Purita Produced The Best
She was no great shakes herself but she produced a colt which shook the Indian turf like none before him. She came at a time when the Indian breeding industry was yet to find its footing and mares like Nicola and Rock Haven were calling the shots. But she left with an indelible impression after producing three 'giants'. The mare we are talking about is Purita and the trio who notched up 45 races between them were Own Opinion, Mayapan and Aztec.
Purita herself only race twice and placed second once. But she had the bloodline alright. Her dam Pashmina had a string of Class I winners under her name. One of her best progeny was Sweet Memories, whose eleven wins included the Indian St Leger and the President of India Gold Cup. She went on to produce Queen of the Hills, Premium Spirit and Fragrant Memories. Do those names ring a bell, you old timers who may be reading this piece?
Like her daughter Purita, Pashmina too never won a race. She placed four times from eight starts.
But the blood was always strong and it came as no surprise to the cognoscenti when , in conjunction with the sire Simead, Purita produced a world beater in Own Opinion.
Dr. MAM Ramaswamy, who has owned some of the finest racehorses this country has produced over the past three decades, has gone on record to say that Own Opinion was hic favourite and will always hold a special space in his heart.
He was small, he was cute but boy could he run of his 27 wins, there were many which would take one's breath away while some were routine. But the highest point in his career was when he pegged back the Goculdas's prize property Royal Tern in the Invitation Cup. Royal Tern was an unbeaten giant and adding one more feather to his cap was considered a formality. But it was not to be! The wily A.B. David used Red Chieftain as a runaway pacemaker and unsettled young Karl Umrigar atop the 'Tern'. Trying to bridge the gap too quickly Royal Tern was a trifle tired in the home straight. That was enough for veteran pilot Jagdish to bring Own Opinion with a flourish and register a half-length triumph. It was great adrenalin-pumping stuff by the best in the business.
Mayapan and Aztec were out and out stayers, both under the care of Rashid Byramji. Mayapan won seven races including the Indian St Leger.
When paired with Jandaar, Purita produced Aztec who had 12 wins to his credit. He won the Stayers Cup twice - once in Calcutta in record time in the hands of Paul Cook.