It?was?not a massive crowd by any means but hundreds of Barbadians were at the Garrison Savannah for one of local horse racing’s majors – the Massy United Insurance Derby – and they were not disappointed.
Some of this country’s finest entertainers – Biggie Irie, Blood and Mikey – delighted fans on the in-field with some of their top songs. But the biggest hit was the performance of 10-1 shot Voldemort which landed its owners Bills Inc. more than $70 000.
One of the owners, Geoffrey Bynoe, a nephew of former West Indies opening batsman Robin Bynoe, said yesterday’s derby triumph was one of the highlights of his career.
“Its great, absolutely. Winning the derby is the biggest day in horse racing for me. Before that it was capturing the Breeders Classic in 2004. That was a big day for me as well, but the Derby is special. I am very happy with today’s [yesterday’s] result,” he said.
Some fans came from as early as 2:30 p.m. two hours before the derby, with most of them having eyes only on heavy favourite Noble Intent riddden by Anderson Trotman. However, Noble Intent seeking to become only the seventh horse in local history to win the triple crown, finished near the back of the field.
For some, the result was academic and it was more about the ambience and atmosphere of the Derby.
“The Derby is something special. I didn’t place a bet and wasn’t too concerned about who crossed the line first, it was just about being here and enjoying the moment. The Derby is a big race and it is great to witness such an event,” said one fan who gave his name as Ivan. He said that he had been to the Garrison for many years but it was the first time he had watched the Derby which is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Winning jockey Rickey Walcott, said he was happy to deliver and upset the form book.
“Its an exciting feeling. Noble Intent was the horse to beat having won big races, but I wasn’t bothered, I ride every race to win.
“I was ordered to get a little closer to the pace, but I realised that everyone wanted to go fast, so I just left him a little of the pace and he just responded very well.
“I have a Gold Cup on Whiskey For Me, but it is great to win a Derby. This rates very high,” said a delighted Walcott.