MUMBAI: Adhirajsingh Jodha is back at the picturesque Mahalaxmi racecourse and is full of confidence. The 37-year-old third generation trainer from the respected Jodha family, Adhiraj had left the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) last year to move to Chennai with his string. Now after a year, he is back much wiser than before and with a good amount of success too.
“I had to go to Chennai because there was a lot of uncertainty about racing because Covid-19 had hit RWITC badly. I had to make a move because I had a career ahead and Chennai because Madras Race Club was and is financially stable,” Adhiraj told TOI.
Adhiraj says moving out helped him. “It turned out to be a good move for me because I moved out of my comfort zone. My father and grandfather were trainers here so it was like everything was handed to me on a platter. I wanted to do something on my own and am really grateful that my owners too supported me,” said the man who took his training license in 2010.
Adhiraj says moving to Chennai was a big challenge. “Over there in Madras, the language was a big barrier. Meeting new people, adjusting to the way people work there. So that way everything was a big challenge. But I think I did fairly well there,” he opined.
Adhiraj says it gave him valuable exposure. “See exposure is a big factor. I took my entire string and learned that it is good to travel your horses and you must travel your horses. Now I have confidence and learned that if a few of your horses are not good enough at this centre, then you can go out and try there among the weaker companies. And because of the confidence that exposure gave me, I moved to Ooty with few horses and even took one filly (Dangerous) to Bangalore. I also kept shuttling and met many people and trainers who gave valuable inputs to me which helped me. So it was an enriching experience.”
Adhiraj says the credit for his successful moving out also goes to his staff. “My staff stayed with me including my jockeys, and work riders. For all of them, Chennai was a new place with new challenges with no family and friends. So I am grateful to them too. I have about 35 to 40 people in my staff and I tried to encourage them by giving bonuses and incentives and helping them tide over the challenges. So I succeeded because of the team effort,” he acknowledged.
The move turned out to be fruitful, he says. “I was blessed in a way that I went to different places and got good results too. I just lost the championship in Madras to Deepesh Narredu. And then Dangerous finished second in the Fillies’ Championship in Bangalore. A good Pune Season followed. So overall whatever decisions I took, worked out in my favour which gave me great confidence.”
All this would not have been possible without the great support from his owners. “Am thankful to my owners who supported me in buying good quality horses and in everything that I did. I think I have a much better string and my owners are happy.”
Adhiraj says he decided to come back to Pune and now in Mumbai the stakes money has increased here. “See I run for stakes. Since there was no racing in Chennai and I had a lot of unraced three-year-olds, I thought, let's go to Pune instead of resting in Chennai. And RWITC has been gracious in opening doors for outstation trainers.”
A reasonably good Pune Season boosted his confidence further, says Adhiraj. “I think my horses ran well above expectations in Pune. I had brought just 17 horses out of which four did not race. So out of 13 horses, I got eight wins. It was extremely satisfying because I picked up a fair number of maiden races which had high stakes, perhaps one of the best in the country. I race for stakes so that was really good because my owners are also happy.”
Now in Mumbai, he just has seven horses with him. “I still hold a Chennai license and brought here seven horses for classics including a few forward 2-year-olds to run in maiden races. I will be shuttling between Chennai and Mumbai.”
Adhiraj says not a day goes by when he does not miss his father. “I miss my father every day. I have his photograph in my stable and every morning I seek his blessings. For whatever I am today, a lot of credit goes to him,” he says.
Credits : TOI