Crowning glory for Sandesh - By Usman Rangeela I Mirror
Posted on - 28 Apr 2014
Crowning glory for Sandesh
By Usman Rangeela
Four years after he rode to his first career win astride Pepe Junior on this same racetrack, 23-year-old A Sandesh was crowned as the season’s champion jockey at Mahalaxmi racecourse yesterday. Sandesh ended his campaign with his 66th win of this season astride An Jolie and, in the process,created a record of riding 151 winners in a year since last Mumbai season.
Despite having to wait a bit longer for this title — having had to share the Pune championship in 2012 with Dashrath Singh and then finding it within his reach before S Zervan wrested the title last year in unusual circumstances, Sandesh is glad that the occasion has finally arrived.
Sandesh has thus fulfilled the prophecy of his mentor Iqbal Nathani who had predicted that Sandesh is next Vasant Shinde (the legendary Matheran-born rider now settled in Bangalore) in the making long before he had lost his allowance as an apprentice rider.
TRUST AND FAITH
Sandesh has come a long way since he stepped inside the Mahalaxmi precincts in 2007 to chase his childhood dream of becoming a famous jockey like Shinde. The frail teenager has now blossomed into an ace rider. Although he thanks his parents for their blessings, Sandesh has no second thoughts when giving the primary credit of his success to Nathani and his“boss”Rehanullah Khan from whom he learnt how to be a good jockey.
After honing his skills in the saddle, Sandesh went on to earn the trust of punters. It’s the faith in his honesty that sees most of the Sandesh-ridden horses carry the public’s purse.
Although retained by trainer Mansingh Jadhav for owner Vijay Shirke, Sandesh is allowed to freelance which is why he is one of the most sought after jockeys in the circuit, flying frequently between Hyderabad, Kolkata and Bangalore during the peak season.
With over 350 victories under his belt including two back-toback Bangalore derbies, Sandesh feels sad that he missed out on the big one by losing Alaindair’s ride in the Indian Derby. But he has put that incident behind his back. He says, “It’s my bad luck but I am sure that I will win the Indian Derby soon.” Best of luck, we say.
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