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By Ikram Khan
Friday 14 Jul 2017
Trainer Rashid Byramji

He was the first man on the moon so to say. An all-time great in the century old Indian racing.  He provided a new dimension to the sport and he consistently set standards that the others found hard to emulate. Rashid Byramji the legendary horseman after dominating the game for more than five decades has decided to call it a day. His record efforts, 230 classics, 10 Indian Derby victories and a dozen Invitation Cup winners including three hat-tricks stand testimony to the excellence achieved by the man who strode the Indian racing scene like a colossus.

The Lord And Master of Indian racing, Rashid Byramji has saddled over 3000 winners. And his record breaking achievements in the sport of kings is unmatched. The champion of champions, Rashid Byramji in this gallop to fame sport was ahead of the time. He simply was the big leader and the rest just followed.  

At 83, the big man has lost none of the enthusiasm for the sport which brought him fame.  Though the last decade has seen his record slump, the passion for the game has kept him going. ``I love racing so much that I cannot keep away from the sport even though I have  officially retired. I’m fortunate to have trained some of the best horses. Commanche, Elusive Pimpernel, Squanderer and top my list,” said the champion adding that the big race horse owners simply trusted him with their expensive procurements and that made his job easy.

“I suppose I had an eye for the horses. I picked the best at various sales and auctions and I recommended the best of my picks to my owners who trusted my ability and always bought what I wanted. Now the onus was back on me to deliver the big results and the horses just did it for me,” said Byramji pointing out that good horses make good trainers and jockeys. The magnitude of Byramji's achievements dwarfs all other trainers in the country. Apart from having the best horses in his yard, Byramji also had the best jockeys Jagdish and Vasant Shinde and later Pesi Shroff and Aslam Kader who combined successfully with the man to scale a new high. “It was fantastic team work and the rapport that I established with my team helped produce the desired results,” said Byramji.  

The manywho have learned the ropes under his care are unanimous in their opinion that he simply was the best and that he was in a league of his own. Byramji's understanding of the horses was exemplary and the man believes that this is what separated him from the rest.

A true-blue professional who was a master at attaining the best from his horses, Byramji’s methods were very open and there was no hide and seek. He had an extremely clean record and he loved playing it clean. And that’s one reason the man is still admired and respected in sport which is still considered a mug’s game.