PUNE: Two top, popular jockeys, Trevor Patel and Dashrath Singh, came in for severe criticism by the punting community over the weekend races that were concluded here yesterday. Despite the general charge that punters tend to talk through their pockets, it must be said in all fairness that at least two rides by Trevor, one each on Saturday and Sunday, and one by Dashrath Singh on Sunday were extremely perplexing with regard to the start, positioning, manouver, and the riding effort--or the perceived lack of it. Interestingly, all three horses--Mariska, Angel Girl & Divine Magic--were hot public fancies, the first two being half-money favourites.
"Actually, I backed Bounty Queen against Divine Magic," Hoshedar, a punter for more than 30 years, told mid-day, "but I admit I was lucky to win because the favourite's rider (Dashrath Singh) did not do justice to his mount."
What raised eyebrows and set the tongues wagging was that the beneficiaries of Trevor's both eyebrow-raising rides, winners Silk Baby & Artistic, were not only ridden by the same jockey (Yash Narredu) and trained by the same trainer (Cooji Katrak), but had a common owner in Sultan Singh, a north India-based breeder.
Without mentioning his sources, Shujaat Hussain, chief stipendiary steward of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), confirmed to mid-day that he did get to hear about the suspected nexus between Trevor Patel and Sultan Singh, and has already ordered an inquiry into the ride given to Mariska.
"We questioned jockey Trevor Patel and trainer Pesi Shroff immediately after the race on Saturday," Shujaat Hussain told mid-day, "and have scheduled official inquiry into the matter for Wednesday as Trevor would be busy riding at Hyderabad today."
Hussain further added that he would be viewing recording of the Sunday races today, so it would be premature to talk about the other instances, but made clear he would not hesitate to undertake detailed investigation if he finds any substance in the accusations being levelled by the betting public.