• Ruffina wins The Sprinters Cup (Gr.1)
  • Azzurro wins The Dr M A M Ramaswamy Stayers Cup (Gr.1)
  • Whomakestherules wins The Maj P K Mehra Memorial Super Mile Cup (Gr.1)
  • Kangra wins The Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Gr.1) in record timing

A champion all-rounder

Success has chased Jaggy Dhariwal in every sphere of his professional activity. A customs official at Heathrow Airport to begin with, Dhariwal has excelled in his chosen profession, first as a jockey and then as a trainer of outstanding merit. He is also a successful part-time breeder. The 57-year old Dhariwal without doubt, belongs to the elite.

His success has been the envy of his fellow professionals. The ease with which he has fitted into his new role as a private trainer to turf baron Dr Vijay Mallya and the instant success he has had in the highly competitive Mumbai environment have made people grudgingly acknowledge him as a stalwart. The short, stout and amiable professional is a champion in every sense of the term.

It is a pity that Dhariwal spent most of his time as a trainer at Hyderabad, which doesn't attract the turf barons of the country. But he made good with whatever he had, winning Derbys, the Invitation Cup, the Sprinters Cup et al, with some modestly bred horses. It is difficult to visualize what he would have achieved had he made his shift to Mumbai earlier. He had everybody take notice of his ability to train champions to perform at their peak through the all-conquering colt Chaitanya Chakram who won the Indian Derby, leading from the word `go', over the grueling 2400 metres trip, perhaps the only one in the history of Indian Derby to have done so in that style. Without doubt, Chakram was one of the greatest thoroughbreds to have graced the Indian turf. Horses, which chased him, came back in distress even as he kept bowling along merrily in front. Dhariwal got him to perform at his best when it mattered the most.

Riding had come naturally for him, as they were a means of transport at his village in Punjab where his father bred horses for the army. Dhariwal trained as an apprentice jockey in England for about two years with trainer H C Leader thanks to the good offices of the Maharani of Jaipur but shifted back to India following his father's death. He became a jockey in India in 1966. Though he did not get many opportunities, he won the Nillgirs Gold Cup, the equivalent of a Derby at that time thrice and had about 125 winners when lack of opportunities and increasing weight problems made up give his vocation as a jockey and take up training.

With veteran Madhav Mangalorkar shifting his base from Madras to Hyderabad, he took over his string in 1975 and had the distinction of becoming the first Indian to win the trainer's championship. Till then, it was the monopoly of the Englishmen. In 1981 he shifted his base to Hyderabad as racing in Madras was closed following the then State government's decision to ban it.

In his career spanning close to three decades, Dhariwal has saddled over 1600 winners and has about 40 classics to his credit. When the offer came to become a private trainer to Dr Vijay Mallya, he immediately grabbed it as it provided him a chance ``to train better quality horses'' without the hassle of day to day administrative work.

Dhariwal has the distinction of being the part-breeder of the Sprinters Cup winning Kalamaris, the first horse bred by an Indian stallion to gross over Rs one million in stake money.

Dhariwal proved the skeptics who thought that somebody from a center like Hyderabad would not make it a success in a competitive Mumbai center wrong by proving his credentials within a span of two years. He trained Storm Again to success in the McDowell Indian Derby, McDowell Indian St Leger and the Indian Turf Invitation Cup. Winning the Indian Derby is considered as the ultimate achievement by both the trainers and owners and Dhariwal has 100 per cent record in the event. On both the occasions he had a runner in this prestigious event, they came out trumps!

Trainer Jaggy Dhariwal and breeders A K S Brar (second from right) and H S Brar (extreme left) and part owner Bedi, parade Chaitanya Chakram after the wonder colt won the Indian Turf Invitation Cup in Bangalore

A beaming Jaggy Dhariwal after Storm Again won the Indian Turf Invitation Cup at Chennai. Also seen are (from left) Dr M A M Ramaswamy, Chairman of Turf Authorities of India, Dr Vijay Mallya and Dr Cyrus Poonawalla

Noted commentator S N Harish interviews Dhariwal, after the stupendous success of Storm Again who won the 2400 metres event in an all time record timing

Storm Again (Pesi Shroff up) being led in by breeders and joint owners Dr Cyrus Poonawalla and Zavaray Poonawalla. At extreme left is Daruawalla, Director of the United Racing and Breeding Bloodstock Limited.