Patel to fly Indian flag with pride - By Michael Lee
Posted on - 05 Dec 2015
By Michael Lee
Trevor Patel has a hard act to follow in the Attitude International Jockeys’ Day at the Champ de Mars track on Sunday, but coolness seems to be his byword.
India’s multiple-champion jockey and his International Jockeys’ Day predecessor Sandesh Akhade share a few similarities. They are both around the same age, Akhade is 24 while Patel is one year younger, and they have already tucked under their belts a raft of India’s most prestigious races as well as several championship titles.
All very impressive, but to India-Mauritius racing exchange stalwart Naresh Gujadhur, there is something else both have in their corner that was the clincher to a berth at this year’s renewal of the IJW, sponsored by The Ravenala Attitude hotel.
Both Akhade and Patel won the Rajcoomar Gujadhur Memorial Trophy in Mumbai in 2013 with the top prize a trip to Mauritius.
“Akhade got invited to the International Jockeys’ Weekend last year and this year, it’s my turn to represent India,” said Patel.
“Mr Naresh took us to Mauritius after we won the race named after his grandfather. We both got the chance to watch the races, which looked very exciting. The racecourse is very small, but it should not be any problem as we have similar tacks in Calcutta and Bangalore, just a little wider.”
Unlike Akhade who grew up riding horses, Patel does not hail from a horsey background, but has always dreamed of becoming a jockey since the day he saw horses at the neighbouring Mumbai racecourse as a kid. He is aware Akhade did very well with a win aboard Cash Lord, but is unfazed by the expectations.
Like most of the other Indian young bucks who have been gracing the Champ de Mars racecourse with their presence of late, be it Akhade, Dashrath Singh or Suraj Narredu, Patel does not say much and would rather let his riding do the talking – or until he showcases his talent to Mauritius racegoers on Sunday, his impressive CV.
Based in Mumbai, Patel was champion apprentice jockey in Pune and Mumbai in 2010 and 2011 before he rose through the senior ranks with the same dominance – six titles in Bangalore, Mysore and Pune. With 685 wins (last winner came aboard Soviet Dancer in Calcutta last week) already to his credit and six Group 1 silverware, including the Bangalore Derby aboard Angel Dust this year, adorning his trophy cabinet, while he is only 23, it was not surprising he got the nod to become the No 1 rider of one of India’s most powerful outfits, that of Dr Vijay Mallya.
Coincidentally, Patel joined the prominent owner shortly after the position was left vacant by a jockey he will compete against on Sunday, Noel Callow. The young man may not have done battle against the rest made up of the likes of Arc winner Thierry Jarnet and July Handicap winner Stuart Randolph, but the prospect is not daunting him.
“I’ve ridden in apprentice series in Macau in 2011 and Qatar in 2012. It was a very good experience,” said Patel whose latest feature win came in the Group 2 Mysore 2000 aboard Bold Command.
“In India, we often get the chance to ride against international riders like Richard Hughes, my favourite jockey, James Boyle, Silvestre de Sousa and Colm O’Donoghue. I’m excited to see how I will measure up against these top riders from all over the world.
“I was told No Prisoners and Amber Palace were two of my better rides. With a bit of luck, I hope I can do India - and Mr Naresh proud.”