Little over a handful of people in India have won a thousand races in their lifetime. But when Suraj Narredu achieved the feat in 2010, astride the famed Becket, he was still only the third person in the family to get there. His father (Satish) and uncle (Malesh) had already beaten him to it. He is the fastest in the country to four figures but it wasn’t a unique feat though.
On Monday, Suraj scripted a first for the Narredu household, and that is saying something. In winning the Crown Treasure Plate in Hyderabad, astride Guiding Force, he became the first Narredu to 2000 winners, and the second in the country to the mark once considered unbreachable.
When B Prakash achieved the milestone, few reckoned anyone else would. In fact, Suraj was touted as the only one with the requisite precision and gumption to get there. Aware of the sacrifices, the commitment and the implausible alignment of the intangibles needed to achieve such a feat, even the experts voiced the possibility only in hushed tones. Numbers, men thought, impossible.
A decade later, the Bengaluru rider has done it.
“Never did I think I would get this far in racing when I started,” said an elated Suraj after the podium ceremony. “I thought winning it on Ruletheworld (the sixth race on the card) would be appropriate because of the name but Guiding Force is an awesome name to seal it with too.
“It has been an absolutely amazing journey and it is far from done. As far as I am concerned, I wake up at 5.00 am tomorrow and do my track notes and pick the next horse. Nothing changes.”
“It was all the more special because my wife and kids were there,” he added.
Taking to racing at 12, Suraj showed promise early, and despite apprehension from his father, ended up with a racing license in 2002.