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Derby goes ?dirty? again

The dirty affairs and mutual distrust that lie beneath the gracious veneer at the Delhi Race Club (DRC) were exposed once again on Tuesday.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2006 02:38 IST

The dirty affairs and mutual distrust that lie beneath the gracious veneer at the Delhi Race Club (DRC) were exposed once again on Tuesday. In an incident that might go down in the history of DRC as the first case of open rebellion against the malpractices that take place there, the public went berserk and beat up a jockey and some officials after the first race of the day turned out to be what they called "a blatant case of cheating".

The incident happened at about 3 pm, when the 'The Family Welfare Stakes' was in progress and the two favourite horses, 'Confidential Lady' and 'Dazzling Win', were locked in a neck-and-neck contest. Incidentally, the odds before the race had been fluctuating pretty heavily in either's favour making it difficult for the public to decide which one to go for.

But just as the race was about to finish, Horse No. 2, 'Dazzling Win' stopped abruptly, resulting in 'Confidential Lady' reaching the finish line first. The punters cried foul and alleged that the jockey Amjad Khan had 'pulled' Dazzling Win to allow Confidential Lady, owned by Sultan Singh and Rajesh Sahgal, to win. "The race had been fixed. It was so obvious," said one of the punters.

But before the scene could get worse, the Delhi Race Course authorities intervened and declared the race null and void. "It was nothing, just a stray incident," said PS Bedi, President of the DRC, trying to play down the issue.

"Maybe, because it was the last day of Delhi races, the issue got boiled up a bit more than one would have expected. Anyways, we've declared the race null and void and given back the public its money."

Insiders say that another incident, of obstruction, had taken place on Monday, but because it wasn't as clear as the one on Tuesday, it attracted little attention.

"Even though we're sure, unless it is proved that the horse was pulled, you can't call it cheating. This is unfortunate.

At the moment, the official explanation in the record books is that the guilty horse didn't weigh in and the race was declared null and void just to cool tempers. The public got its money back and was pacified," complained one of the punters.