SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER //
GET 'MICHAEL COX ON MONDAY' DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
New bloodstock outfit Gandharvi’s latest buys at Keeneland are just the start for a young Singaporean entrepreneur’s enthusiastic entry into racing.
Kuldeep Singh Rajput has a lot going on, and the energy to match.
He has just finished at the Keeneland yearling sales, where he and Gandharvi’s Chief Operating Officer Michael Wallace purchased six fillies and a colt. He bought into 11 lots at the same sale as part of a separate colts syndicate. He also had a runner at Kranji, Singapore, and on Monday the first of the yearlings he purchased in Australia earlier this year will hit the track at Randwick for the year’s first two-year-old trials.
It is clear that less than two years after his first foray into horse ownership, that this is much more than a hobby.
“Of course there is excitement and fun about racing and breeding, but it isn’t just fun, whatever I get into I look at it as a new venture and look at what the return is,” he told Asian Racing Report. “So when I looked at racing, it was all about asking what is my strategy? When I grew my businesses I was always asking ‘what is my five year strategy?’
Singh Rajput has some serious business chops. As founder and CEO of digital health company Biofourmis, he was named in Forbes ‘30 under 30’ and has carved out space as an angel investor in the United States. That fast-paced world provides plenty of perspective to apply to racing, but Rajput says he is learning plenty from the sport as well.
“Racing takes a lot of patience,” he said. “Outside of horse racing for me, in our business, it is all about speed and how fast you can move in the marketplace, but when it comes to racing and horses one thing I have learnt is that you just have to be patient and go with the flow.”
Rajput has racing in his blood. His great grandparents bred horses in India, but the family tradition wasn’t continued. It wasn’t until a chance meeting in Singapore in 2020 that he purchased a horse.
He then invested in colts, spreading risk by buying small shares of yearling colts, hoping that one becomes a commercial stallion, a concept familiar to Rajput through his work as a seed round investor in the world of venture capitalism, but he soon yearned for a more long-term investment.
That is where the five-year plan came into play and Rajput has secured Michael Wallace as Chief Operating Officer of Gandharvi and has set about obtaining fillies with pedigrees that provide residual value.
“I didn’t only want to make those bets where we buy 50 or 60 colts and hope for one,” he says. “So we took a different path and rather than quick returns, we will focus on long-term value and focus on fillies. We are after deep family pedigrees that will have good residual value and hope that some of these horses will also be able to race.”
Gandharvi has also weighed into buying broodmares, securing four across Australia, France and America.
“The word Gandharvi is Sanskrit and means first mother of horses, so it is an appropriate name for the breeding aspect of what we want to achieve,” he said.
In Singapore the patient approach has continued. Rather than pay big money for tried horses, Rajput teamed-up with champion trainer Michael Clements and bloodstock agent Bevan Smith to buy yearlings out of Australian yearling sales with an eye to the future.
It hasn’t taken long for that investment to pay off: Coin Toss gave Gandharvi a first winner in Singapore on September 10 and fellow three-year-old Petrograd – which finished ahead of Coin Toss at their first start – looks set to join his stablemate as a winner soon.
A decisive win by COIN TOSS (Flying Artie x Headsup) – Breaks his maiden at @SGTurfClub! @NewgateFarm @KranjiBroadcast @mickwallace @mjcrsdotcom @bevanbloodstock @scottbailey23 @PComerford17 pic.twitter.com/tBaDhl6fvx
— Gándharví (@GandharviRacing) September 10, 2022
“There is one more horse already there, a gelding by Pride of Dubai, who is slated to start in the next month, and two more horses will be shipped to Singapore in the next couple of months,” Rajput said. “I am really excited. In Singapore the plan is to get them through the grades and aim for some of the group races next year.”
Despite the Singapore Turf Club’s struggles, Gandharvi’s interests there are a vote of confidence.
“Singapore is where it all started for me, that is where I bought my first horse,” Rajput says. “It is where my family is and I have built a lot of relationships and have a lot of friends. I enjoy Singapore, I spend 30 percent of my time in Singapore and the rest in the US.
“The way we look at Singapore racing is that the prize money is still comparative, it is a place where if you have the right horse you can enjoy it.”
Although Rajput’s hobby has soon become a business, he still has left room for the social side of racing and one of the most encouraging aspects for him is the way that other young people have wanted to join him on his racing journey.
“When I got into racing a little over a year ago, I had so many friends who reached out to me and said ‘this is so cool and this is fun, we had no idea about this at all’, They wanted an opportunity to invest a little and be part of the excitement and the fun, and hopefully along the journey make some money.”
GET 'MICHAEL COX ON MONDAY' DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX