Khade, Pandu

Pandu Khade

 

In 1947, Indian jockey Pandurang Khade – pronounced Karday – accepted a generous offer from the Maharajah Gaekwar of Baroda to ride for him in England. He was the Maharajah’s retained jockey in India.

 

Among the best of Bombay’s young riders, Pandu Khade had been trained at the Indian school for jockeys set up by Sir Victor Sassoon before the war. He had originally been due to accompany the Maharajah and jockey Edgar Britt to England in 1945 but was unable to obtain a passage.

 

Now, two years’ later, the problem was whether the Jockey Club would grant him a licence. Back in 1932 the Jockey Club had announced that new licenses would only be issued to jockeys in England, thereby excluding visitors. Australian jockey Rae Johnstone was among those affected. He was already on his way to England with the promise of rides, but as the result of the Jockey Club’s decision he would have been unable to obtain a licence. He was thus left with the option of returning to Australia or trying his luck in France. He chose the latter.

 

The ban had subsequently been lifted, allowing some of Johnstone’s compatriots, such as Edgar Britt, to ride in Britain. Nonetheless, sporting columnists in India advised Khade to stay in his own country as “English jockeys would not welcome him.”

 

The Gaekwar of Baroda, meanwhile, had spent large sums of money purchasing bloodstock during the previous three years. He had paid a record price of 28,000 guineas for Derby winner Dante’s brother Sayajirao, who would go on to win the 1947 St Leger for him. He had also bought Ashgill Stud, near Middleham, and was now looking to have a breeding establishment in Ireland, having purchased a residential farm at Connellmore, Newbridge, Co. Kildare for conversion into a stud farm.

 

Despite the reservations of the Indian columnists, 26-year-old Pandu Khade duly arrived in England in March 1947. He was due to ride Young Stratford in the Lincolnshire Handicap but was unable to take the mount. Instead, he made his debut at Hurst Park three days later, March 29, becoming the first Indian jockey to ride under Jockey Club rules in Britain when finishing sixth of nine on his employer’s Baroda Squadron in the Chelsea Handicap.

 

He rode for Sam Armstrong’s stable and opened his account in Britain when winning the Stewards’ Maiden Stakes at Bogside on

Squire on April 19, 1947. He rode the Maharajah’s colt Bhishma in that year’s Derby, finishing fourteenth behind the French-trained Pearl Diver. He also rode Bhishma in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot but returned to India a month or so later.

 

Little more was heard of Pandu Khade in Northern Hemisphere racing circles until he arrived in Ireland in 1962 and began riding for Stuart Murless. He got off to a good start, his first winner being McCann in the City Maiden Plate at Mallow on April 23.

 

He rode several more winners over the course of the next two months, including Sicilian Prince in the Esker Stakes at Phoenix Park. He finished fourth on that horse in the Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh on June 13, and that same afternoon won the June Scurry Handicap on Della Strada. Seven days later, he rode Matal in the 1962 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, finishing last of ten.

 

Pandu Khade had his final ride in Ireland on July 7, 1962, finishing fourth on Quetzal in the Currage Cup Handicap at Phoenix Park. He presumably went back to India later that month, never to return.

 

 

 

 

 

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