Todywala - the most sought after man at the race course, a man of the world, for whom life
has been all about fast cars, fast horses and
good looking women!
. Married to a successful model of yesteryears
who is now the ambassador at the ' Beautiful Boulevard ' Anna Bredmeyer, Dallas is no
stranger to being the butt of conversation at kitty parties and cocktail's do's.
Talking with unbridled passion about the
sport that has not just brought him fame and glory but also made him the king of the
tracks, Dallas reveals all," I was hooked onto the sport at the age of four or five.
My parents would go to the race course every weekend and I would accompany them. But since
kids were not allowed into the race- course, I would sneak in and watch the races from the
car park at the Mahalaxmi race course in' 64 - ' 65. As a matter of fact, I would read my
race books more than I read my school books. Even during exam time, I would
play truant and promptly catch a bus to the race course. I was so fascinated by this sport
that my sights were set on becoming a jockey, but my weight wouldn't permit it so I
decided to do the next best thing- become a trainer," reminisces the suave man And
the rest as they say, is history! Reflects Dallas, " I love the sport. I love the
.. the horse. Any thing to do with speed, the thrill of competition and
the thought of one horse overtaking another excites me! It was a passion, an
obsession for me."
"I began my training under India's
best trainer, Rashid Behramjee, immediately after my graduation and I began training
instantly after I got my license. It was my ambition that the first horse I saddled I
should be a winner. Racing my first runner in August 1983 in Madras, was a filly called
Star of Rose and India's champion jockey Vasant Shinde, rode her for me. She was leading
as they turned for home, when they came across the bend. I just looked up at the sky and
prayed to God
. And she managed to reach the wire just in time,"
recollects Dallas nostalgically about his premier race fourteen years ago!
"My first classic win was at Calcutta,
when I won Calcutta 1000 Guineas with a filly called Romantic Eve. And a very special
memory, is that of Bombay Championship in '92 - 93. I have gone on to win three more! In
fact I won my first championship in Pune in 89, but Bombay meant more to me. The races in
Pune are just a build - up to the races in Bombay. Bombay is a more glorious season,
" explains Dallas comparing the Pune crowd, the stakes and glamour, to the more
exciting routine in Bombay. Apparently, he hated Pune in his early days but now finds it
much more peaceful. "Here I am in the stables by 5.00 in the morning.Here I find so
much more time for myself!" he says."I would love to emulate the success of my
boss- Rashid Behramjee. But that would be impossible. There will no other trainer in India
like him, ever! He has been a champion innumerable times," he gushes.
Explaining the minutiae of a trainers
schedule, Dallas adds, " It is not an easy profession. In my apprentice days, we
slogged for ten to eleven hours each day. And since there is no particular time - table by
which one can tend bloodstock, there have been times when I have spent fifteen to twenty
hours in the stables with the horse. One should get into this profession only if one is
crazy about the sport and feels strongly about the animal!" And Dallas obviously
does. "There really is no vacation. We trainers have to get back in June , when
the season begins all over again. So in the two months of holiday, I go abroad and just
chill out. But I must confess that even then I can't keep away from it. I go to London,
and race there again.
Dallas lets his defenses down saying, "I have been married twice," he begins.
"Though my first marriage hardly lasted a year, we separated in three months or so. I
didn't have any children from my first marriage. And then I met Anna. When Stephen was
born I was here in Pune, because I was racing again on the weekend. There was a race on
the first and he was born on the morning of the second. It was a very unusual feeling. I
couldn't sleep that night The first horse that I ran that afternoon after my son was born
was a grey horse, Running Wild which won! I couldn't see him then...Visiting hours and all
that! I just remember peering at him and thought that he was the ugliest child that I had
ever seen! He has been coming to the races with me ever since he was a baby. And, yes, I
would be quite thrilled if he followed my footsteps, but I leave that to him!"
Dallas Todywala believes that life is a
gamble with the highest stakes
. that breathless moment of all - important win
that stops the world in its tracks.