Actor Shreyas Talpade is heartbroken after learning about the death of his favorite horse named Rochester in Pune yesterday. Rochester had won the classic Indian Derby, one of the biggest races in the country, in February 2018. The four-year-old colt Rochester had reached the pinnacle of his short racing career after defeating a line-up of illustrious rivals in the Indian Derby. He died yesterday afternoon at the Royal Western India Turf Club’s Equine Hospital in Pune.
In fact, inspired by Rochester’s unexpected and glorious win at the Classic Indian Derby this year, Shreyas had been working on a film around Rochester's trainer Shiraz Sunderji and the horse. A film based on the underdog true story of the trainer Shiraz Sunderji and the champion horse Rochester. Shreyas has been working extremely hard on the film focusing on Rochester and his trainer’s incredible and unusual story of courage, bravery, and survival.
An upset Shreyas said, “Rochester met with an unfortunate accident while appearing on the race-track for the first time after a summer break where he suffered a serious injury on the poll (the area between the ears) after he reared up and fell while going out for a morning workout at the Pune race course. Its heartbreaking cause this courageous horse had earlier defeated death in 2016 when he had fought a life-threatening infection at Pune. Post the emergency surgery racing was not an option for Rochester but despite the many complications he battled all odds and went on to win the classic Indian Derby. It was his trainer Shiraz Sunderji and the owner Akhtar Peerbhoy's belief in this horse that prompted them to train him and make him run the Classic Indian Derby."
Shreyas had first met with Rochester’s co-owner Akhtar Peerbhoy and his trainer Shiraz Sunderji after learning about their awe-inspiring story and had their nod for the film on Sunderji and his horse. The film revolves around the trainer and his horse who want to make a comeback to the race track. The belief of the trainer in his horse ultimately came true when the horse persevered and emerged victorious making his trainer win.
Shreyas added, “I had been in touch with the horse owners and trainers ever since Rochester came across the fateful accident and kept checking about his health and recovery. He was recovering well. But yesterday, his health suddenly began to decline and unfortunately succumbed to his injuries. I feel like I knew him since ages and as if I have lost someone really close to me.”
Shreyas has been working on the film’s script which he plans to direct as his second directorial venture post POSTER BOYS. After Rochester’s death, Shreyas seems more determined and feels it even more important to bring out the story of this remarkable horse and his trainer, and make sure that the film is made as a tribute to this horse since a gallant champion like Rochester lives forever.
(With inputs from Vishal Verma)