Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jock in the dock

In the eye of a storm: Jockey S Breux

I was at the Mahalaxmi racecourse on Sunday. My first instinctive reaction, after watching the now-infamous second race of the card beamed from the Pune racetrack, was that jockey S Breux's ride was perhaps questionable.

However, after watching the race video repeatedly, using the special software that I have access to, I am now ABSOLUTELY convinced that the jockey did his best under the circumstances, and for a horse losing considerable ground at the start, Sparkling Spirit was handled very judiciously by the Frenchman who is presently in the eye of a storm.

In fact, I will be surprised if the Stipendiary stewards really come out with ANY KIND OF PROOF of criminal conspiracy on the part of the jockey, after checking his movements, contacts and phone records, etc. I think they are just NOT going to find anything because there is probably nothing there to find in the first place. Surely not related to this ride.

The horse's slow break from the gates was clearly on account of some sort of irritation the animal felt, and the jockey definitely had no hand in it. On the contrary, any jockey who has ulterior motive would have used this opportunity (loss of ground while breaking from the gates) by brushing up too fast to join the front runners, and thereby, making sure that the horse would be a spent force by the time the race got serious. But S Breux did not do that. Instead, he timed his improvement gradually, clearly a sign that he was interested in conserving the horse's energy in the best possible way despite the bad start. It is another matter that Sparkling Spirit did not live up to his (and the public's) expectations.

For anyone who has not minutely studied Breux's riding style, his effort astride Sparkling Spirit would look clumsy at best and suspect at worst. But if you go back to all his rides--even winning rides--you will find he ALWAYS rides that way in a close finish. You will notice that when involved in a tight fight, he alternates between urging by hands and using the whip. A very funny style if you ask me, but then as a rider he still has a long way to go. And you cannot really fault him for that if he has scored most of his eight victories in similar style. Go back and check out ALL his rides and you will know what I am trying to say. Here is an ordinary jockey, not a fast learner really, who is simply trying to replicate his small success by duplicating the same riding actions and gestures all the time.

The only fault I may (if at all) find with him is that in the last fraction of a second before passing the winning post, he picked up his bottom off the horse. But there was no way he could have won the race if he had persisted urging during that last half-stride. I would attribute it more to surrender out of a sense of frustration, and give him the benefit of the doubt.

Someone has asked me what I think of the decision of making the race official, but calling off all the bets. I will reproduce here what I wrote on the same day, because I have not found any reason to change that opinion. Here is what I said to a poster's inquiry: That's the most moronic decision I have ever come across in my life. I mean first they open the inquiry saying that the favourite was a victim, then they make up their mind that no, he's the criminal really, and then they go ahead and punish the public who had backed the winner! And all this keeping the race as "official" in the records! Nothing can be more ridiculous than this. I don't think even God can help RWITC racing when it's ruled by such people.

I am amused to now see a concerted propaganda initiated by the chairman of the Stewards to convince all of us what a great decision he and his colleagues have taken really, followed by comments telling us how it has saved us poor souls from the Mafia hand, and how, in the future, the alleged Mafia will not dare to snare the western India punter after this decision.

It will be fit to react to all this grand propaganda with only one word: BULLSHIT.

The stewards must realize that the average punter is not as dumb as they would like him to be. Sure they have "saved" punters from "financial ruin" by taking this "unprecedented" decision. But those punters don't include you and me and the average Joe. Do you get me Steve?


  1. Spot on assessment. But more than money it was vote politics.

  2. The stewards have messed up bit time dude. U hv rightly said they done that to save thier big betting friends and not u & me.

  3. Good article prakash. As you have rightly pointed out the jockey is last person they should be gunning for. I am a club member and I feel the first thing the club must do is to screen all horse owners admitted in last 10 yrs & run a check on them. I am sure half of them deserve to be thrown out. But when stewards body throws their weight behind big gamblers to save their money and takes silly decisions like this, there's little hope it will happen.

  4. I have got a different point of view !! I guess it was seen by all the jockey was tryin not to push the horse @ the starting gates... he was actually holdin it bac.. no idea y..! the only mistake the jockey did is that he dint lodge an objection on !! if he had done it he would have escaped.. and funny part is that even lagad dint even put the objection !! that was the only think we need to think about....

    Also last outing Arts was pulled by kamlesh.. everyone knows it.. specially the Stewards .. they should have taken some action there itself...

    Comments Please !


  5. Gosavi you may be right but that's you opinion abt jockey. What abt trainer? I think vivek jain has done the right thing by saving majority's money. This shoudl be done often so that wwrongdoers will get tired & retire.

  6. Dear Prakashji,

    I have a total different view of what you have published. Firstly in the race, when shown from the top view at the gates, you can clearly see that brex was holding on and was not allowing the animal to gallop also in the straight he was feeble. Now I will share what I have releasied in the last 2 or 3 meetings. Brex has not ridden well some of the horse like Gloria,starlite express to name a few. I completely agree with Mr Vivek Jain decision and am proud of him.

  7. Dear Prakash Gosavi:

    Well written after a serious thought. Well done. The Trouble with RWITC Officials is, they thinks and each one of them think that NoBODY KNOWS THE INTRICACIES RACING AS MUCH AS EVERYONE OF THEM. The whole lot as you say is nothing but BULLSHIT.


  8. Dear Prakash ji

    Excellent article

    Dear Mr. Bhaskar

    Dont say majority's money. In racing in India majority of the public play fluke/dark horses and not favourite, only a selected few who have enough money (millionaires) play favourites. People like me to say about 80 to 90% of the public play flukes as we are here to make good profit from small betting. You must have played a 5 figure to 6 figure amount. but we plays only 2 to 3 figure amount betting. The decision has taken only to save you people from losing not us the common hapless punters


  9. Dear Prakash,

    Your article was right on the dot. I was personally at Pune and from what I saw it is my assumption that Jockey was not at fault. In fact the animal has awkward gate manners as stated by jockey and the trainer was cautioned for the same in the past. Was surprised how the trainer gave comments against the jockey as he rode as per the instructions. Come on he gradually warmed up and brought the horse into the fighting line. Yes he should have rightfully objected to the same and for that the jockey is at fault and no hancky panky was vissible at least to me but to allow the prize money for the owners and refund the dividend of the race is an immatured decision. Will in future whenever a favourite is a bad starter follow the same whip hand. I doubt very much. Less said is better.

  10. Mr.Prakash,

    who the hell are you to come to conclusion that rider was did his best.I will tell you one episode.Gregory sandhu suspended for three years.The rider australian too suspended (name I forgotten he got licence in australia despite suspension in India).In that race also the horse may be witch doctor(am not sure) was 60 paisa fav and climb to 12/10 .The horse allways runs from behind and in that race also the horse came from behind and just finished second.Every body seen the race and stunned.Stewards decaled the race as null and void and completeed the formalities by punishing the culprits.Now like you so many people watched the race and found there is no fault in riding..what a bullshit.all criminals and culprits do the crime in public in meticulous way it is upto us to notice and punish them.And certainly you not belongs to them who wants to punish the culprits.


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