The ‘fillies specialist’ won 19 Classics in a long and fruitful career
Former racehorse-trainer Uttam Singh celebrated his 100th birthday with his family and friends at the Turf Club House here on Thursday.
Popularly known as the ‘Fillies Specialist’, Uttam joined as an apprentice jockey at the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) in 1939. Later in 1952, he became the private trainer to Maharaja Himmatsinghji of Idar. In his 50 years training career, he won 19 Classics before retiring in 2002. His first Classic win was in 1968 when Venus De Milo, owned by S.M. Ruia, won the Indian 1000 Guineas at Mumbai and the filly went on to win the Indian Turf Invitation Cup at Bengaluru the next year. Uttam also won the inaugural Pune Derby in 1984 through Prudential Champ.
His son Zadmal Singh, also a trainer at RWITC, told The Hindu “Daddy was selected in a riding school at Jodhpur, Rajasthan when he was just 16 and since 1939 has been associated with RWITC. He rode for some years but as he couldn’t maintain his weight, he obtained a trainers licence and was the first jockey to choose the training profession.” he added.
Zavaray Poonawalla, chairman, RWITC, said “ We are all happy to celebrate Uttam Singh’s glorious career and being the best trainer of fillies in his days is something one will always remember. The Poonawalla family enjoyed great results with Uttamji as he is fondly called. His other big achievement is celebrating his 100th birthday particularly because of his disciplined lifestyle. May the almighty continue to shower him with good health.”
Jockey-turned-trainer Pesi Shroff said “brilliant’ is the only word that can describe his training ability. I have learnt a lot from my experience of riding for him and I think he was one of the cleverest trainers of his time.”
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