A love affair, hard work and success on the saddle
By Avenash Ramzan
He sports a wiry frame. He packs a punch. He’s fast. He’s a crowd favourite. He’s widely regarded as Guyana’s number one on the saddle.
He’s Colin Ross, the most sought-after Jockey in the 592, much like what Chris Gayle is to T20 cricket.
A champion in every sense of the word. That status was further solidified on Sunday last when he expertly trumped the competition in the marquee event at the 12th Guyana Cup horse race meet at Rising Sun Turf Club.
Powering the 2017 champion Vera’s Finally of the Jumbo Jet Stables, Ross, who was eventually named Champion Jockey of the day, was a hot favourite and he certainly did not disappoint the massive crowd that thronged the venue.
They erupted as he crossed the finish line unchallenged to make a successful defense of the title, and hand the Jumbo Jet Stables the day’s top purse of $2 million.
Maybe the only ones who left disappointed were those who opted to injudiciously bet against the man from Number 41 Village.
It was Ross’ third victory in the feature C Class and Lower event at the Guyana Cup; the others being with Vera’s Finally last year and Sequin in 2008.
On all three occasions, Ross, who turns 32 in September, was riding for the Jumbo Jet Stables.
TNT of the Nand Persaud Racing Stables took second, followed by Isn’t She Charming of the Cheefoon Racing Stables and Goodwill Boy of the Jagdeo Stables in the 1600m race.
“Hard work, hard work. Without hard work you can’t make it,” Ross told News Room after the win on Sunday.
“Great feeling (to win Guyana Cup), because we work really hard this time to win it. In April we went in Port Mourant and get beat, and after that we start work more hard because I ain’t want lose Guyana Cup,” Ross, a Jockey for about 10 years now, explained.
Ross resides about a mile away from the Rising Sun Turf Club, so it’s no surprise he gravitated to the ‘Sport of Kings’ from an early age, developing a love and passion for racing.
From being around the horse owners and “helping to cut grass and full water”, Ross was given an opportunity to race by Randy Mohana, popularly called ‘Drugs Head’, and trainer Fazal Habibulla.
It turned to be a defining moment for Ross, who, a decade later, can lay claim to being the best in the business.
“Jockey Ross is the best we got in Guyana and everybody knows it. Once you see him go out in front and he’s sitting on a good horse, he’s not losing…he’s not losing,” Nasrudeen ‘Junior’ Mohamed of the Jumbo Jet Stables said moments after the victory on Sunday.
Benjamin Franklin once said “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
It’s a philosophy Ross knows too well. “I just exercise a lot of horses. When I finish exercising (the horses), I do a lot of running, press up, pull up, normal exercise. I exercise about 11-12 horses when the morning come; that exercise alone does get you fit.”
Indeed, only the fittest will survive, and Ross has proven that once again.