The Derby winner and the cigarette box
A silver-gilt cigarette case, commemorating the first and only win Derby by an Indian owner, and once owned by the former Classic-winning trainer, Marcus Marsh, was sold at auction in Newmarket on Tuesday.
Specially made by jewellers, Mappin and Web, it was commissioned by the Maharajah of Rajpipla, the owner of Windsor Lad, winner of the 1934 Derby.
It was a gift for Mr Marsh who had bought the colt, subsequently named after his owner’s estate in Windsor, as a yearling.
Marsh, the son of the Newmarket trainer, Richard Marsh, had been told to spend no more than £1,200 but he had to go to £1,300 to secure the beautifully bred colt, by Blandford out of Resplendent, winner of the Irish 1000 Guineas and Oaks.
Initially the Maharajah was reluctant to pay the extra £100, but Marsh was eventually able to persuade him. And it was to prove an excellent investment
Windsor Lad won four races for his owner, including the Derby, but after finishing third in the 1934 Eclipse Stakes, a defeat attributed to a bad ride by jockey Charlie Smirke, the Maharajah sold him for enormous sum of £50,000 to bookmaker Martin Benson. The horse went on to win the St Leger and the Coronation Cup and Eclipse of 1935.
A flamboyant society figure, who counted Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, and members of the royal family, among his closest friends, the Maharajah was the most successful Indian race horse owner of the 20th century.
As well as his victory at Epsom, he also owned the winners of the first Indian Derby and the Irish Derby.
Will Axon, senior valuer for auctioneers Rowley’s Fine Art, said: ”The Maharajah first registered his racing colours in England in 1924 and the cigarette case, made for his trainer Marcus Marsh, is enamelled with the royal colours as well as the Maharajah’s cypher and is inscribed inside with ‘Windsor Lad,The Derby 1934’.
The case belonged to an unamed Suffolk vendor and was sold for £500.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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