irish, 17 British and 1 Brazilian -- won 38 Derbies; the 22 Indian jockeys have bagged 42.

Leading Jockeys

1. Pesi Shroff (8)

Enterprising (1984), Revelation (1985), Exhilaration (1989), Desert Warrior (1990), Starfire Girl (1991), Littleover (1994), Storm Again (2001) and Psychic Flame (2004).

2. P Khade  (4)

Mansoor Beg[NSB] (1950), Balchand (1957), Alijah (1961) and Mansoor (1973).  

3. M Jagdish (4)

Canny Scot[NSB] (1958), Our Select (1968), Commanche (1976) and Squanderer (1977).

4. Suraj Narredu  (4)

Be Safe (2015), Star Superior (2019), War Hammer (2020) and Immortality (2021)

Youngest Jockey  - K.Umrigar (Royal Tern, 1979). He was 18 years old.

Oldest Jockey- S. Smith (Rocklie, 1963) and P Khade (Mansoor, 1973)

were both 49 years old. Since respective dates of birth are not known, it is not possible to know who was older.

Only Ride, Winning Ride. 

Three jockeys had only one ride in an Indian Derby and they made it a winning one. K.A. Gethin (Martial Law, 1952), W.H.Carr (Prince Pradeep, 1964) and L. Marshall (ChaitanyaChakram, 1987). In all, there are 116 jockeys who had only one ride in  the Derby.

First Ride, Winning Ride. 

Apart from the three jockeys above, ten other riders scored on their debut ride in an Indian Derby.

E. Britt  - (Princess Beautiful, 1943)
W. A.Rickaby  -  (Jeanne d' Arc, 1948)
J. Egan -  (Star of Gwalior, 1956)
Wally Swinburn - (Prince Khartoum, 1972)
N. Reuben - (Topmost, 1974)
G. Baxter - (Almanac, 1982)
P. Shroff  - (Enterprising), 1984)
Satish Narredu - (Amazing Bay, 1996)
P.  Belose - (Noble Eagle, 2003) and
S.A.DeSousa - (Antonios, 2009).

Last Ride, Winning Ride.  For Gethin, Carr and Marshall since it was their only ride, it was also their last ride.

Six other jockeys have signed off with a winning Derby ride. K. Raghunath (Red Rufus, 1966), K. Umrigar (Royal Tern, 1979), M.J. Kinane (Hotstepper, 2008), J. Fortune (Super Storm, 2013), D.A. Allan (Hall of Famer, 2017). Note that D.A. Allan is still riding and could yet have another ride.

Family Connections of Winning Jockeys

J. Egan (Star of Gwalior, 1956) and F Durr (Rose Royal, 1965) were married to the Haley sisters.

F. Durr's daughter married G Baxter (Almanac, 1982).

Uncle and nephew. V. Shinde (Manitou, 1978) and B. Prakash (Starsky, 2002).

Father and son. Satish Narredu (Amazing Bay, 1996)  and Suraj Narredu (Star Superior, 2019).

Brothers. Satish Narredu (Amazing Bay, 1996) and MaleshNarredu (Indictment (1997).

Most Rides In The Derby

P.Khade rode in 27 Indian Derbies; 24 of in consecutive years from 1945 to 1968.

Most Rides In The Derby Without A Win

Purtu Singh, 16 rides. Beaten Shd., Shd., 3rd in his very first ride in 1948.

Most Consecutive Wins.

P Shroff (3) - Exhilaration (1989), Desert Warrior (1990) and Starfire Girl (1991)

Suraj Narredu (3) - Star Superior (2019), War Hammer (2020) and Immortality (2021).

First Indian Jockey To Win-  Kheem Singh (Balam, 1949)

First Indian Jockeys To Ride In the Derby-  Faiz Mohammed (finished second) and Laloo (1944).

Longest Gap Between Two Wins- M.J. Kinane. Cordon Bleu (1988) & Hotstepper (2008).

Longest Gap Between Two Rides- J. Egan Mukhtar-ul-Mulk (1957) & Sun King (1974).   


The 80 winners of the Indian Derby have been saddled by 46 different trainers of whom three – L.W.Marrable, W. Buckley and J. Thompson -- were foreigners and as many as 16 were formerjockeys. (J H Foley, the trainer of Amazing Bay, was an Australian; however, when he saddled his Derby winner, he was effectively an Indian. It is not known if had taken Indian citizenshipbut he died in India).

Leading Trainers

1. R. R.Byramji 10

Prince Khartoum (1972), Topmost (1974), Commanche (1976), Squanderer (1977), Manitou (1998),Mohawk  (1980), Cordon Bleu (1988), Astronomic (1993), Littleover (1994) and Elusive Pimpernel (1995).

His three other Derby winners Track Lightning, Almanac and Nelston -- who were saddled by other trainers on the day are not included.

2. A.L.J.Talib 5

Chakori (1946), Bucephalus (1947), Balam (1949), Loyal Manzar (1962) and Rocklie (1963).

3. Maj. V.M. Lad 3 

Star of Gwalior (1956), Alijah (1961) and Rose Royal (1965).

4. S M Shah 3

Nijinsky (1967), Our Select (1968) and Bright Hanovar(1971).

5. S S Shah 3 

Mansoor (1973), Hotstepper (2008) and Antonios (2009).

6. Bezan Chenoy 3

Enterprising (1984), Revelation (1985) and Astonish (1992).

7. Vinayak 3 

Indictment (1997), Noble Eagle (2003) and Velvet Rope (2006).

8. P Shroff 3

Jacqueline (2010), Immortality (2021) and Zuccarelli (2022).

9. S Padmanabhan 3 

In The Spotlight (2012), Desert God (2016) and Hall of Famer (2017).

Most Consecutive Wins (3). R R Byramji recorded two hat-tricks. First one comprised of Commanache-Squanderer-Manitou and the second one of  Astronomic-Littleover-Elusive Pimpernel.

Family Connections Of Winning Trainers.

Uncle and nephew

Dara Pandole (Thunder Storm, 1970) & C.D. Katrak (Moonlight Romance, 2011)

Father and Son

R. R.Byramji (Prince Khartoum 1972) & Darius R. Byramji (Supervite 1999).

Satish Narredu (Super Storm, 2013) & Rajesh Narredu (Star Superior, 2019).


S.M. Shah (Our Select, 1968) & S.S. Shah (Mansoor,1973).
Satish Narredu (Super Storm, 2013) & Malesh Narredu (Be Safe, 2015).

Shortest Gap Between First Runner And Derby Winner. Maj. K P Jadhav started training for Gwalior from Poona season of 1942. He sent out Deepak to win the Indian Derby in February1944.

Longest Gap Between First Runner And Derby Winner. S.K. Sunderji started training from Pune season of 1984. His first Derby winner came in February 2018.


Location-wise Distribution. The 80 Derby winners have been foaled at 24 different breeding establishments. Their distribution, location-wise, is given below, north to south.

1 Jammu 2
2 West Punjab (now Pakistan) 6
3 Faridkot Area (Punjab) 4
4 Haryana 18
5 Aligarh (U.P.) 1
6 Bhopal (M.P.) 2
7 Baroda (Gujarat) 3
8 Pune Area (Maharashtra) 36
9 Kolhapur (Maharashtra) 2
10 Bangalore (Karnataka) 7

Leading Stud Farms

1. Usha/Mehra 14

Manitou 1978
Track Lightning 1981
Almanac 1982
Nelston 1983
Enterprising 1984
Revelation 1985
Indictment 1997
Star Supreme 1998
Starsky 2002
Psychic Flame 2004
Southern Regent 2005
Moonlight Romance 2011
Alaindair 2014
Immortality 2021

2. Manjri  10

Star of Gwalior (1956)
Rose de Bahama (1960)
Alijah (1961)
Loyal Manzar (1962)
Nijinsky (1967)
Our Select (1968)
Mansoor (1973)
Littleover (1994)
Diabolical (2007)
Rochester (2018)

3. Poonawalla Farms 10

Cordon Bleu 1988
Exhilaration 1989
Desert Warrior 1990
Starfire Girl 1991
Astonish 1992
Amazing Bay 1996
Smart Chieftan 2000
Storm Again 2001
In The Spotlight 2012
Star Superior 2019

4. Yeravada 8 

Gold Street 1951
Balchand 1957
Prince Pradeep 1964
Our Select 1968
Bright Hanovar 1971
Commanche 1976
Squanderer 1977
Mohawk 1980

5. Kunigal 5

Rough Deal 1955
Fair Wood[NSB] 1959
Topmost 1974
Desert God 2016
War Hammer 2020

Most Consecutive Wins (5).

Usha Stud & Farms - Track Lightning (1981), Almanac (1982), Nelston (1983), Enterprising (1984) and Revelation (1985).

Poonawalla Farms - Cordon Bleu (1988), Exhilaration (1989), Desert Warrior (1990) Starfire Girl (1991) and Astonish (1992).

All Four On Board.

1. Manjri (1962) - LOYAL MANZAR, Rushikesh, Hoyogreeb and High Party.

2. Poonawalla Farms (1989) - EXHILARATION, Northern Star, Knight Earnest and Midnight Madness.

3. Poonawalla Farms (1996) - AMAZING BAY, Cape Knight, Queen Ann and Fashionable Dancer.

Winners Conceived At One Stud But Born At Another - Odds On, Bucephalus, Rosede Bahama, Mansoor, Pyare Miya and Antonios.

Winner Born At One Stud But Reared At Another - Regal Domain.  



Fate of Favourites. In two years, there were joint favourites. The total number of favourites is hence 82.

Won 35
Second 23
Third 7
Fourth 4
Unplaced 13

Winner's Odds.

Bookmakers did not offer any odds on the winner Royal Tern in 1979. In 2021, bookmakers did not operate. Distribution shown below pertains to the remaining 78 years.

Odds On to Evens 16
11/10 to 2/1 12
21/10 to 3/1 10
31/10 to 5/1 10
51/10 to 10/1 18
10/1 to 25/1 11
25/1 to 50/1 1

Longest Winning Sequence of Favourites (8). From Starfire Girl (1991) to Star Supreme (1998).

Longest Losing Sequence of Favourites (9). From Allaire (2001) to Set Alight (2009).

Month of Foaling

Distribution of Indian Derby winners according to their month of foaling:

January 8
Februray 19
March 19
April 15
May 14
June 5

Foal Number
Distribution of Indian Derby winners according to their foal number:

First Foal 5
Second Foal 21
Third Foal 10
Fourth Foal 12
Fifth Foal 10
Sixth Foal 7
Seventh Foal 5
Eighth Foal 5
Ninth Foal 3
Tenth Foal 1 (War Hammer)
Thirteenth Foal 1 (Psychic Flame)

Start Before The Derby

The start before the Derby is considered an important factor by many. The salient aspects of the lead-up race are the finishing position, gap between the lead-up and the Derby, the racechosen and the distance over which it is run. Lead-up races of all 80 winners are analysed below.  

The Lead-Up Race (Distance)

R R Ruia Gold Trophy (2000 m.). The predecessors to this race were the Trial Stakes and the Sir H M Mehta Trophy. Both had the same terms and conditions as the Ruia. This is the most favoured race with 28 winners having run in it prior to the Derby.

Indian Oaks (2400 m.). 15 winning fillies had used the Oaks as their lead-up race.

Indian 2000 Guineas (1600 m.). This was the stepping stone of 14 colts.

Regional Derbies (2400 m.). 14 outstation Indian Derby winners had come with a regional Derby win to their credit.

Other races. Nine other Indian Derby winners had chosen other races to sharpen themselves for the Derby.

There is no clear-cut pattern as regards distance, class or track among them.        

Time Gap

Less Than Seven Days 9
8 to 14 days 16
15 to 21 days 18
22 to 28 days 19
29 to 35 days 11
36 to 42 days 5
More Than 42 days 2

Effect of the Draw

The starting position of each horse -- the draw number -- is known for the last 51 renewals. Overall, it would seem that the draw has only a negligible impact on the result; 25 of the winnershad started from an  inside draw; three had a central; draw while 23 had won an outside stall. However, if only large fields -- 14 or more starters -- are considered, an outside draw has a slight advantage -- 11 to 7 -- over an inside draw.    


A total of 57 stallions are responsible for the 80 winners. Of them, three -- Philosopher (Mansoor Beg[NSB]), Star of Gwalior (Loyal Manzar) and Prince Pradeep Bright Hanovar) -- were born inIndia, eight sires were standing abroad and 46 were imported stallions.

Leading Sires

1. Grey Gaston* 5

Manitou 1978), Track Lightning (1981), Nelston(1983) Enterprising (1984) and Revelation (1985).

2. Razeen[USA] 4

Indictment (1997), Star Supreme (1998), Psychic Flame (2004) and Southern Regent (2005).

3. Spadassin* 3

Jeanne d'Arc (1948), Martial Law (1952) and Commoner (1954)

4. Rock of Gibraltar 3

Rocklie (1963), Fair Haven (1969) and Prince Khartoum (1972)

5. Riyahi[IRE] 3

Cordon Bleu (1988), Starfire Girl (1991) and Amazing Bay (1996).

6. Malvado[CAN]  3

Exhilaration (1989), Desert Warrior (1990) andAstonish (1992).

7. Alnasr Alwasheek[GB]    3

Storm Again (2001), Noble Eagle (2003) and In The Spotlight (2012).

Most Consecutive Wins (3).  Grey Gaston*  Nelston, Enterprising and Revelation.

Youngest Sire (4YO)   - Grey Gaston (Manitou).
Oldest Sires (19YO)   - Bellrue* (Balchand) and Burden of Proof[IRE]   (Desert God).

Sires Who Were Derby Winners Themselves - Star of Gwalior (sire of Loyal Manzar) and Prince Pradeep (sire of Bright Hanovar).

Only Derby Winner To Sire Classic Winners In Two Countries. Bucephalus, sire of Belamina (India) and El Karta (Pakistan).

Something Unique. Stallions Spadassin* and Dark William* had just one foal in their crops of 1944 and 1962 respectively. Those foals -- Jeanne d'Arc (by Spadassin*) and Red Rufus (by Dark William*) -- won the Indian Derby.


Leading Maternal Grandsires

1. Sheridan 3

Princess Beautiful (1943), Balam (1949) and Loyal Manzar (1962)

2. Belfonds 2.

Jeanne d’Arc (1948) and Martial Law (1952)

3. Treasure Leaf[USA] 2

Star Supreme (1998) and Southern Regent (2005)

4. Razeen[USA] 2

Moonlight Romance (2011) and Alaindair (2014)

5. Placerville[USA] 2

In The Spotlight (2012) and Star Superior (2019)

Maternal Grandsires Who Were Derby Winners Themselves (3).  

Prince Pradeep (Revelation), Red Rufus (Desert Warrior) and Elusive Pimpernel (Hall of Famer).

Stallions Who Figure As The Sire As Well As Maternal Grandsires of DerbyWinners (9).

Sheridan*, Prince Pradeep, T.V. Sunday[USA],  Ilheus[USA], Grey Gaston*, Selkirk, Razeen[USA], Placerville[USA]and China Visit[USA]. Selkirk is unique because he is the only one who stood abroad.


CURFEW III*. The only dam to produce two Indian Derby winners -- Jeanne d'Arc (1948) and Martial Law (1952).

MAANDAVI. The only dam who came closest to emulating Curfew III*. She is the dam of the winner Desert Warrior (1990) and also of La Bonne Vie who was beaten only a short-head in the 1992 Derby. She isthe only dam to have produced a winner (Desert Warrior), a runner-up (La Bonne Vie) and a third (Queen Ann, 1996).

ROCKLIE.  No Indian Derby winning filly has so far produced an Indian Derby winner. Rocklie came closest to it. Her son Storm was beaten by only a short-head in the 1972 Indian Derby.

STUNNING. She is the only dam to have produced three Indian Derby favourites. Smart Chieftan won while Classical Act and Southern Empire lost.

TRUFFA[IRE] was five years old when she foaled Velvet Rope (2006) and was the Youngest Dam.

CENTIME* was twenty years old when she foaled Commanche (1976) as such was the Oldest Dam

Seventy nine mares have produced the 80 Indian Derby winners.

39 of those were imported
40 were Indian-bred.
11 dams were unraced,
10 were Classic winners in India,
7 hadplaced in Classics,
3 were black-type winners
2 had placed in black-type races.

The best Indian Derby performance of all Dams is of Eminence who placed second in1985; Chaitanya Ratham, Running Flame and Circle of Bliss had run third while Tosca and Birthday Girl had placed fourth.


These statistics have been computed manually from handwritten records that have been maintained over the years. While due care has been taken to ensure the correctness, there is scope for inadvertent errors. Errors should be corrected and not allowed to be perpetuated. As such, readers are requested to bring to notice any errors or discrepancies they notice in HORSE TALK. They will be individually acknowledged and corrections carried out