Talented apprentices savour Cup Day doubles

By Richard Edmunds

2 Feb 2022

Talented apprentices savour Cup Day doublesNiranjan Parma brings Langkawi home for win number two on the Wellington Cup programme.

Wellington Cup Day at Trentham last Saturday turned into a landmark day in the careers of talented apprentice jockeys Ashvin Mudhoo and Niranjan Parmar.
The pair won two $50,000 races apiece, starting with Mudhoo in the first and third races on the card. He kicked the day off with a 16-to-one longshot victory aboard Ivy Dazzler for his employer, Levin trainer Ilone Kelly, then repeated that result just over an hour later with the Nicola Marshall-trained Vishakha. He also placed aboard Hinepara in a Rating 74 staying event later in the day.
Mauritian-born Mudhoo arrived in New Zealand in 2017, and he was originally based in the South Island with John and Karen Parsons. He moved north during the initial COVID-19 lockdown nearly two years ago, has remained with Kelly ever since, and the 25-year-old now boasts a career tally of 52 wins.
“I’ve been lucky and had a few good days since I started riding, but to ride two winners on such a big Premier day on Saturday was very special,” Mudhoo told RaceForm this week.
“I started off in the South Island, but I think the move north has been very good for my career and my riding. I’ve had some great opportunities, and Ilone Kelly is a very nice lady to work for. She helps us a lot and has definitely improved my riding.
“My goal for now is just to keep riding as many winners as I can, and then later on I’m hoping I can travel and potentially try riding in some other places. But I love riding in New Zealand too, and I would be very happy to just continue my career here.”
The Mudhoo family is well represented among New Zealand’s riding ranks, with Ashvin’s 21-year-old brother Jeetesh also apprenticed to Kelly, while cousins Krishna and Rohan are both based at Riccarton.
“It’s good having my brother here in the same stable as well – it’s nice for us to be doing this together, and we support each other a lot,” Ashvin said. “Then we’ve got our two cousins in the South Island, so it’s one set of brothers in the north and one in the south.
“We all get on really well with each other and we talk all the time. My brother and I recently had a couple of weeks off on holiday, and we both went down south to catch up with the cousins. It’s very good that we’re all here in New Zealand doing the same thing.”
Niranjan Parmar, meanwhile, hails from Pune in India and took up an apprenticeship with Te Akau Racing’s Jamie Richards last year. He has quickly made an impression with performances beyond what might be expected from a three- or four-kilogram claimer, and has wasted no time in racking up 15 wins from 119 rides to date.
The 24-year-old rode his first double at Matamata in early December, and on Saturday he did it again on Trentham’s biggest stage. Teaming up with Matamata trainer Peter McKay, he produced perfectly timed finishes to score aboard Cavallo Veloce and Langkawi.
“That was a really exciting day, probably the best one I’ve had,” the 24-year-old said. “I’m happy I came here to New Zealand – I wanted to come and ride here because it was something different and new, and I’m loving it.
“Te Akau is a great team to work for, and it helps me that they have nine or 10 guys working there at the moment who come from India as well. I get on very well with them, and everyone at Te Akau is so supportive.
“My ambition now is to just keep improving my riding and be the best jockey that I can be.”