Old horse Nefyn and Dharmendra charm racegoers
The spotlight yesterday was grabbed by two oldies. On the racetrack, it was seven-year-old Nefyn who came from behind and passed three-year-old Dancing Phoenix to claim the Gracias Saldhanha Memorial Million, the prime event, and half an hour later in the paddock it was Bollywood star Dharmendra who won the hearts of all by his frank and spontaneous speech which instantly touched a chord with everyone.
It was the famous film star’s second visit to the races. The star, who turned 79 yesterday, thanked the crowd, who chanted ‘Happy Birthday’, for always keeping him in their prayers by reciting an Urdu couplet which meant: “Had it not been for your wishes and prayers, I wouldn’t have been what I am today.”
The winner of the feature event, Nefyn, was trained by Bezan Chenoy and ridden by Irish jockey Jimmy Fortune who has been retained for this season by Shapoor Mistry, breeder of the winner who also owns it in partnership with Dilip Thomas.
Racegoers yesterday also got an opportunity to see veteran French jockey Olivier Peslier in action. Dubbed as the Frankie Dettori of France in his prime, the 40-year-old Frenchman has been engaged by Sham Ruia for the Classics season that will get underway from next Sunday (Dec 15) with the running of the Deltin Casinos Indian 1000 Guineas (Gr 1).