Usha Stud Farm was the dream child of Maj. P. K. Mehra, an international polo player of repute. Well before it was established, he had ventured into breeding while still a young captain, by importing Eagle Don*, his first mare, in foal to Entanglement. Eagle Don* duly dropped her foal. That foal, a filly, was named MICA EXPRESS and she went on to win the South India Oaks, Gr.1. Maj. Mehra had hit the bull’s eye with his very first shot.
His appetite whetted, he persuaded his father, a doctor with the United Nations, to advance him a small loan. With that he brought out his first batch of three mares - Nut*, Dusty Marta* and Traxana*. These mares were boarded at another stud farm while Maj. Mehra struggled with the travails that go with having to give a finite shape to a nebulous dream. His break came when the Italian Ambassador to India, a keen polo player himself, agreed to stand guarantee for a bank loan with which a stud farm could be set up.
Maj. Mehra was now the Commandant of President’s Bodyguard and it was in the sprawling complex of his official residence in the RashtrapatiBhavan that the embryonic Usha Stud had its beginning. He collected his mares from other farms, brought out another consignment of horses from England, including Grey Gaston, a stallion on whose remarkable prepotence the edifice of Usha Stud grew rapidly. It was here that Dusty Marta* was covered by Grey Gaston. It was here that the foal of that covering was born. That foal was MANITOU, the first foal born at Usha Stud and the first of Usha Stud’s record of eleven Indian Derby winners.
Already, MajMehra was looking ahead. He had bought land in Gurgaon, not far from Delhi’s airport and the stock shifted there in 1973. Usha Stud now had not only a name but a place as well. There has been no looking back, ever since. In the years following that modest beginning, Usha Stud has run up an impressive list of achievements. 315 Classics have been won by Usha Stud-breds giving it an annual average of seven Classics a year. That average is the highest in India. Those 315 Classic wins include 13 IndianDerbys of which five were won in a row. 13 Usha Stud-bred fillies have won the Indian Oaks including six in successive years. The two winning sequences are not replicated in Indian turf history. MANITOU, Usha Stud’s first Indian Derby winner won the race by 10 lengths. That winning margin has not been improved upon till today. STARSKY, Usha Stud’s ninth Indian Derby winner, won the race in 2002, the fastest ever time. MANITOU to SOUTHERN REGENT, a glorious chapter that is testimony to where Usha Stud stands today.
The founder of Usha Stud was a natural horseman and he believed in natural rearing of horses, providing them with ample space and an healthy environment. Success on track helped in getting better prices for the produce and a major part of the profits was ploughed back into increasing acreage and infrastructure.
Maj. Mehra strode across the Indian racing and breeding scene like a colossus. He had many attributes but the ones for which he will be best remembered are the speed element which he introduced, the innovative marketing techniques that he adopted and above all, his uncanny knack when it came to selecting a stallion.
The Usha Stud stallions have done themselves proud. In the office of the Registrar of the Indian Stud Book are photographs of stallions which have produced ten or more individual Classic winners. Only seventeen stallions in the entire history of Indian breeding have passed through the needle’s eye to adorn that wall. Six stallions have stood at Usha Stud.
It’s a tribute to Maj. Mehra and his foresight that the edifice he constructed, from the foundation up, was so strong and resilient that the performance of his brainchild has not suffered a whit. In fact, so successfully has the baton been passed on to his daughter Ameeta that Usha Stud has gone from strength to strength.
After China Visit, Multidimensional was added to the Stallion Roster and he has proved an absolute sensation with his three Classic Crops till date:
- Champion Freshman Sire, 2012-2013
- Champion Sire, 2013-2014
- Progeny have won 17 Gr.1. races from 3 Classic Crops till date
- Highest Stakes Winner in India Rs.36,80,61,623
The latest recruit Speaking Of Which (retired to stud in 2014), has his first foals on the ground and there is every reason to be highly bullish about him. The Invincible Spirit Sire line is presently making the headlines and his nicking patterns with Multidimensional, Razeen, China Visit and Steinbeck mares provide great assurance for the future.
Usha Stud farm has been at the top, in the Stud Farm Rankings throughout this period. Consequently it is not surprising that it is commonly referred to as the “Best Stud Farm in India”.