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By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)
Tuesday 10 Jan 2017
Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

INDIAN DERBY, Sunday, 3 February 1957

A Cup value Rs. 3,000, sweepstakes of Rs. 800 with Rs. 55,000 added from the Fund. Total stakes Rs. 90,000. Winner, the Cup and Rs. 57,712.50; second, Rs. 17,100; third, Rs. 10,687.50; Rs. 4,500 to the Breeder of the winner.

For Indian colts and fillies, 4 year old only (foaled in 1953). Distance 1 1/2 miles. Colts 9 st., Fillies 8 st. 9 lbs.

1.   BALCHAND (P. Khade) (7/2)

      (br c Bellrue* - Uncharted* by Holywell)

     The Maharaja of Parlakimedi

2.   My Desire (Mull Singh) (8/1)

      (b/br c Kimberley* - School Cert* by Felstead)

      Mr. V.N. Appa Rao

3.   Mukhtar-ul-Mulk  (J. Egan) (2/1)

      (b c Hindostan - Tugboat by Portlaw)

      H.H. Maharaja Scindia of Gwalior

4.   Royal Salute (A. Amir Ahmed) (20/1)

      (b c MacKann* or Bistolfi* - Chand Bibi by Titian)

      Mr. K.P. Singhania

Also ran: Kimsel, Maneck Star, Peace Offensive, Native Dancer, Ocean Star, Welsh Way, Fair Lad and His Lordship. (12 ran)

Winner trained by D.N. Adenwalla

Verdict: 1, Nk, Hd  Time 2.41.8   Time: 2.41.8

Tote: Rs. 31 for win and Rs. 13, Rs. 17 and Rs. 12 for places.

Balchand was the first Indian Derby winner who had not commenced his racing career in Western India. Unlike the previous sixteen Indian Derby winners, the son of Bellrue had made his racing debut at Calcutta and summered in Bangalore before coming to Poona in the monsoons. Bred by Mr. E.D. Pandole, Balchand was born on 20 January 1953 at the Yeravada Stud and was the fifth foal of his dam. At the 1955 Auction Sale of two year-olds conducted by R.W.I.T.C., Ltd,, Balchand failed to meet his reserve price of Rs. 18,000 and was bought-in. Subsequently, he was purchased privately by the Maharaja of Parlakimedi  and sent to Capt. H.D. ("Dinky") Fownes at Calcutta.

Capt. Fownes waited till Balchand was a three year-old to give him his first start though he had come to hand early and was pleasing the trainer in his morning work-outs. On 15 January 1956, Balchand was under the Parlakimedi silks worn by jockey D.W. Morris when he contested the Division II of Sham Bazar Plate over six furlongs. He was installed an even money favourite and his fans had no causes for concern as he won by half a dozen lengths. The following week, L. Davis replaced D.W. Morris in the sadlle when Balchand was a hot order at 3 to 1 on to win the Philosopher Plate over the same distance. The winning margin this time was three and a half lengths but the Parlakimedi colt looked good throughout the race. After two races in space of seven days, Balchand was given a longish rest till he came out for the Kimberley Plate. Once again ridden by Davis and a well backed favourite at 10 to 8 on, he was given a fight by Phidias II but prevailed by three-parts of a length to complete his hat-trick, all his wins being over six furlongs and all as the favourite. His jockey, though, was fined Rs. 150 for careless riding. A fortnight later, he was upped to seven furlongs and had a new partner in Jagdish. He was still the favourite at even money and won easily by five lengths to stretch his winning run to four.

Going down to Bangalore for the summer, he had his first start towards the end of June in the Manjri Plate over six furlongs. The Bangalore Classics were yet to be instituted and Balchand was meant to have an easy programme. He was still not fully wound up, the distance of six furlongs was now short for him but the public backed him down to 10 to 6 on with Khade making his first acquaintance with the colt. Ratnavali kicked him badly at the start, got a flier when the tapes went up and led throughout  as Balchand finished third, three lengths adrift of the winner. On his reappearance in mid-July in the Apollo Cup over a mile, Balchand was again an odds-on favourite. He failed to land the odds, going down to Problematic and Aziz Pasha, two heads separating the first three. He would surely have won the race had he not drifted left in the closing stages. Balchand, however, made up for his two reverses early in August as he won the Hajee Sir Ismail Sait Memorial Cup over a mile, A.G. Thompson sending him to the front and leading right up to the winning post. Despite being eased in the closing stages, Balchand spared two and a half lengths to Fair Fight. As always, he was the favourite at 6/4, the odds better than what you could have got on him in any of his previous races. The Maharaja of Parlakimedi then sent Balchand  to trainer D.N. Adenwalla at Poona. Balchand's travelling companion was none other than the great Rock of Gibraltar.

At Poona, Balchand was given an airing towards the end of September in the Karad Plate over six furlongs.  He was obviously in fine fettle, full of beans, for  he threw his jockey Amir Ahmed on ground before the start. The jockey remounted and Balchand was in the rear of the field, lolling along, before being asked to stretch a bit in the straight. 

Balchand's Poona run may have pleased his trainer as to the colt's well being but he was still in the dark about his potential. Adenwalla's contemporaries would hardly have lost any sleep over Balchand's coming for the Western India contingent that year was a formidable one. The best of them was undoubtedly Hit or Miss (late Mohsin) (Willoughton - Miss Prestige) bred by trainer Baba Khan. The colt was so unimpressive as a youngster that Baba Khan neither entered him for the Auction Sale nor did he make any Classic entries for him. Mohsin, though, improved tremendously once he was put into training, had reeled off a hat-trick at the start of his racing career and was purchased by Maharaja of Kashmir knowing fully well that he was not eligible for the Classics, there being no provision of a final entry in those days. Like Hit or Miss, Gwalior's 'got-abroad' Mukhtar-ul-Mulk (Hindostan - Tugboat) had won three races as did Native Dancer (Tarquinius Superbus - Neola) while Royal Salute and Kashmir's Kimsel, a full-brother to his 1955 Indian Derby winner Rough Deal, had a brace of victories against their names. Native Dancer had beaten Kimsel at level weights while Hit or Miss had defeated both Native Dancer and Royal Salute, also at level weights, in the Kailashpat Singhania Gold Cup.

Hit or Miss summered in Bangalore where he was brought out just once in a race won by stable-mate Majante. Hit or Miss, Kimsel and Mukhtar-ul-Mulk did not race during the Poona season while Royal Salute won his only start across the Ghats. Native Dancer failed to win either of his two starts though he placed in both. The new stars to emerge during that Poona season were Fair Lad with three wins and Peace Offensive with two.

Balchand made his Mahalakshmi debut in mid-November when he lined up for the Lucknow Plate over seven furlongs. Thompson had come down from Calcutta to ride him but his odds of 7/1 were a clear indication that he was being given "just a run". Brilliant Music won the race as Balchand put in some good work towards the end to finish within two lengths of the winner. A sterner test awaited him in H.H. the Maharaja of Morvi Gold Cup where he was the second favourite to Mukhtar-ul-Mulk. Thompson tried to win the race from pillar to post but he weakened in the last part as first Royal Salute and then Hit or Miss passed him but he finished well clear of Mukhtar-ul-Mulk. Despite finishing only fourth in the race, Mukhtar-ul-Mulk was still the public choice for the Indian 2000 Guineas, Gr.1 three weeks later. This time, Morris made the trip from Calcutta to ride Balchand who was slowly away. Kashmir's Kimsel took charge of the proceedings well before the bend and seemed to be galloping to a victory when Morris came through from back of the field and challenged him at the distance. Balchand veered left but still managed to beat Kimsel by a length while Mukhtar-ul-Mulk was only third, finishing further behind Balchand than in the Morvi.

The Trial Stakes over ten furlongs had been introduced in 1955 as a lead-up for the Indian Derby. In the inaugural year, Kashmir's Rough Deal had won it before going on the win the big race. The following year, it became the Sir H.M. Mehta Gold Cup - now R.R. Ruia Gold Cup -- when Alam-E-Hind (Khade) beat Kashmir's favourite Noble Way. The 1957 renewal fell to Kashmir's Hit or Miss who won easily by two lengths from Mukhtar-ul-Mulk with Balchand another two lengths back in third. 

The advance booking queues for Rock Around The Clock stretched from Strand theatre to Radio Club as Bill Hailey and His Comets had the Bombayites foot-tapping while the Second General Elections fever, following the re-organization of states on linguistic basis and slated for late February, was beginning to be felt. The Derby lacked the customary anticipation. After all, the best horse -- Hit or Miss -- wasn't going to run, Balchand and Mukhtar-ul-Mulk had taken turns at finishing ahead of each other and two Classic winning fillies -- Titwillow and Rosalinda -- were not in the dozen strong field. There were rumours that the Gwalior jockey Jack Egan had been hitting the bottle which had been responsible for Mukhtar-ul-Mulk's tame efforts while Balchand was without a jockey. In mid-January, Rock of Gibraltar, the apple of Parlakimedi's eye, was caught flat-footed when the tapes went up for the Eclipse Stakes of India and his jockey Morris whipped the horse on the face in disgust. Parlakimedi was incensed and he instructed Adenwalla not to put up Morris on any of his horses. By this time, all big jockeys had committed  to Derby rides. Khade, the reigning Champion at Mahalakshmi for the previous three years, was riding that year principally for the Dagas and Maharaja of Idar. Idar sportingly agreed to release Khade since his Derby runner was a no-hoper. Adenwalla approached Khade and he agreed to ride Balchand but expressed his reservations because the colt's sandcrack in his hoof caused him to veer out under pressure.  Adenwalla acknowledged Balchand's foot problem, said that it was getting better and that since Khade ridden him in Bangalore he knew the horse and depended on him to get the best out of him.

Having won two races earlier on the Derby Day, the Kashmir camp was in high spirits. The Gwalior stable was buoyed when Star of Gwalior's half-sister Amrit Mahal scored before the Derby. Mukhtar-ul-Mulk at 2/1 was a Hobson's Choice favourite  of the public with Balchand and Kashmir's Kimsel next in demand. Balchand played up before the start and tried his best dump Khade. He was slowly off and dinked left towards the outer tan but Khade corrected him and brought him back to the field. Balchand's stable-mate Ocean Star made a beeline for the front and was in the lead as the dozen strong field approached the Hornby Vellard Corner.  Khade let Balchand settle, improving his position gradually. When Ocean Star cried halt at the five furlong pole, Native Dancer assumed command and  Balchand was now in the mid-field. Royal Salute, Kimsel and My Desire had Native Dancer in their sights and were waiting for a signal from their rider to go past the front runner. Kimsel collared Native Dancer at the top of the straight but My Desire cut in sharply, threw Kimsel completely off his stride, and set sail for home. Khade brought Balchand with a strong run down the centre of the track and just when it looked as if he would go past My Desire in a trice, he began hang left. His astute jockey very wisely decided to "ride the drift" and using  just hands and heels kept the horse as balanced as he could. Khade had started his run at just the right time and he won by a length. Egan had Mukhtar-ul-Mulk roused rather too late and though he was the fastest moving colt at the end, he had to settle for the third place. 

Maharaja Jiwajirao Scindia, by now, had enough of Jack Egan. He terminated the jockey's contract, told his trainer Maj. V.M. Lad to scratch Mukhtar-ul-Mulk from the St. Leger and ensure that Egan was on a flight to England at the earliest. Balchand and Kimsel crossed swords again in the Indian St. Leger. Kashmir had a 1-2 in the Eve Champion Cup when Hit or Miss beat his older stable-mate Rough Deal by short-head. Then came the St. Leger for which Balchand carried the public purse. Khade tried to win the race start to finish but was passed by Kimsel a furlong out. Kimsel established new track record of 3.03.2. Kashmir seemed all set for treble as his filly Soldina Slipper was the favourite to win Byculla Club Cup which was the next race after the St. Leger. Parlakimedi and Adenwalla, however had a score to settle. They had Rock of Gibraltar running who had won two races on the trot after the Morris-Eclipse Stakes fiasco. Ridden by Kheem Singh and carrying 8 lbs. more than Kimsel had in the St. Leger, the Rock beat Mangal by 8 lengths with Soldina Slipper another distance behind in third. Kimsel's track record lasted barely 30 minutes as Rock of Gibraltar clocked 2.57.8 for the same trip.

There is no doubt that Balchand won the Derby on merits as the race was run. It also cannot be denied that he was a very average winner of the race. Hit or Miss was the best of his vintage while Mukhtar-ul-Mulk came into his own the following year, winning good races and always beating Balchand. Balchand remained in training for three more years and won two races, both over a mile; one in Bangalore and the other at Bombay when he had been bought by Raja and Rani of Kurundwad. Bellrue had sired an earlier Indian Derby winner in Gold Street. Balchand's grandam was a half-sister to the Irish Derby winner Patriot King. She had two half-sisters called Illustrious and Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier was to become the third dam of the Indian Triple Crown winner Our Select while Illustrious was the fourth dam of Midnight Cowboy and Easter Parade.


Pandu Khade ended the year as the Champion Jockey at Mahalakshmi, his fourth straight title. Balchand was his second Indian Derby winner after Mansoor Beg and he was to win the big race later on Alijah and Mansoor. Dady Adenwalla was once asked whether he enjoyed Balchand's Derby win more or Rock of Gibraltar's quadruple that year. "I was very happy to win my first Derby but I could never get Balchand fully right and he wouldn't have won the race but for a superlative ride by Pandu. I made Rock of Gibraltar into the horse he became so I am partial to him."

Dady Adenwalla won the Indian Derby within six years of sending out his first winner at Delhi in 1951. He was to win another Indian Derby with Fair Wood for Kashmir and the Indian Turf Invitation Cup with Loyal Manzar. He trained a winner of each of the five Indian Classics at least once. He was the Champion Trainer once at Bombay and six times in Poona. The last runner that he saddled was a winner at Mahalakshmi. It is a most satisfactory record but overall his achievements did not quite match the potential he hinted at early in his career. After giving up training, he was a Senior Stipendary Steward at R.W.I.T.C., Ltd. for about two decades and later a member of the Board of Appeal. 

Maharaja Sri Krushna Chandra Gajapati Deo of Parlakimedi came into racing in 1926 when he won at Ootacamund with a horse called Stickfast. He never owned a big string but did exceptionally well with the horses that he had. His base was at Calcutta though he kept a few in training with Northmore -- Adenwalla served his apprenticeship under him -- at Bombay after the Independence. He won the Calcutta Gold Cup six times (Philanthropist, Ocean Way, twice, Our Owen and Courageous, twice), Queen Elizabeth II Cup four times (Ocean Way, Eastern Sea and Our Owen, twice) and the Eclipse Stakes of India with Rock of Gibraltar. Some of the other good horses owned by him include Alyattes, Stanbridge, Du-bon-air, Ouborough, Rontgen and Prabalo. Quite a few of the horses owned by him later became stallions. Parlakimedi's initial colours were green, gold cross sashes and cap. The pattern remained the same but colours changed to lilac and black for a while. Khade's jacket in the Derby was yellow with black cross sashes and he wore a black cap. 

Apart from his racing, he was noted a figure in political circles and is generally recognized as the man who successfully campaigned for creation of the state of Orissa. He passed away in 1972 at the age of 82. He is one of the two owners of an Indian Derby winner  in whose honour a postage stamp has been issued, Mr. Madhavrao Scindia being the other. Of course, it was his political and social work for which the honour was bestowed and not his racing exploits.