• 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
www.indiarace.com - M.B. Mangalorkar

Mangalorkar, the inscrutable man


Madhav Mangalorkar is perhaps the most enduring trainer in the history of Indian racing. The man with the inscrutable face, Mangalorkar’s success story began way back in 1956 and even now, the veteran is envied for his ability to place his horses shrewdly to remarkable effect.

Training for owners who would love to put their money on their horses, Mangalorkar has been able to achieve a high degree of success by his quiet and systematic approach, coupled with total loyalty to his owners. This has ensured unstinted loyalty from his owners as well. ``The reason why my horses generally run at good odds is because I keep my mouth shut, so that the owners always get their due. The owners have total confidence in me because I don’t hide anything from them. If a horse is down with a problem, I will immediately bring it to their notice instead of giving one excuse or the other for not running that particular horse. Being straightforward always helps,’’ says Mangalorkar.

Mangalorkar does concede that racing has indeed become more ``stressful’’ than when he began his career. He is also upset at the way the sport has been slipping over the years, with the gaming element overriding the sporting. ``It is not that horses were not given runs earlier but not the way it is being done now  is quite bad,’’ says the veteran. ``The labour too has become problematic and it is difficult to satisfy them no matter what you give them and this has also contributed to making the life of a trainer more difficult,’’ adds the veteran.

What has greatly contributed to the success of Mangalorkar who has over 40 classics under his belt is his ability to adapt himself to the changing environment. But with these days the accent being more on nominated winners for owners who put money on horses, he hasn’t been able to chase success in classics. ``Whenever I have had a good horse, I have exploited it to the fullest extent in big races,’’ clarifies Mangalorkar.

The most fruitful year that Mangalorkar enjoyed was when he trained Kitty Bank to win three Derbys in a row. Starting from Deccan Derby in Hyderabad in October, Kitty Bank followed it by twin successes in the South India Derby and the Arc de Triomphe (the winter Derby in Bangalore was called so at that time).

Mangalorkar trained for some of the biggest owners of earlier times, the Maharajaras and Maharanis as well as for industrial tycoons like M A Chidambaram and Dr M A M Ramaswamy for whom he trained a Derby winner Half A Crown. After shifting his base from Madras to Hyderabad in the late 70’s, Mangalorkar ruled the roost in Hyderabad before he shifted to Bangalore. He was the champion trainer for as many as 15 times. Sweeping the cards had become a habit with him, winning five races in a row on more than one occasion. Top jockeys like P Shankar, the first Indian to record 1000 winners and known for his aggressive finish, Karan Singh and Jagdish rode for him. He rates the Australian jockey Osborne who rode for him with remarkable success as the best he has had.

Mangalorkar graduated under B P Shivan, known as a trainer of trainers. Incidentally, Mangalorkar did not come from a family, which had any interest in racing, and as such, he had to face stiff opposition when he set out to become a trainer. However, his son Arjun Manglorkar’s initiation has been smooth though the veteran put him under Rashid Byramji so that the youngster would not take things for granted and that his initiation would be tough.

Forty-five years of hard grind in the exacting sport has not softened him. Mangalorkar’s career has been free from any brush with the authorities and he hasn’t had any problem for breach of medication rules either. The conservative veteran has reaped rich rewards for his ``steady’’ and ``pragmatic’’ approach. Though he is pushing 70, he has the fitness to be in the sport for many more years.