PESI SHROFF is a name that inspires confidence be it the horse owner, trainer or punter. His ambition even as a child was to ride and to ride better than anyone else. Today he has scaled heights that were considered difficult given the constant battle he had do wage to keep his weight under control. For a well-muscled man like Pesi, standing 5 ft 8'' tall, he has done remarkably well to keep himself going overcoming all the disadvantages with a single-minded devotion to excel. His record in some of the big races like the Indian Derby and the Indian Turf Invitation Cup will stand the test of time. Shroff is being envied by his fellow professionals both for his temperament as well as for the consistency with which he fires winners in Classics.
Ambition, determination and certain indefinable qualities is what enables an individual to become outstanding in his field. Pesi has all these qualities and more. His single-minded concentration and tirelessness, restless energy and a desire to achieve, the avoidance of satiation act as mighty stimulants to his creative skill.
Pesi is like a big cat. He instinctively does the right thing at the right time. He doesn't even have to stop to think. His reflexes and his reactions are god-given talents. He can be seen to be doing the apparent and in a split second, he makes a move that is at once amazing and spectacular for the result it gets.
The dark side to the sport is the fear of injury. How much of the injury is in the mind and how much of the mind is on it determines the level of performance. Mishaps in races, a back problem or his cousin Karl Umrigar's (one of India's finest jockeys) death in an unfortunate accident on the track have not softened him. He stoically takes pain, injury and glory as being sportsman's constant companions.
Pesi is an invaluable asset to any trainer. His feed back, commitment to work and inputs have been of immense help to trainers in targeting their wards for big races. At one time when he was riding mostly in Mumbai, he could identify every horse stationed there and followed their form so well that many a trainer benefitted by his talent. After he was retained by India's leading horse owner Vijay Mallya, frequent travelling and his own business commitments restricted him to riding horses owned by the beer baron all over the country. He is the only jockey in the country who besides being a full time jockey, also runs a business establishment.
Pesi is also a firebrand. He has a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong which has seen him have brushes with the authority. He doesn't hesitate to take up the cause of his fellow jockeys even it were to cost him dear. If the jockeys in India command dignity in what is essentially a feudal set up, they owe a lot not only to Pesi's towering presence but also to his ability to organise them to fight for their rights.