Thursday, July 26, 2007

great race horses india

Elusive Pimpernel: One of a rare kind
INDIAN RACING has not seen the likes of him. He was the greatest. He could win start to finish or from any position. Over any distance. In record timings. The niggling shin problem never hampered his progress. He made light of the back-breaking weights. He won 22 of his 23 career starts. He did what others before him or after could not do. He was simply superb. And he was Elusive Pimpernel.
Elusive Pimpernel proved the racing adage that anyone wishing to make an ass of himself has only to issue an unqualified statement about a racehorse. The horse will take it from there. He proved even the wizard of trainers Rashid Byramji wrong. The champion of champions Rashid Byramji who has over 200 classic success to his credit thought that Elusive Pimpernel (Watlefield-Right Step) was a rubbish of a horse and thought that the horse was forced down his throat by his owner Deepak Khaitan who got the colt in a package deal. A humbled Byramji later graciously admitted that Elusive Pimpernel was the greatest horse he trained.
``I thought Elusive was a rubbish of a horse. He was tall and very light and began to grow strong only as a late three-year old. Breeder A K S Brar had great confidence in him and I had reluctantly agreed to train him. He gave me immense hope after the Bangalore Summer Season (1994) as he grew strong with every race. He won his nine races, including the Indian Derby and the Classic Indian Turf Invitation Cup when he had sore shins. He could not race the Indian St Leger as he had a stifle problem in his hind leg. A long rest after the Invitation Cup seemed to have done him a world of good for he never had the recurrence of the problem thereafter,'' said Rashid Byramji who trained him to perfection.''
Though Elusive Pimpernel went about winning races with amazing ease, Byramji was not prepared to concede that it was the best horse that he ever trained. But not for long. After Elusive Pimpernel's win from an impossible position in the Justice Cup in Bangalore, Byramji said that the two other great horses that he trained namely Squanderer and Adler who incidentally went on to win a race at USA, would not have done what Elusive Pimpernel had done.
Elusive Pimpernel's victory in the Justice Cup was simply breath-taking. He was racing after a long lay off and was conceding weight all round and was also taking on one of India's consistent horses namely Diablo. Elusive ran into a wall of horses and jockey Aslam Kader switched him out violently at right angles and despite his stride having been completely broken and with only 100 metres to cover, he came up with a stunning run to catch the front-running Diablo who seemed to have sewn up the race. And despite all these problems, he could still spare a length at the finish!
Sunny Brar who bred Elusive Pimpernel at the Dashmesh and Hargobind Stud Farm, had this to say: ``Breeding is done with a specific objective in mind. Though we have produced champion thoroughbreds, I did not believe that Elusive would turn out to be as outstanding though I had high hopes on him. If breeding horses could be reduced a system like a sum in arithmetic, there would be an end to speculation and the exciting interest with which it is accompanied would be wanting. It is not be inferred from this that chance presides unreservedly over its destinies. However, it is an inescapable fact that breeding is a chancy nick which throws into dustbins the best argued theories about breeding. Well, I would not like to call Elusive Pimpernel a freak of a horse though he belied everyone's expectations.''
The Super Star of Indian racing Elusive Pimpernel overcame physical problems and stiff handicaps and testing conditions at various race-courses all over the country to smash the opposition like no one else had done in the history of India racing. He lost just once in his illustrious career when the terms of the race were ridiculous. Elusive was set to concede 16 kgs to a well-bred got-abroad filly namely Consequence. Elusive had established a long lead in the short-straight at Pune in the RWITC Invitation Cup that his win was being taken for granted. Consequence's finishing burst resulted in a rare defeat for Elusive by a whisker.
Jockey Aslam Kader who piloted Elusive Pimpernel was blamed for the defeat but the pint-sized dynamo said that his horse was surprisingly stropping in the end. ``I cannot explain Elusive's loss that day,'' said the jockey with a tinge of regret.
Unfortunately, plans of sending Elusive Pimpernel to Hong Kong or the USA to race there did not materialise as the game Wattlefield progeny suffered a tendon injury after his win in the Pune Invitational Cup race and was retired to the Dashmesh Stud where he was born to do Stud duties. His progenies are yet to race but there is no doubt if he is given the right kind of support, he would make his mark as a stallion too

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