Horse No 14, Super Storm ridden by jockey Jimmy Fortune stunned a packed crowd at Mahalaxmi to win the Derby yesterday. The name up in lights was trainer Satish Narredu, who seems to have lost some hair, but none of his flair for racing.
The former jockey now sealed the deal with a Derby win as trainer too, saying on the dais that “Winning the Derby as a jockey and now winning it as a trainer are two different things. I am on such a high right now,” he said to cheers as the champagne popped. When asked if there were the proverbial butterflies in his stomach, the Bangalore-based trainer said, “No, no, no butterflies at all.” Narredu also thanked a number of people for letting jockey Jimmy Fortune ride the horse.
Said Narredu, while walking back to the paddock, with his son, Rajesh Narredu carrying the trophy, “I was always confident about this horse. I knew though that Super Storm had it in the bag on the last turn before he came on to the home straight. I saw that the horse was caught between horses, but Jimmy (Fortune) gave him a great ride, came out from there and went on to win.”
Talking about the Narredu name in racing, Satish Narredu became a bit philosophical when he said, “God has been kind. What this signifies is honesty in racing. What I say is that one has to be honest to the horse, more than anybody else, even the owner, trainer, be honest to the horse as a jockey.”
When asked what that last statement meant, Satish Narredu explained, “By that I mean you have to give your 100 per cent to the horse. Think of the man (punter) who has come in here with Rs 10 in his pocket and bet on that horse. Do complete justice to that horse,” he said emphatically before being swallowed up by snaking mikes with television journalists crowding around him for ‘sound bytes’.
Meanwhile sponsor Vijay Mallya, who came in for praise from Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) chairman, K Dhunjibhoy. Mallya said that the 29th edition of the race proved that it had not just grown but “evolved. Let’s make a date for the first Sunday of February 2014 too, the day the Derby is traditionally run.” Then, Mallya added as an aside, “On a personal level, next year, I hope I have a runner in the Derby.” He said about trainer Satish Narredu, “I know him for over two decades. He has ridden in the colours of my friend MAM Ramaswamy though I think he has ridden for me too, in the past,” he said.
Incidentally, Mallya arrived from the paddock to the dais in the middle of the ground, in front of the stands to give away the trophy (this is a recent trend, earlier ceremonies were conducted at the paddock) in a vintage car with club chairman K Dhunjibhoy and the head of the club’s marketing committee, Vivek Jain. Maybe, the next year it would be in an aircraft from the magnate’s beleaguered fleet.