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Friday, August 29, 2003


Dhruba Selvaratnam, who began his training career in Pakistan over thirty years ago and who took out Irish nationality when assistant to the great Vincent O'Brien at Ballydoyle in the late 1970s, has returned to his adopted country to train near Cashel, Co Tipperary.

Selvaratnam was one of the leading exponents of his trade in Pakistan where he saddled four Classic winners and was crowned Champion Trainer in 1972/3.

In 1975, he opted to expand his horizons by joining Ian Balding as assistant trainer at Kingsclere in Berkshire, a position which he also later filled for Robert Armstrong at Newmarket. Finally, to round-off his already extensive education, he spent a further ten years assisting "The Master", Vincent O'Brien at Ballydoyle, where his charges included the likes of Guineas winner El Gran Senor and the legendary Sadler's Wells.

The opportunity to train horses in his own right came once again in 1990 when Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum asked him to become his private handler in the UAE. Dhruba and his Irish wife Marian had no hesitation in accepting the offer, which began an exciting new chapter in his career.

Selvaratnam was largely responsible for setting up Jebel Ali racecourse and its allied training facilities on behalf of his new patron and wasted no time in making his mark on the track either, notching up the first of his four Trainers' Championships in the 1992/3 season. In fact, he either won the Championship or was runner-up on eight occasions during the 13 years he spent in the UAE and still holds the record of sending out 67 winners in a single season.

In all, Selvaratnam has saddled a total 961 winners in a training career which spans thirty years.

Now back near his old stomping ground of Ballydoyle, he is refurbishing and upgrading Railstown Stables at Rosegreen near Cashel, and is expecting to be fully operational by the end of next month.

"I've already been asked to buy a couple of yearlings by owners from Ireland and the Middle East," he says. "I hope to have a minimum of ten horses by the time the new season comes round, but have capacity for 26 if necessary.

"I've got 30 acres to play with and will be laying down a five furlong, all-weather gallop ­ something which I think is essential in this climate."

With such a relatively small string (intially at least), it's hard to see Selvaratnam adding to his Championship laurels in the near future, but his track record is such that it doesn't take much imagination to see him up there mixing it with the Aiden O'Briens and Dermot Welds of this world in years to come.


Betting Exchange to Sponsor Whole Card

Betfair, the company revolutionising betting, is to sponsor the whole of Saturday's card at Chester for Ladies day at the August Festival of Racing, Food & Drink. The 3 day festival covered by C4 and Attheraces is one of the most entertaining meetings of the flat, with the highlight on Saturday being the Class A Listed Betfair.com Rated Stakes.

In 2002, Betfair was the 4th biggest sponsor of UK horse racing in terms of races covered. Going forward the company plans to improve the quality of its sponsored events with racing becoming the principal focus for the betting exchange.

Betfair's marketing department are planning to 'paint the course blue' with the usual Betfair roadshow designed to introduce punters to the exchange betting.

Mark Davies, Betfair's Director of Communications, said, "Racing is our most important market and we are delighted to be able to increase our sponsorship spend this year. This is always a fun meeting, with some good racing and a lively atmosphere this looks sure to continue."


A fund has been set up in memory of the late Kieran Kelly who died tragically as a result of a fall at Kilbeggan on 8th August, 2003. The Kelly family have requested that all proceeds from the fund are donated to the Jockeys Accident Fund.

If you wish to make a donation to the fund, you may do so as follows:-

1. By making a lodgment to a special bank account which has been set up at Bank of Ireland, Newbridge:-
Account Name: Kieran Kelly Memorial Fund
Account No: 34653683
Sort Code: 90-12-63

2. By credit card, if you phone Anne Bergin at the Irish Turf Club (045-445600) and give your credit card details.

3. By sending a cheque payable to the Kieran Kelly Memorial Fund, c/o The Irish Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare.

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