• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Kingfisher Ultra Derby Bangalore (Gr.1)
  • Desert God wins The Tetrasoft Inc. Bangalore St. Leger (Gr.2)
I HOPE TO WIN THE POONAWALLA MILLION!
By Niall Sadh
Saturday 24 Feb 2018
Jockey Suraj Narredu

“I’ve never won the PBM”, a popular acronym for the Poonawalla Breeders Multi-Million, says India’s leading jockey Suraj Narredu. “I’ve run second the last 2 years with Tutankhamun and In My Dreams, and that finishing post is too close, but yet so far! I really must win this race soon!” he chuckles.

The country’s richest juvenile multi-million will see it’s 29th running at the Mahalaxmi racecourse this Sunday, and the event is synonymous with high-fashion, the “it crowd” and a whole lot of high-adrenaline action on the turf. The Poonawalla family leave no stone unturned in their hospitality, dig deep into their pockets to provide high 7 figure pay-outs for the young equine athletes, and this evening race-day under the lights, is a must-do on many a social calendar. Plain and simple, it’s a great day at the races!

Suraj Narredu is a hugely popular champion jockey from Bangalore, who travels to every center in the country regularly to ply his trade, and is well acquainted with the equine superstars that the huge winner’s purse has attracted from all over India. In an exclusive to indiarace.com, Suraj offers his personal take on who the top national contenders are, and their likelihood in succeeding to be crowned ‘Juvenile of the Year’.

“I’ve had a busy 2017 season, and travel is a big part of the job profile. Every center in our country today has top owners who are willing to spend money and buy the best blood. The cream of the baby crop is on display this Sunday, and this is gonna be a race that the crowds are going to love! There is a certain amount of unpredictability where young horses are concerned. they are still growing, and in the process of maturing, both physically and mentally. Rapid form improvements over as little as a week is not uncommon, and for the first time they will be put under serious pressure from the saddle. cause every jockey wants to win this race pretty badly!”

“I know a lot of these horses well, and can tell you a little bit about where a few of the contenders currently stand. Let’s start with my home center of Bangalore.

Star Superior: I’m riding this horse and he’s a lovely big fella! I’ve been working with him personally for a month now and he’s got a mind of his own. he’s a big striding, staying type and I do feel the Bombay track will suit him. It was tough to get him to turn the bends in Bangalore when we won a few weeks ago. he’s that big! He’s got some class, and I just hope he shows up to the races in a good mood! My brother trains him so it would be great if we were to win!

Salvador Dali: When this horse won on debut in Bangalore we all sat up and took notice. He looked a bit soft in his maiden, got outpaced in the early part and came from way back and widest of all, to win in telling fashion! The horse he beat came out and won by 6 lengths in the next start, so the form line is very strong. He has to have improved from there, and we should all expect him to fly home late with a big run. Paddy is a top trainer and knows exactly what it takes to win a big race like this!

Hyderabad is the other center from where very high class raiders have made the journey to stake their claim, and here are 2 very serious horses.

Athaneus: I have a lot of respect for this horse and think he will take a lot of beating. I was lucky to get the ride in his last start in Hyderabad, and his victory was super impressive!  He did everything that was asked of him in the race so easily. he raced like a mature horse, has a beautiful temperament and saved all his energy only for the race. He won effortlessly without coming under any pressure whatsoever, and in my opinion is the most forward and mature baby in India at this current point. Super impressive!

Corfe Castle: Well this is Ruffina’s full brother so the blood is unquestionable here. Athaneus beat him when they last met in Hyderabad, but Leo has given him a nice mock race here in Bombay, which was very impressive. He’s got a bit of form to make up though to pull it off here, but surely has the ability and class. Babies can improve exponentially, so this horse is a very realistic contender.

And finally to Bombay, which would qualify as the parent center for the horses stabled here, and serve up a marked advantage with the lack of any long arduous travel needed.

Pioneer: Last but surely not the least in this illustrious list of contenders is my uncle, Malesh’s horse. I rode him on his debut and although we won, he ran green. I immediately suggested a sheepskin nose-band and tongue strap to keep him focused. I felt he was a bit immature, but was still oozing class, and has a big future ahead. My uncle tells me the equipment change has helped. He has already been stepped up in distance, and has won a 7 furlong, which is a huge advantage. It’s his home track, and that is a significant factor to take into consideration.

A new champion will be crowned on Sunday and I really hope that my ‘run of seconds’, all puns intended, does one better! The setting is always electric with the lights and the crowds, and the atmosphere is truly exciting.”

So that’s ace saddle artist Suraj Narredu’s take on the contenders. Happy Reading, and Happy Racing at the Poonawalla Breeders Multi-Million 2018!