A long association with racing
Harry Jaghai shares his life and times in horse racing
Harry Jaghai grew up in the sport of horse racing. He was raised on Red Hills Road in St Andrew and at age 14 began his formal association with the sport when he started as an apprentice at the stables of Tewfik Ziadie, and within a year the young Harry started to ride in competitive races.
“I was familiar with the sport of horse racing from as far back as 1951.
“I was apprenticed by the late Tewfik Ziadie, who is the father of Millard Ziadie, champion trainer in the 1940s and 1950s. Where I lived on Red Hills Road, Ziadie’s stables was nearby, and my mother brought me to him and he accepted me and taught me how to ride.
“I started to ride in 1952, but my career as a jockey was not so wonderful. I had only three winners during the time I was in the saddle. The three races I won were at different racetracks.
“In 1953 I rode my first winner on a filly named Quilt at Old Harbour. Quilt was trained by Ziadie. My second winner was aboard Zackie Eldeen, also trained by Ziadie and that was at Knutsford Park. My third and final winner came at Caymanas Park in 1967 on Boxing Day when I booted home Polyphemus.
“In-between I left racing. In 1957 I left the sport for five years due to personal issues. Frankie Frazer who was the top-notch jockey at the time, fell from his mount and died at Knutsford Park in the 1950s, and my parents got scared and didn’t want me to ride anymore. After leaving racing for the five years, I came back in 1963 at Caymanas Park and rode up until 1972,” Jaghai noted.
It took Jaghai just a couple of months to make a smooth and successful transition from being a jockey to a well-established trainer.
Training of horses wasn’t even on the cards for Jaghai as all he wanted to do was to ride horses, but his brother (Henry) encouraged him to take a leap of faith and Harry responded by taking the chance.
“My brother had a farm (Bombay Stud Farm) where he was breeding horses, so I was there regularly. “He was in a partnership with the late Harry Parsard, with whom he had built a stable and, in his (Henry’s) opinion, I was supposed to be the jockey and Parsard was supposed to be the trainer.
“Parsard went for his trainer’s licence but did not get through at the time. My brother then said to me that I should go and take a try and I went and passed the test. In mid-1972 I had my last ride and in the same year got my licence and began training horses, and from there on I have been training horses at Caymanas Park,” Jaghai told the Complete Racing Guide.
With 337 winners as a trainer, Jaghai said that it was a successful change in career and one that he had not regrets doing.
“My training career has been fairly good. At one stage I finished fourth in the trainers’ standing in the 1990s but that was when I had horses such as Marley Barley, Proceed and others. I had a Classic winner in Lady Bangalore who won the Jamaica Oaks. I also trained two Governor’s Cup winners and plenty other good winners,” he informed.
Unfortunately, health issues have forced Jaghai out of racing for the past two months, but he is hoping to make a comeback soon.
“Presently, I am not so well. I spent a week in the hospital and came home on January 19, and I am now recuperating. It appears as if it is a heart problem, but the doctors, in their wisdom, told me that it was a chest infection but I think it is the heart. I am here hanging on and watching to see what will happen,” he ended.