Legendary racehorse-trainer Uttam Singh passed away in Pune on Thursday, days after celebrating his 103rd birthday.
‘Uttamji’, born on September 19, 1919, in a village called Gada in Rajasthan, joined as an apprentice jockey at the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) in 1939. After some years, he obtained a trainer’s licence and was the first jockey to choose the training profession. In a 50-year training career, he won 19 Classics before retiring in 2002.
His first Classic win came in 1968 when Venus De Milo, owned by S.M. Ruia, won the Indian 1000 Guineas at Mumbai. Popularly known as the ‘fillies specialist’ he trained 7 Indian Oaks (Ladies Derby) winners. He also won the inaugural Pune Derby in 1984 through Prudential Champ.
Uttamji’s son Zadmal Singh is a trainer at RWITC for more than three decades. His grandsons Subhag Singh is also a trainer in Western India while Niranjan Singh Bhati is the secretary/handicapper at the RWITC.
Mr. K.N. Dhunjibhoy, chairman, stewards of the RWITC, said “Today we celebrate the life of a good man whom I have known for many years. Uttam Singh lived his long life doing what he loved around horses and the world of racing. We wish him God Speed on his final ride.”