Ravi Naidoo (glasses on) leads in Cousin Casey after a big win at Hollywoodbets Greyville (Picture: Candiese Lenferna).
Ravi Naidoo has had two fitting winners under the name he now races, Kalinga.
The name has an interesting background and refers to the Indian state of Odisha, which in ancient times was known as Kalinga.
Ravi’s great grandfather came to South Africa in 1904 having grown up in a village in the region formerly known as Kalinga.
The name of the latter region is derived from a tribe of the same name.
The Kalingas were a maritime force who created trade routes in South East Asia and were the equivalent of the Western maritime force, the Dutch East India company.
Ravi feels it to be a particularly poignant name for a company that will hold equine and farming interests.
As a Springbok rugby fan Ravi’s first winner under Kalinga was most fitting being the Justin Snaith-trained Master Of My Fate gelding Master Of Paris. He won on October 10 at Hollywoodbets Durbanville, just 18 days before the Boks lifted the Rugby World Cup trophy in Paris.
Kalinga owns Master Of Paris together with Nancy Hossack and Pam Isdell.
Ravi’s second win under the name was in his own French grey colours and violet cap and came in Gqeberha’s biggest race, the Listed Jonsson Workwear Algoa Cup on Sunday.
The Snaith-trained Futura gelding Future Swing, whom he part-owns with Drakenstein Stud and Pam Isdell, won comfortably under JP van der Merwe on Sunday.
Ravi’s big hope for the season at this stage will likely be with his Gr 1-winning champion colt Cousin Casey, whom Kalinga own outright. This Vercingetorix colt is being tried in a new environment up on the Highveld with Sean Tarry. He made a good start up there with a second place finish in the Gr 2 Allied Steelrode On A Mission Charity Mile.
Cousin Casey is currently a 7/1 shot with the sponsor for Jo’Burg’s traditional biggest race, the Gr 1 R5 million Betway Summer Cup.
Ravi owns the Gr 2 winner and Gr 1 placed Zapatillas with the same partners as he owns Future Swing.
This Brett Crawford-trained Master Of My Fate entire is recuperating after another arthroscopy (procedure for the treatment of joints) and “will be back next Autumn”.
Ravi’s fascinating history in racing was documented by Turf Talk in the build up to last year’s Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas (read below):
Ravi was born in and grew up in Durban.
He said, “I am definitely not a Johnny-come-lately. I have had a long love affair with racing ever since In Full Flight won the July in 1972. I was only eight years old, but can remember my father backing the winner. After that I used to read the form and was fascinated by the pictures showing the 800m, 400m and finishing positions. I used to know all the course records etc too.”
He continued, “Then in the early 1980s members of my family became an advance guard during the apartheid years by being granted their colours, so they were pioneers and owned a good horse called Casal Garcia.”
This Harry Hotspur filly won seven races and was multiple stakes-placed, including a narrow second in the Tibouchina.
Ravi also recalled her breaking a course record once.
Later, Ravi went down to UCT and with encouragement from Professor Tim Noakes decided to do a post grad study on EPO, a naturally occurring cytokine which was a controversial topic in athletics at the time as there were practices being used to manipulate its abundance in the bloodstreams of unscrupulous athletes.
He thus regularly accompanied veterinarian Bob McDaniel on his rounds at the Cape Town training tracks, which always ended with him taking some vials of blood back to UCT for study purposes having been drawn from racehorse’s neck veins.
Ravi then decided to contact Alec Hogg, who was at the time publishing the Racing Digest, to tell him he was in a good position to talk to trainers.
“So I wrote for the Racing Digest for a while.”
Later, with his second pay cheque working for an advertising company, he bought a 10% share in a Dancing Champ filly who was a three-parts sister to Olympic Duel.
He began expanding his interest, but it all ground to a halt when a consortium he had joined bought into an expensive import called Habaayib.
This horse injured a canon bone in his third SA start and Ravi decided to take a complete sabbatical from ownership. He did not even excercise his stallion rights.
It was at a L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate after-party a few years ago where he was encouraged by Gaynor Rupert to own again.
She invited him to join the L’Ormarins Syndicate and he accepted.
Later, Gaynor, Pam Isdell and Ravi started a fun group in which they buy three horses at the National Yearling Sales per year and race them together.
They call themselves “The Tricolores” and draw to see whose colours the horses will run in. The person who draws the colours is also allowed to choose the trainer.
One of their first runners together was Zapatillas, who won the Grade 2 WSB Guineas.
As the bug had bitten again, Ravi began buying for himself and hence the purchase of Cousin Casey.