FORMER jockey and then master trainer Harry Jaghai is expressing his appreciation to Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment (SVREL) for dedicating Sunday's (March 19, 2023) 10-race programme in honour of the Jaghai family.
The two trophy races were on offer were named after Harry and and his brother Henry W Jaghai, with the remaining races on the day running in the names of horses that were bred by the Jaghai family. The Harry Jaghai Trophy was won by Loyal Action, and the Henry Jaghai by Rhythm Buzz.
"I am feeling so wonderful at the moment. I am happy, and I am thankful for a race to be run in my honour and also for Henry Jaghai. This is a wonderful moment and I am just happy,' Jaghai said.
Jaghai grew up in the sport of horse racing. He was raised on Red Hills Road in St Andrew, and at age 14, he began his formal association with the sport when he started as an apprentice at the stables of Tewfik Ziadie. Within a year the young Harry began to ride in competitive races.
He won three races as a jockey at three different racetracks. In 1953, Jaghai rode his first winner on a filly named Quilt at Old Harbour. Quilt was trained by Ziadie. His second winner was aboard Zackie Eldeen, also trained by Ziadie, and that was at Knutsford Park. The third and final winner came at Caymanas Park in 1967 on Boxing Day when he booted home Polyphemus.
"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. 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," the 84-year-old 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. As a trainer Harry Jaghai saddled 341 winners.
"My training career has been fairly good. My first winner as a trainer was with Conquistador. 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.
Henry Jaghai is best known as a champion breeder for many years, and as the owner of the celebrated Bombay Stud Farm.