Darashah rides to sunset

Racing : Veteran trainer will end his long career today

Darashah rides to sunset

Celebrated trainer Zareer Darashah will bid goodbye to a long and glorious career when the sun sets at the Mysore Race Club on Wednesday.

Winner of an astounding 2335 races and a total of 27 championships in a career spanning nearly 50 years, the 70-year-old Darashah will lead for one last time when Kir Royale enters the gates in the Ellora Plate (Div I) race over 1600 metres.

“It feels extremely sad,” an emotional Darashah told DH on Tuesday. “This has been my life for the last 50 years and suddenly after Wednesday, it changes completely. Although this retirement plan has been in the making for three years, it’s never easy to quit something that’s been your life. Apart from being a trainer, I’ve been an owner as well and have won 602 races.

“Now all my horses have been sold. Couple of my horses will be running tomorrow but after that they will become somebody else’s. I’m just looking forward to a new life. I’ve got around 20 dogs and now I’ll get to spend more time with them. I’ve got something lined up but I want to do it on my terms. It’s now upto my son Neil (also a leading trainer) to uphold the legacy of Darashahs.”

Sport is in Darashah’s blood. His father Safi Darashah led the former Mysore cricket team for a decade and being a horse racing enthusiast, owned horses as well. Zareer, despite having the options of cricket and horse racing before him, wanted to become a sprinter first.

A budding athlete, he ran along with the legendary Kenneth Powell but upon realising that his career was heading nowhere in the fast lane, he decided to change tracks. In the mid 1960s he started to work under Dennis Jarvis and slowly learnt the skills of being a trainer. He received his licence in 1969 and then simply kept raking in the wins.

“Racing is an extremely tough sport. Although my father owned horses, I had to learn the profession from scratch. Racing is a very tough language to learn and it took me 10 years to get a hang of it. There are many trainers in the country who get the best of horses and best of owners. Mine was not like that.

“I had to build everything on my own. I worked predominantly with modest horses and small jockeys. I may sound arrogant, but I’m one of the very few guys to get huge results from small guys. It takes a lot of hard work. Only Rashid Byramji ranks above me in terms of wins. He had nearly 3000 victories. But what sets me apart is that every race of mine is accounted. If I had been in Mumbai, I may have been spoken about more highly. But, I’m extremely proud with what I’ve achieved being based in Bangalore and Mysore,” added Darashah, who has won six derbies.

Darashahfacts

Name: Zareer Darashah
Born: April 29, 1946
Residence: Bengaluru and Mysuru
Has recorded 2335 wins in a near 50-year career
Has won 1127 races in Bengaluru with 8 championships
Has won 922 races in Mysuru with 19 championships
Has won 602 races as an owner
Has won 6 derby titles


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