KOLKATA RACES1. STAR AACT is a decently bred got abroad and has been tracked, should improve upon winter runs. STAR ROUTE is from a non raced mare and an ordinary sire. ARTEGAL won a mile in last run and has been worked. THE DARK LORD is down a lot in scales.ARTEGAL(5)-WINSTAR AACT(2)-PLACE.2. AVALOME VILOME was…
Source: OPRC Rally – Day 1
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A Jockey’s career is one of uncertainties. Success is hard to come by. Risk factor looms large each time he gets a leg-up. Whether it’s a race ride or regular work regimen, this professional always runs a risk of limb or even life. However, the love for the equine athlete, the excitement of speed and power and the pursuit of huge success with it the glory that comes, is what drives the ‘little men’ in the high speed business. Each winner is hard-fought and well-earned. One can imagine what it takes to cross the “1000 Winners” mark. There have been a number of skillful and talented jockeys in the history of Indian racing. However, only a handful of jockeys have been able to achieve this milestone. Jockey PS Chouhan touched the magic mark recently in Bangalore. His journey spanning over fifteen years has had its share of joys and hard-times. In an exclusive interview with Indiarace, jockey PS Chouhan speaks his heart out on his humble beginnings and the struggle to his champion status currently, to our correspondent Madhukar Bhagawan.
Congratulations Chouhan on joining the elite 1000 club. Tell me about your early days in racing.
P.S.Chouhan: I am delighted to have achieved this landmark. My racing blood comes from my maternal side. My grandfather Mr. Purtu Singh was a jockey and then a trainer. My uncles M.P.Jodha and Bajarang Singh were accomplished horsemen when I first ventured into this field. It was in the year 1996 that I came for an interview to join the jockey school. I was sent back by the club as they felt that my weight was not enough to be a rider. When I returned two years later, the club this time said that I was overage to be taken as a student in the Amateur Riding School at Bombay. I was perplexed and helpless as I was determined to pursue my career as a jockey. Seeing my deep enthusiasm, my uncle requested the club to give me a chance and to my great relief the club agreed to take me in. I learnt initially under Mr Jimmy Baruacha who was in-charge of the riding school.
IR.: How many rides did it take to get your first win?
P.S.: Fortunately I did not take too long to score my first win. It was after my tenth ride or so, cannot recall exactly but it was within fifteen rides.
IR.: Do you remember your first winner?
P.S.: Oh yes! Every sportsman remembers his/her first success. Mine came on a horse named Monsoon Magic in Pune, which was owned and trained by my uncle M.P.Jodha.
IR.: Do you still recollect those winning moments?
P.S.: I was very excited as I had failed on a few fancied horses before that, it was a very relieving moment when I scored my first winner.
IR.: When did you venture out from Western India?
P.S.: It was in the year 2005 when I came down to Mysore to ride one of trainer Pradeep Annaiah’s horses. I was back again in 2007 at Bangalore. My first mount at Bangalore was Tapatio in the Governor’s Cup and I returned successful in that race.
IR.: You took almost 12 years to get your first 500 wins and the remaining 500 came in just three years.
P.S.: It was difficult to get winning mounts initially. There were leading jockeys like Aslam Kader, Malesh Narredu and Pesi Shroff. R.W.I.T.C. also had certain restrictions on the apprentices riding outside the home centre. There were a lot of foreign riders coming down during the Mumbai season and being an apprentice I had to wait long for my chances. I then decided to move to Bangalore.
IR.: When did you start to ride at Hyderabad?
P.S.: I would ride here and then at Hyderabad. My first win at Hyderabad was for trainer L.D’Silva. During the summer season at Bangalore Mr.Shehzad Abbas offered me a retainer to ride for him at Hyderabad and that was the beginning.
IR.: You have had a great stint with trainer Deshmukh. How did your alliance begin?
P.S.: It was more by chance. Mr.Deshmukh had a good string of horses with him but jockey R.Rupesh was already retained by the stable. During the end of the season in 2009 I directly approached Mr.Deshmukh for rides. I am happy that I could win 11 races for him in five meetings. The subsequent season Mr.Deshmukh offered me a retainer ship and I was only too happy to accept it wholeheartedly.
IR.: You have been awarded the leading jockey honour for two consecutive years by the Turf authorities of India. How do you feel about it?
P.S.: It’s every jockey’s dream to be at the top on the national scene. It’s a very big achievement for me and I have worked really hard to get there. It would not have been possible without the support of my owners and trainers. Mr.Deshmukh has been highly supportive. I would also like to make a special mention about all the riding boys and stable jockeys who would prepare the horses and I would be on them when they win. They are the ones who do the toiling largely and are unnoticed. I have been through the grind so I know the importance of their contribution. It all looks great when the jockey punches the air in triumph. The success should equally be attributed to the stable hands as well. They lay the foundation.
IR.: Have you ever taken any help to improve your riding skills?
P.S.: Aslam Kader has always been one of my favourite ‘go to’ man. As an apprentice I have ridden along with him and I have always adored his style of riding. I once approached him to help me improve my skills and he readily agreed to do so. I owe a lot to Aslam sir for what I am today. He would sit with me to watch the replays of my races and correct my mistakes. My uncle Bajrang Singh has also influenced substantially in shaping my career.
IR.: You ride in almost all the racing centres in India, how do you keep track of the horses that you ride?
P.S.: It’s a very difficult task. I always carry with me the racing videos of all centres and watch the replays regularly. I also check with the trainers about the behavioural patterns of their wards and also talk to the jockeys who have ridden them earlier. Chats with the riding boys also provide crucial insights as well.
IR.: The layout of each race track in India varies. Do you have to change your riding style for every course?
P.S.: Oh yes! Each track is different. In Bangalore there is an uphill climb with a short straight. Mumbai has a long home stretch. Hyderabad is a big track with a long stretch but the final turn is very sharp and at Kolkata one has to be very alert as the final stretch is very short. I have over the years learnt to change my style to suit the track and of course the horse I ride too.
IR.: Do horses also feel the difference in tracks?
P.S.: Yes, definitely. Some horses prefer a particular track condition. Some may relish the monsoon track while some may like the hard ones,
IR.: Have you ridden anywhere abroad?
P.S.: I have been concentrating on my riding here all these years that I have not really made an attempt to go abroad. Maybe in the years to come I would look for such opportunities.
IR.: There are a lot number of apprentice boys who have been licensed at almost every racing centre. What is your opinion about it?
P.S.: There is no use of issuing licenses like this. It is not going to help the boys greatly. First of all we should have proper infrastructure at every race course to train apprentice riders. We need a proper riding school with good instructors and facilities like gym etc. Most of the youngsters do not even know how to conduct before the Stipes or officials. Recently there was a false start in a race and many apprentice riders in the race were not even aware of what the siren indicates. There is no formal training available to them. We have on a number of occasions proposed to the Turf Authorities from the jockey’s association to have a good training school for jockeys, but there has been little progress. I sincerely request the authorities to consider such a training facility soon.
IR.: You have been the president of the jockey’s association of India for almost three years now. What is your agenda for the jockeys?
P.S.: The plight of many jockeys, especially those who are retiring are not very good. The priority is on having some good pension plans for the jockeys and hopefully we should roll it out by next year. The focus is to ensure a decent living for those who have worked hard yet success has eluded them. A secure financial future on life after retirement is mandatory for every individual from every walk of life. The well being of their families is at stake; hence it is of high priority.
IR.: Riding across the country involves a lot of travelling. How do you cope with your family life?
P.S.: It is very difficult. My family members miss me as much as I do them. I have a young son a daughter. It’s difficult to leave them behind, but I have a career and professional commitments to my owners and trainers. I am working hard so some sacrifices are inevitable. Modern technology like skype etc helps me to keep in touch with them. I am thankful to my family for being understanding and coping with my hectic schedules.
IR.: Would you want your son to be a jockey when he grows up?
P.S.: I would definitely encourage my son to be a jockey if he wants to. This profession has given me everything that I have, name, fame and a decent living. I am happy about it and if my son shows the talent and desire, why not?
IR.: What are your plans for the future?
P.S.: With the grace of God things are going good for me. I would like to get to 2000 as early as possible. I would also look at winning more classic races.
1. The well bred LITTLE BROWN JUG will take time to mature. PIPPIN is from a promising freshman sire and looks forward in works. APOLLO RISING has been subjected to lots of tracks by the laid back trainer, can placed now. Sitting here many thousand miles away from home without my reference material, I was just wondering as to why S Attaolhi and Dhariwal are not performing well this year, and then the thought- where are the Burden Of Proof’s this year, SALINA comes on the scene and looks good to me.
2. BUZZWORD who had finished on has a small chance with this weak rider. TIC TAC TOE has the good rider repeating. ALL CLEAR may place again. CLAARA was kept back last time, can strike now. SHE’S SPLENDID has been given a number of tracks, has a good rider at low weights.
SHE’S SPLENDID-CLAARA-TIC TAC TOE.
3. KINGS KID is showing good works, has fine bloodlines. MEDINAH the well bred has shown sparkle in works, can do well in first run.OCEAN PARK was stretched in last run, can place again. SHAFT is tracking fine. JINGLE BELLS ran a fast race, can show improvement.
JINGLE BELLS-MEDINAH-KINGS KID.
4. ORIENTAL STAR is from a speedy sire and was a good winner in last race, can repeat. FEET ON FIRE could not bridge the gap in last run despite whipping, goes with an allowance rider. TRIUMPH is from very ordinary breeding, has been tracked for long. CARDIGAN BAY from a Derby winner producing dam line has once been backed unsuccessfully in summers, may have benefitted from runs. PRAZSKY is from a speedy sire and was a catchy 2nd in last run in summers, but tendons showed up, looks fit in works.
CARDIGAN BAY-ORIENTAL STAR- PRAZSKY.
5. ACE BADRAAN is very nicely bred who has been really prepared and looks much improved, negative is top weight and a jockey who has yet to grow up in big league. PURSUIT OF FAME is impressive in tracks. ALL PROOF may need a shorter trip for win. SUR LA TETE is in top form and is much improved for the longer trips to handle. CROWN EMPEROR is still amaiden who is top bred and was a good 2nd, should like extra yards.
SUR LA TETE-CROWN EMPEROR-ACE BADRAAN.
6. ESTEBAN is tracking well after a long break, has handicap against. SECRET PUNCH has been an enigma, last run was too bad to be true, can upset. CHASE THE SUN may struggle in a sprint. TALISKER is an in and out runner who can be involved in the finish. ICELANDER is a speedy one who steps up to this class, should be fighting out. Something is brewing with JERSEY SHORE, has run weakly over 1400 m three times?, has a useful jockey switch.
SECRET PUNCH-ICELANDER-CHASE THE SUN.
7. DIAMONITE who lost on the post has chance to redeem , rider repeats at top weight. REAL STEEL was running wide and finished late, looks tough for win here. LAD STAR has been given a couple of gates, may be tried. NOVEL APPROACH is a good type who has handicap against a repeat now. OPEN PAGE was a fighting 2nd, may fight out again. SHIVALIK FIRE has been tracked for long, may surprise.
DIAMONITE-OPEN PAGE-REAL STEEL.
8. GAGAN STAR had gone away from the lot at the bend only to score at good odds, should run well again. ATTRACTOR is a late finisher may place again. BLIZZARD OF OZ should have won long time back, the scheming trainer can give an honest run in this weak field. ANGEL QUEEN is being fiddled with, why this good rider when runs are so backwards.?
BLIZZARD OF OZ-GAGAN STAR-ANGEL QUEEN.
DAYS BEST==SUR LA TETE
It’s that time of the year again: every holiday season, we collaborate with wonderful artists to create a festive WordPress illustration. I recently had the pleasure to work with Jacqui Oakley on this year’s version. I think you’ll agree that this frosty, shimmering image is a perfect representation of the season.
Cheer was a big hit last year, so we decided to give y’all another seasonal theme that captures the holiday spirit. Automattic’s Caroline Moore has adapted Jacqui’s illustration into a new theme called Shine On, now available on WordPress.com.
As you can see, it’s a winter wonderland of color, and makes terrific use of post formats to help you chronicle your holiday celebrations.
Shine On is a gleaming, colorful theme, a perfect tree topper for personal sites and blogs. Make yours sparkle with this festive theme, then share your holiday photos and stories with friends and family.
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The news came through during the night that Nelson Mandela has died.
I had a huge amount of respect for him. He came out of prison, and became our president. He pleaded for forgiveness and reconciliation in our divided country. He really did a lot for nation building, served just one term as president and gave over the power without stealing the country empty. he was truly an exceptional, world class leader. The last one in South Africa.
I still don’t get it how his shoes could be filled by our beloved President Jacob Zuma, who was broke when he became President, and now built a huge residential complex over R 200 million ($20 million) out of his own pocket. He also has the gift of healing. His friends get terminally ill in jail, gets a presidential pardon to die with dignity at home, and they all get miraculously healed…
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