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Updated on: Thursday, January 06, 2022, 06:33 PM IST

Suraj Narredu, a new horizon in Indian racing

Suraj Narredu astride a horse during a race. | Photo: Special arrangement

Suraj Narredu astride a horse during a race. | Photo: Special arrangement

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While some race days are cancelled and races cut down due to the pandemic, nothing is stopping champion jockey Suraj Narredu hitting the winning post as the Bangalore-based rider nears the 200 Classic mark.

Suraj’s winning the Arion Horse Company Indian 2000 Guineas (Grade 1) at the Mahalaxmi race course astride A Star Is Born added his 87 Classic wins and is still counting.

However, there is a mixed reaction from his family around him. While his uncle Mallesh Narredu wants him to hit the 200-mark, his wife Riya also wants him to do so, but the fear factor looms large each time her school buddy and now husband Suraj, goes for racing.

“I am happy Suraj is the champion jockey in the country, and if he does cut the 200 Classic wins, he will be the only Indian to do so,” says Mallesh, a former jockey himself and now one of the champion trainers.

Narredus are ruling horse racing in the country. After Satish and Malesh had their share of laurels across the country astride these beauties, now it is Suraj who is carrying forward the legacy.

Suraj Narredu astride A Star is Born

Suraj Narredu astride A Star is Born | Photo: Special arrangement

“It is good to see Suraj win many races, but at the same time each time he is astride a horse, I only pray for his safety,” says Riya, who does not want her kids to take up the profession.

Suraj is a new horizon in Indian horse racing, and regarded as the top jockeys this country has ever produced, Suraj started riding at the BARI riding school in Bangalore at the young age of 12. Since then, son of ex jockey, and current trainer, Satish Narredu and nephew of ex jockey and current trainer, Mallesh Narredu, Suraj has been exposed to horse racing since he was born.

The highlights of Suraj Narredu’s career would be when he won the McDowell's Indian Derby in record timing, with Be Safe in 2015.

The 2014-2015 saw a dream phase for this 36-year-old’s career where he won most of the Classic races of the year with three horses, Be Safe, Quasar and Godspeed. Since then Suraj has won the Indian derby thrice with Star Superior (2019), War hammer (2020) and Immortality (2021).

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Suraj Narredu

Suraj Narredu | Photo: Special arrangement

Suraj has garnered International riding experience by doing short riding stints abroad in riding centres in USA, France, Dubai and most recently, Ireland where he worked alongside world renowned professionals like Aidan O'Brien, Joseph Patrick O'Brien and John Oxx. He has won races in Macau, Malaysia and Mauritius where he won the International Jockeys Challenge in 2011. He has been making a fruitful career out of his passion.

It all started when Satish, a backbencher in school, was forced into racing by his father in early 60s. Since then, his name is making rounds in the racing circle for all good reasons.

The Winners (Grade 1 Classics)

2006: Poonawalla Mysore Derby (Gr I) — Super Speed

2009: Calcutta Colts Trial St 2009 — Credit Squeeze

2010: Golconda Derby Stakes 2010 (Gr I) — Arabian Prince

2010: Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Gr I) — Becket

2010: HDIL Colts Trial St (Gr I) — Sun Kingdom

2011: Nanoli Stud Pune Derby (Gr I) — Hills and Stars

2011: Nanoli Stud Pune Derby (Gr I) — Hills and Stars

2014: Golconda Derby Stakes (Gr I) — Roses in Bloom

2014: Colts Championship St (Gr I) — Be Safe

2014: Kingfisher Derby Bangalore (Gr I) — Be Safe

2014: Nanoli Stud Pune Derby (Gr I) — Quasar

2014: New Hope Indian 1000 Guineas (Gr I) — Godspeed

2014: ABV Nucleus 2000 Guineas (Gr I) — Be Safe

2015: Eveready Calcutta Derby St (Gr I) — Quasar

2015: Deccan Bookmakers Golconda Derby Stakes (Gr I) — Quasar

2015: McDowell Signature Indian Derby (Gr I) — Be Safe

2016: Calcutta Fillies Trial — St Dysomnia

2017: Kingfisher Ultra Pune Derby (Gr I) — Lady in Lace

2017: Mysore Derby (Gr I) — Castlebridge

2017: Spartan Poker Indian 1000 Guineas (Gr I) — Lady in Lace

2017: South India 2000 Guineas (Gr I) — Tutankhamun

2018: Calcutta Derby St (Gr I) — Aggregated

2018: Deccan Derby (Gr I) — Star Superior

2019: Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby (Gr I) — Star Superior

2020: The South India Derby Stakes (Gr.1) — Sir Supremo

2020: The Indian Champion Cup (Gr.1) — Star Superior

2020: Bangalore Derby (Gr.1) — War Hammer

2020: The Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby (Gr.1) — War Hammer

2021: The Indian 2000 Guineas (Gr.1) — Lagarde

2021: The South India Derby Stakes (Gr.1) — Born Queen

2021: Calcutta Derby Stakes (Gr.1) — Black Pearl

2021: The Indian Champion Cup (Gr.1) — Psychic Force

2021: The Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby (Gr.1) — Immortality

2021: Indian 2000 Guineas (Grade 1) — A Star Is Born

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Published on: Thursday, January 06, 2022, 05:04 PM IST
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