Jockey Yash Narredu, alongside his father Malesh Narredu, etched a significant chapter in the annals of Indian racing history, emerging as the first father-and-son duo to conquer the prestigious Gr 1 HPSL Indian Derby. The grand spectacle unfolded at Mahalakshmi on a Sunday, drawing an appreciative and colossal crowd.
Enabler, with an incident-free lead-up to the race, lived up to the high expectations placed upon him. In a riveting display, he clinched a captivating victory over Synthesis and Jamari in the race`s climactic moments. Yash Narredu, achieving success in the Indian Derby, and his father Malesh Narredu, a former jockey and trainer who had previously triumphed in the race, celebrated a dual triumph. This victory marked Malesh Narredu`s second Indian Derby success as a trainer.
Termed as the year of Narredu domination of Indian racing, Enabler`s triumph aligned seamlessly with the extended clan`s unprecedented success in major classics, creating a spectacle rarely witnessed in Indian racing history. The illustrious son of Ruler Of The World, bred at the Sohna Stud Farm, added to the farm`s legacy with its third triumph in the event. Previous victories were secured by Velvet Rope and Jackeline.
The day`s celebration extended to the remarkable comeback of the wonder mare Juliette, who, after a prolonged absence, continued her winning streak. The Mahalakshmi racecourse witnessed not only a historic father-son achievement but also a day of triumph for Enabler and the prodigious mare Juliette, marking it as a memorable and joyous occasion in the tapestry of Indian racing.
Enabler enjoyed a perfect setup, being locally based and bred for endurance, unlike rivals who had ventured from other regions. Despite facing formidable opponents, Enabler`s advantages were apparent. Jamari, a key rival fresh off a record-setting victory in the Bangalore Derby just a week prior, embarked on the challenging feat of racing within a mere 10-day interval. On the other front, Synthesis, another principal contender, had encountered setbacks two weeks earlier, having participated in the lead-up race to the Derby.
Pesi Shroff`s contender, Jendayi, entering the competition with two impressive classic wins on the same track, faced a substantial leap in competition. Unfortunately, her Derby journey was marred by a significant interference around the final bend. Anthony Raj on Dream Alliance veered out violently, forcing jockey Pradeep Chouhan to take evasive action on the favorite, Jendayi, just when she was gearing up for a strong finish. Consequently, Jendayi lost ground while the top three contenders surged ahead. Although she displayed an impressive run, securing the fourth position, Jendayi`s connections lamented the missed opportunity for an uninterrupted homestretch run.
The Derby, as always, proved that victory is not solely determined by the best horse but by one that also benefits from luck—a trouble-free passage when navigating through competitors who, arguably, shouldn`t have been in an event of this stature.
Trainer Pesi Shroff`s magical touch earned Jendayi the favoritism of racegoers, surpassing contenders Enabler, Synthesis, and Christofle. The confidence in Jendayi stemmed from her stylish previous victory, coupled with the anticipation of further improvement. As the race commenced with the mile-and-a-half journey, the crowd erupted in cheers, reaching a crescendo as the horses reappeared on the homestretch.
The pacemakers, Fighton and Constable, set a slow pace, leading the pack with a margin of eight to 10 lengths. Giant King, Jamari, Synthesis, Enabler, Jendayi, and Christofle trailed in pursuit within the mid-group. The modest pace, perhaps not favored by the prime contenders, created an intriguing dynamic. Giant King who headed the back behind the pace-setters did not help much by not going as briskly as was anticipated.
Approaching the final bend, Suraj Narredu`s quick move spurred Trevor on Jamari, prompting an earlier push than expected. The two horses broke away from the pack at the final turn, with Yash Narredu on Enabler in pursuit and Jendayi encountering difficulties. Suraj Narredu later mentioned that the slow race pace compelled his move, possibly triggering Trevor to initiate his bid earlier than planned.
The energy-sapping stretch run witnessed a fierce battle between Jamari and Synthesis, with the lead alternating between them. In the final 200 meters, Yash Narredu unleashed Enabler`s power, and the son of Ruler Of The World, endowed with superior stamina, surged ahead at the shadow of the post. Synthesis edged past Jamari at the post, claiming the second spot, while the late-rallying Jendayi secured the fourth position.
The race`s conclusion unfolded as anticipated, with the horses performing in line with their established form. However, the presence of Jendayi introduced a captivating twist to the narrative, infusing an element of excitement into the competition. Despite the thrilling dynamic, Jendayi`s story unfolded as one of hard luck for the promising filly.
I was pretty confident that I would catch up with Synthesis and Jamari in the final 100 meters as they had gone too quick and were coming back on me, said the young Yash Narredu showing commendable temperament for the big occasion. Yash disproved the people who believed that he may not have the temperament to steer a horse without making any mistake in a race of this nature. The perfect ride that Yash gave was in keeping with the confidence that he has required in the last two years of being the champion jockey at Chennai and the maturity that has come up with riding innumerable winners.
Winning the Indian Derby is an extraordinary accomplishment in itself. Achieving this feat with my son, Yash, is a dream realized. The script of a father and son attaining success in a manner every professional aspires to is beyond what I could have asked for. My confidence in Enabler`s ability to deliver victory solidified the moment Yash chose to track Synthesis and was well poised throughout the race. This strategic move ensured that the front horse wouldn`t falter suddenly, allowing Yash to reserve Enabler`s energy for the crucial final push. I express my gratitude to the owners for their trust and unwavering support, providing me with excellent horses to train. The hard work of my dedicated staff has truly contributed to basking in the glory of this achievement," shared Malesh Narredu.