Speed King, owned by Chennai-based owner M Sudhakar Reddy and trained by ace jockey-turned-trainer Malesh Narredu, won the mid-day Trophy yesterday at the Mahalaxmi racecourse. Speed King was piloted by trainer Malesh Narredu's son, Yash.
Winning surge: Jockey Yash Narredu guides Speed King to victory over Ephialties (S Zervan up, centre) and Glorious Reward (N Rawal up, right) in the mid-day Trophy at Mahalaxmi racecourse yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan
Ephialties (S Zervan up) went to the post as a prime favourite at 2/1, while Speed King was quoted as second favourite at 5/2. Yash Narredu astride Speed King took a good jump and settled in third berth all the way, before accelerating midway in the homestretch to stride out for a rather comfortable one-length victory over the late-finishing Glorious Reward (N Rawal up) who pegged back favourite Ephialties by half a length to wrest the runner-up spot.
When 16-year-old Yash Narredu picked up the Saturday edition of mid-day and read that actress Sonam Kapoor would give away the mid-day Trophy on Sunday at the races, he excitedly rushed to his dad, horse trainer Malesh Narredu, and said, "Dad, I must win this race, and come what may, I am going to win the mid-day Trophy."
That's because Yash, one of the rising stars on the horse racing circuit who is yet to complete a year in the saddle but has already notched up 59 wins, is a huge fan of the actress. "You can say I am mad about her," Yash confessed to mid-day after receiving the trophy from Sonam Kapoor, "I have seen each of her movies a number of times, and therefore receiving the mid-day Trophy from her is like a dream come true for me." Yash revealed he was only thinking about Sonam Kapoor and the mid-day Trophy for the last 24 hours.
"When I was returning after my ride in the earlier race, I saw Sonam Kapoor entering from the Gallops restaurant gate, and I lost my breath," the teenager riding sensation continued in an excited tone, "God, please help me win the next race, I prayed."
Actors Sonam Kapoor and Randeep Hooda (centre) present the mid-day Trophy to Speed King trainer Malesh Narredu as RWITC committee member Vivek Jain (extreme left) and mid-day Infomedia Ltd's CEO and MD Vikas Joshi (extreme right) look on. Pic/Shadab Khan
Trainer Malesh Narredu confirmed what Yash revealed, saying the child is really infatuated with the actress. "I told him you can win this race," Malesh told mid-day, "I said I have prepared the horse well, ride a good race and you can definitely win."
"Speed King came to me recently, and I specially targeted him for the mid-day Trophy," said the winning trainer, "because the mid-day Trophy day has always been such a special day with unique glamour and glitz as added bonus, but as a jockey I had never won this race, so I was really looking forward to this day as a trainer." "This is the first time I targeted this Trophy as a trainer," added Malesh, "and I am glad I won it."
"I must thank mid-day for also getting Randeep Hooda on the dais along with Sonam Kapoor," Malesh said, "and it was an honour receiving the prize from him — I see him riding every morning at the track, and I must say he is an accomplished rider himself, because the horse he rides is the one I had ridden as a jockey, and I can tell you he is a very, very difficult horse to ride."
We may soon come to know what a fine rider Randeep really is, because after the trophy presentation ceremony Randeep was seen talking to the race club's chairman Khushroo Dhunjibhoy, "I have bought one of your old horses, and I am soon going to win a medal with him at a dressage competition."
Tiger Tops, trained by Pesi Shroff, pulverised opposition to win the Villoo Poonawalla Indian Oaks (Gr 1) which was slated as the prime event of yesterday's card.
The Tiger Hill - Cockayne four-year-old filly assumed command soon after the halfway mark of the mile-and-a-half trip, and lengthened her strides after the final turn to sail away for an impressive victory. She was ridden by Irishman Colm O'Donoghue who rides for Shapoor Mistry, the business tycoon.