Jockey Kavraj Singh earns 'Night King' sobriquet

Until two weeks ago, neither he nor his horse earned a second glance from anyone. Managing to win only five races from nearly 90 mounts this season Kavraj Singh, a Rajput lad from Jodhpur, who started riding race horses four years ago, was just about eking out a living even as he waited for his big chance.

Kavraj Singh
Kavraj Singh 

And that big chance came on a platter when the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) conducted night racing over the last two weeks of the racing season which ended yesterday, as Kavraj created a sensation by winning five races from only seven mounts, at an incredible strike rate of 70%. To conclude the season in style, Kavraj Singh brought the 15-1 Gold Bag from nowhere to win the Audi Million, and received a boisterous applause from the crowd. "April has always been a lucky month for me," Kavraj told mid-day after winning the Audi Million, "it is my month of birth."

When asked about his birthday, he said it was April 1, All Fool's day. It's no wonder then that he fooled the followers of form and study, and went on reeling off race after race during the night racing programme. "I was confident about most of my winners," he continued: "that's because I only prepare these horses for Magan sir (MP Jodha) and Adhiraj Sir (Adhirajsingh Jodha). Right from my first ride, I had a special feeling about riding under floodlights, but I never imagined I would be able to create such a sensation."

With night racing most likely to be a regular feature from the next season scheduled to start on November 14 this year, this spectacular success may be Kavraj's passport to the big league. In a special prize distribution ceremony held after the 7th race on the Sunday card, Pesi Shroff and Trevor Patel earned the championship crown for the trainer and the jockey categories respectively, while Bhavani Singh won the apprentice jockey crown. Nirmal Singh's Hazara stud was adjudged the leading stud farm, while Dr MAM Ramaswamy emerged as the leading owner.

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