As the strapper and track work rider of multiple Group winners, Pratap Singh had an unconventional introduction into the racing industry. With meticulous attention to detail and fantastic horsemanship skills, Pratap is an asset to the team and is able to get aboard some of our most tricky rides.
We spoke to Pratap to learn a little more about his time at Wexford, what he was doing before he came to New Zealand and the horses we should all be keeping an eye on...
How did you first get involved in the racing industry?
Growing up in India, I didn't have any horse experience. The closest experience I had to horse riding was riding camels!
I first worked on a stud farm in Mumbai, through family connections. From there I began riding at a polo stable. I worked there for one year, which is where I learnt to ride. I then progressed to working in Saudia Arabia in indoor racing. After 5 years working in Dubai and breaking in approximately 80 horses per year, I came to work for Wexford. I have now been at Wexford for 7 years!
What is your current role at Wexford?
Senior Staff Member (and Star Strapper).
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love riding. When I was young, I had never ridden a horse. Through working in Saudi Arabia and breaking in horses, I learnt to ride anything. Coming to New Zealand, Lance and Scotty have been good mentors for me and Lance has helped me a lot with my riding. They've helped me to develop good balance, enabling me to be able to ride some of our more difficult horses.
Winter and the cold!
What has been your proudest racing moment with Wexford?
It's hard to pinpoint one moment. I have been lucky enough to ride some very talented horses. Rocket Spade, Dark Destroyer, Dragon Leap, Summer Passage to name a few. Sleeping Beauty was another good horse, she was very tricky to ride but went on to be a stakes performer and winner of ten races.
You've strapped multiple Gr.1 winners during your time at Wexford. In your eyes, who was the best?
Rocket Spade was probably the best based on ability. His win in the Group One New Zealand Derby was fantastic.
Do you have a soft spot for one horse in particular?
It's really hard to split them! But Dragon Leap is probably my favourite, he has such an easy-going attitude and kind personality. He's a very talented horse.
Sunny (Summer Passage) was also pretty special to me, being my first Group One winner.
One horse in the barn people should keep an eye on over the next few months?
I really rate the Satono Aladdin x Bateleur colt, he's a very nice horse with a lot of potential.
As a Derby chance, I think the Almanzor x Caminadora colt is one to watch.
What is your favorite thing about Wexford Stables?
Lance and Scotty are great! They have a great memory and know the horses inside out. They are both so good to speak to. Always positive and work hard to really try and get the best out of the horses. Lance has been like a father figure to me, teaching me so much. His family and Scotty are genuine people and have always been very supportive. Having been at Wexford for 7 years, I have seen the stable grow and a lot of good horses come through the stable. I even got to ride with Lance!