Chavan had no peers: Gosden upbeat about Golden Horn - By Tom Krish
Posted on - 23 Oct 2015
Chavan had no peers: Gosden upbeat about Golden Horn
By Tom Krish
I have known about Shamu Chavan’s passing for some time and I admit to being remiss in not saying a thing or two about a jockey I admired and whose artistry in the saddle I was privileged to see.
My first visit to Mahalakshmi was in November 1965. I remember the very first race. Rainbow Trout, Raghunath up, was opposing Humour, a three year-old who had an imposing record. Humour found his older adversary too much. The last race that afternoon saw Red Rufus go to the post as the public choice. Jockey Joseph was on board and the pair roared through the Mahalakshmi stretch to justify the public confidence. As the season progressed, Red Rufus won the 2000 Guineas with Raghunath. In the Ruia Cup, Red Rufus was beaten. The Dark William progeny won the Indian Derby and went on to win the 1966 Invitation Cup held at Mahalakshmi.
At that time, jockey Chavan was primarily riding for the Maharaja Of Gwalior and trainer Major V M Lad. There are two instances of Chavan’s mastery of the trade he practiced that come readily to my mind. Meghdoot, a Gwalior-owned grey, was a regular Chavan mount. It was a 2400-metre race and Meghdoot, the perennial crowd favorite, appeared beaten but Chavan, known for his driving finishes, lifted his mount to get the photo verdict. That season, Meghdoot and ShamuChavan won several prestigious events.
Another and a more striking case of Chavan’s strength was on a horse called Ros Rock. Silver Mist, in top form, was seeking a hat trick. The Irani-owned Silver Mist, ridden by George McGrath, was the public rage. Ros Rock’s ‘paper form’ left a lot to be desired. It was a duel down the endless Mahalakshmi stretch. Ros Rock won in the closest of finishes. This was in early 1967.
Pandu Khade was a ‘touch artist’ and was able to coax his horses to do their best. ShamuChavanhad impeccable decision-making skills and had no peer in terms of forceful riding. I remember the riding colony. There were Rajoo and Raghunath. Damodar and Purtu Singh made their presence felt often. Stan Smith, Jack Wilson, George McGrath, Eric Eldin, Paul Cook., Johnny Roe, Joe Mercer and Frankie Durr are names I am able to recall.
Doncaster hosts the Group I Racing Post Trophy on Saturday. It is a 1600-metre race for two year-old colts and fillies. Seven run. Foundation and Deauville are the two top contenders. The former beat the latter by three parts of a length on September 26 in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket. John Gosden, the champion trainer in England in 2015, sends out Foundation.
Aidan O’Brien has won the Racing Post Trophy seven times. He has three runners. O’Brien has stated, “he (Deauville) did win his maiden on testing ground but the rain they are expecting would not be an advantage as he prefers better ground.”
Golden Horn, the 4/7 favorite to win the 2400-metre Breeders Cup Turf, jets to Louisville from Stansted ( UK airport) on Saturday. John Gosden expressed his thoughts. “He is in good form. Firm ground is fine. We don’t want too much rain. It is a tight track over a distance of about a circuit and a half but Golden Horn is pretty handy. He should be fine around there.”
Ryan Moore rides Highland Reel in the Group I Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in Australia. The distance is one mile two furlongs and 44 yards. Fourteen go postward. Moore is in a different continent every week. Moore is seeking an encore in the Cox Plate.
There are 200 horses pre entered for the Breeders Cup races next Friday and Saturday. The post position draw ceremony will be held on Monday, October 26. The fields will be set then. The ceremony begins 1 P M Eastern Time.
Now a paragraph about the BC Pick Six. The Super Bowl, the final game in the American Football system, attracts a great deal of wagering. In 2014, $127,800,000 was wagered on the BC races. The Super Bowl had $115,900,000. The Pick Six did not have a winner in 2014. There were five consolation tickets worth $114,472 each. In 2013, the Pick Six had 36 winners worth $47,516 each. There were 1,845 consolation winners worth $406 each. Pick Six is a hugely popular wager in the Breeders Cup betting format.
Finally, a word on a colt making a winning debut at Doncaster on Friday. Royal Artillery, a War Front colt, was the favorite at Doncaster and delivered in great style. Frankie Dettori was the winning jockey. Royal Artillery won by two and one half lengths. Is this colt another Golden Horn?
Trainer Gosden was restrained in his enthusiasm. “He is a big colt. He has taken time to come to himself. He had a lovely run through and will have learned a lot about racing.”
Gosden arrives at Lexington on Wednesday in a bid to make his already great season a greater one.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the author's personal views.)