This year’s United Insurance Barbados Derby not only marks the 30th anniversary of sponsorship of this premier sporting event by that company but also provides the opportunity for the crowning of more horse racing champions.
This great classic, with its tremendous prestige and rich history, has over the years produced several champions. These top performers represent the very elite of the sport with some holding the status of legends here in Barbados and beyond.
Two United Insurance Barbados Derby winners that stand out are Coo-Bird and Incitatus. These Triple Crown winners are still today the subject of great debate and sometimes even heated arguments as to which was the better horse.
Coo-Bird holds the record for the most wins by any horse. In his seven year career he won 23 of his 53 starts and earned just over half a million dollars in prize money. Coo-Bird actually won 25 races but was disqualified twice.
Incitatus wrote his name indelibly in history when he romped to victory in the 1997 Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup. Incitatus after winning the Gold Cup was sent to Canada where he raced with success becoming the first West Indian bred horse to win in graded company in North America.
Owner-breeder George DeVere Davis, known to most people as “Vere”, has registered outstanding success in the United Insurance Barbados Derby. He has bred five winners, four of which carried his colours to victory.
Davis’ Happy Style holds the distinction of winning the first Barbados Derby under United Insurance Company Limited’s sponsorship. He had back to back winners with Coo-Bird and his half brother Ginger Dove in 1989 and 1990 and he was back in the winner’s enclosure with Oba Dove in 2002.
Most Barbadian horsemen dream of breeding the Triple Crown winner but George DeVere Davis did even more. He bred Coo-Bird who won in 1989 and Zouk who took the title in 2006. While Coo-Bird won in Davis’ silks, Zouk was owned in partnership by Richard Edwards and Angela Simpson.
It could be said that celebrated trainer Bill Marshall made the United Insurance Barbados Derby his very own. “The Governor” as he was dubbed, saddled a record nine winners.
Chally Jones has the distinction as a jockey of winning the Barbados Derby a record 11 times. His role since the race has been sponsored by United Insurance has been that of trainer and breeder. As a trainer, Jones has had to abide in the shadow of Bill Marshall, saddling five winners to “The Governor’s” nine.
Chally Jones, as a breeder, has much to be proud about. At his Blue Ribbon Stud Farm, located at Neil’s in St. Michael, he has produced alone or in partnership, three United Insurance Barbados Derby winners, including two Triple Crown winners.
Jones’ first Derby winner as a trainer came with the filly, Paddy Bird, which was bred in partnership with his wife Diana. Incitatus, who took the Triple Crown in 1996, was bred in partnership with Jean Louis Beuzelin but it was all Chally with the 2009 Triple Crown winner, Areutalkintome.
There is another Jones who has made quite a name for himself in the United Insurance Barbados Derby. This time it is Chally’s son, Jonathan. “Jono”, as he is known, has won five of the last 30 editions of the United Insurance Barbados Derby.
His first Derby success was astride Overdraft which was trained by his father and owned by Trinidadian Herbert Gonsalves. He was back in winners’ row the very next year with Winsome Lass which finished second but was promoted to first after the winner Indian Jewel was disqualified.
Jono Jones’ next Derby successes came on Zarmella and Incitatus in 1994 and 1996 respectively and Alaska Pete in 2000. Jockey Anderson Trotman, could be contemplating the possibility of catching and even passing Jono Jones as the top rider in the United Insurance Barbados Derby. So far, he has won the race three times and as he is still at the peak of his career could put his name in the history books.
The United Insurance Barbados Derby has also had its champions among the breeding stock. The stallion Happy Boy has sired four winners of the classic, with the now legendary Nosferatu producing just one less.
Rare Dove holds the honour of being the top broodmare on the United Insurance Barbados Derby honours list. She foaled back to back winners Coo-Bird and his half brother Ginger Dove in 1989 and 1990.