Scenes from a derby stable

Diet and exercise are important aspects in the training of a race horse

A horse is taken through its paces in the swimming pool just before the race.

The Bangalore Turf Club will host ‘The Kingfisher Ultra Derby’ on July 21. Ten best horses of high profile owners from across the country will compete for the title.

The event is curated by Mohit Lalvani, who says that he has been involved with horse racing since childhood, carrying on a family tradition.

Metrolife interacted with a few jockeys to understand how the horses are trained, ahead of the derby.  

Horses groomed to be racers from birth

The horses are groomed to be racers as soon as they are born; they start competing at the age of two.

The competitors in the derby are all three-year-old horses, which is when they are at their peak.

Special diet for them

The horses require a lot of care and attention, which includes special routines and diet charts.

They are given a high-energy diet, replete with proteins, carbohydrates and fibre.

“They eat a lot of oats, porridge and barley. We also get a lot of pelleted food in the market these days, which has all the necessary ingredients to form a balanced meal,” explains Lalvani.

Swimming and riding lessons to prep them, maintain body weight

Trainers and caretakers take the horses for swimming and short sprints to get them race-ready. The high-intensity lap in the race can be rigorous for both the horse and its jockey. The jockey also has to maintain an optimum body weight of 47 to 52 kg.

Short racing life, then sold to farms

The horses compete in races only for two to three years. After that, they are sold to riding schools or stud farms. 

Fact file 
- Traditionally, the term ‘derby’ is used strictly to refer to races restricted to three-year-olds, as the English and US Triple Crown races all are.
- The first racecourse in India was set up in Madras in 1777. Today, the country
has nine racetracks by six racing authorities.

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