'Age is just a number,' So says the fifty-two-year old champion jockey of Trinidad and Tobago Ricardo 'Ricky' Jadoo on Boxing Day last year, in a stirring finish to the 2018 Jockey Championship. Jadoo had to pull out all the stops to land the championship honours by a length from a rallying Brian Boodramsing.
Jadoo intimated, ‘This win is for the older riders. This should motivate them to keep on and don’t give up the chase. I am 52 and I am still going strong. There is always going to be a struggle. Earlier in the 2018 season, I had a bad patch and sometimes you feel that you have hit rock bottom but by the Grace of God, my belief and commitment, I rose up to win the Derby and the championship.’
Jadoo, the gentleman that he is, was sorry for his rival jockey and said, "I'm sorry that I had to beat Brian (Boodramsing), but such is the racing game. We competed fiercely and someone had to win. This time it was me but there are no hard feelings between us. We just did the best that we could and it was an exciting climax.”
Jadoo, who recorded 34 wins to Boodramsing's 33, for 2018, wrote his name into the annals of racing history when he became the oldest jockey to win the Trinidad Derby. He piloted the Glenn Mendez trained thoroughbred Cape Canaveral to victory for owner Merlin Samalasingh for whom he has won the prestigious Blue Riband, the most.
When asked what could have done better this year, he responded, “If Valorous did not bolt at the first turn in the NLCB Gold Cup, we would have won. That cost me the race but trainer Mendez did another superb training job with him. He nearly proved everyone wrong. I hope 2019 will be even better - because ‘Age is Just A Number.”
Jadoo has always been sought by owners and trainers alike. From his early days with Mal Lewis in south Trinidad to Jack Debideen in Port-of-Spain, now to the shrewd Glenn Mendez stable, Jadoo's cool, quiet and collective attitude, yet confident manner is infectious. Today, Jadoo commands the respect of all trainers and owners and yet has the admiration of his colleagues of the pigskin. He is a jockey who is consider to be one of the finest riders ever to grace Santa Rosa Park. He has won the championship on six occasions.
I remember watching Jadoo ride Night Princess for the legendary Eric 'Colt' Durant. He dictated the pace and won as he liked. Durant told me in the late 1980s that, "Once I have a good light-weight horse and he has a chance, I am giving the ride to Jadoo." That said a lot for Jadoo.
One can only look back and remember his brilliant performances aboard the Glenn Mendez trained/Merlin Samlalsingh owned Top Of The Class.
Jadoo got interested in horses when his father took him to the paddock at Union Park in Marabella, Those were the days when racing were held at the Queen's Park Savannah, Arima, Marabella and Shirvan Park, Tobago. "I fell in love with horses that day and I knew that was my future." His early days was spent with Lewis before he went to the jockey school for 18 months. "When I graduated, I rode my first winner Amber Light for Lewis." He was quick to point out that Venice "Pappy" Richards influenced his early career. Why? "You could not fault him on a horse's back." Over the years, Jadoo has been remarkably successful, and he points out his success was due to hard work.
"For 35 years, I worked really hard and it has paid off. For that I am thankful. I am proud of what I have achieved." Jadoo lives with his wife and daughters in San Fernando and gets up at 4 am to be at the track by 5 am. "Regularly, I work 10-12 horses a day." He has had his share of hard luck stories and hit the "ground" on many occasions in his career.
Over the years, Jadoo has been entrusted with quite an array of thoroughbred. Among his top rides were Sian's Gold which he claims is the best horse he has ridden. He believes Top of The Class is just as good as his other Derby winners New Millennium, Mucho Tempo and Cape Canaveral.
The Multiple champion jockey Ricky Jadoo, said, " I am looking forward to winning my 1000th winner...it is hard work, but I will get there. Only Venice Richards and Chally Jones reached this figure. This year’s success has inspired me to go after the 1,000 marks."
Jadoo said, He always has to thank Mal Lewis, trainer Jack Debideen and champion trainer Glenn Mendez for where he stands today. I also want to thank my brothers Kennedy and Christopher Jadoo for assisting in my career and how it has blossomed. "I would also like to thank Jack Debideen, who is out of racing and sadly missed. I wish him all the best," said Jadoo.
"I would also like to thank my wife Susan and my four daughters, Shernell, Shervonne, Sherneice, Carineh and my son Ricardo Jadoo Junior, who is always there for me. Asked about his favourite horses and jockeys, Jadoo said: "Top Of The Class (Triple Crown winner in 2003) is my favourite horse.
Really, Jadoo's performances has shown, that he is at the top of the class among his colleagues.