India`s most successful trainer Rashid Rustomji Byramji has decided to call it quits after six decades of being at the helm. Byramji has truly achieved the status of being a legend by the magnitude of his achievements. To be a legend, it`s a lot of hard work and patience and achievement beyond the capacity of ordinary mortals. You can`t become a legend in ten or 20 years. It takes longer than that. After six decades of being at the helm, Byramji can quit the sport with a profound sense of satisfaction and look back on the celebrated career with immense pride.
No trainer in the history of Indian racing has achieved as much as Byramji. He is the only trainer to have won about 230 classics besides the honor of saddling about 3000 winners. He was an undisputed champion at Mumbai and Bangalore for as long as wished to be one. Byramji receded to the background only to promote his son. Otherwise, his reign at the top would have continued longer than it did. Though the last decade had been uneventful, Byramji had already created records that would be too tough for anyone to overhaul.
Byramji enjoyed a fine reputation for his fair practices as also for his commanding presence. Byramji was easily the colossus of Indian racing as exemplified by his 10 Indian Derby wins, 12 Invitation Cup triumphs including three hat-tricks, scores of Bangalore Derby wins and countless classic success in every racing centre in India. Byramji has won every classic that there is to be won though interestingly just one success has eluded him which was the victory in the Calcutta Derby. He did not race enough in this event and in the later years, his son Darius Byramji won the race many times as Byramji chose to sacrifice personal glory.
If you ask Byramji whether he is happy to be quitting despite long years as a race horse trainer, the answer would be an emphatic no. You get old faster when you think about retirement would have been the reason why he kept himself going for so long.” ``I have been so passionate about horse racing that I cannot imagine myself without being at the race track every morning. Even though I am retiring, I will be a regular presence at the race course without the attendant pressures of training the top-class horses,`` he says. The 83-year-old gentle giant has been a role model for the fellow professionals. He was also a guiding force for many to become successful trainers of the day.
Byramji`s name is associated with the most famous horses to have graced the Indian turf like Elusive Pimpernel, Squanderer, Commanche, Adler et al. Byramji had the uncanny knack of spotting champions and training them to perfection. He always targeted his wards for the plums and produced them in impeccable condition. There was a time when the mere presence of a Byramji horse in a race would be enough for trainers to scratch their horses because they believed that it was next to impossible to take on his horses in big events.
The reason for Byramji`s tremendous success was his intuition and hard work. He believed that the mantra for success was to pick the right horses if only because you would not be competing against them. During his career, Byramji walked from one milestone to another as if it was a walk in the park.
Retirement marks the end of an amazing career and the beginning of living for oneself. Here`s wishing the gentle giant of Indian racing a long and purposeful retired life.