Blog 4 – Arvin Chadee
Here’s the fourth and final post from our Racing Groom blogger, Arvin Chadee here he speaks about one unbelievable day at Ascot.
I have been lucky enough to enjoy many wonderful and memorable moments whilst working in racing. However the 2016 Shergar Cup at Ascot is a personal highlight. Ascot, the scene of the royal meeting, the iconic grandstand a venue where I have previously visited as a spectator and seen legends grace the turf such as Frankel, Dawn Approach and Minding. It has always been ambition of mine to be on the other side, leading up at Ascot. But an Ascot winner, I didn’t dare dream.
The Shergar Cup is named after the legendary Epsom Derby winner of 1981. After scorching the Epsom straight and winning by 10 lengths, Shergar was retired to stud and started an exciting career as a stallion. However after only one season he was kidnapped, held for ransom and never seen again. A tragic ending for any horse, but especially one of the quality of Shergar.
In his memory Ascot commissioned a unique team competition, 3 jockeys per team, the teams are Great Britain and Ireland, Rest of the World, Europe and The Girls. Points are given based on the finishing position of the jockeys in each of the six races on the card.
In the summer of 2016 I had been given the responsibility of riding Kadrizzi a 3 year old chestnut gelding, he was a pleasure to ride and be around. However I never quiet expected for him to do what he did at Ascot. A week or so before the race I had been made aware that the Shergar Cup Sprint would be Kadrizzi next target, Ascot, 6 furlongs 3 year olds only. I thought great! a chance to lead up at Ascot and experience the Shergar Cup meeting first hand. But realistically I thought he would get out classed, especially based on his previous form. A very good 2 year old, he just didn’t seem to have taken the required step up as a 3 year old and was comprehensively beaten on his first two starts. Some judge I turned out to be.
A unique and exciting dimension to having a horse declared for the Shergar Cup is that the trainers is unable to choose their jockeys, instead they are randomly allocated. Declarations are 48 hours before the race, all morning I eagerly anticipated who I would get to lead around the Ascot parade ring, finally the moment came where the assistant trainer Chris informed me, Thierry Jarnet. A four time winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, that will do nicely, although I had to brush up on my French.
Although I’ve watched the race on numerous occasions, at the time it went by in a blur. All I can remember is seeing Kadrizzi, having been settled last, loom up on the outside and power clear of his rivals up the Ascot straight as if they were standing still. Not quite Shergar 10 lengths at Epsom, but 2 lengths at Ascot is still very impressive by anyone’s standards.
Working in racing you can experience some tough times and low points, the winter months are notoriously difficult and it’s never easy falling off. However all that can be easily forgotten when you witness all yours and the teams hard work pay off with a winner.