Meet a man of colour

2015-01-18 15:00

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If you think horse racing is dominated by staid and tradition-bound personalities, wait until you meet Alesh Naidoo. He’s the talk of the town in racetrack circles and a colourful character from head to toe.

Arguably South Africa’s most colourful racehorse owner, the ­KwaZulu-Natal businessman didn’t get the memo on the formal-dress requirements for trainers and owners on race days, and rocks up in one of his many flamboyant outfits.

“To dress like this is not extraordinary for me, it’s normal,” says Naidoo (51). “I’ve always followed fashion and I change as trends change.” Right now, he’s sporting bleached blond hair, funky streetwear, bling jewellery and an eyebrow piercing. He’s riding out this fashion wave until the next big trend.

“I was a rebel from my schooldays,” says Naidoo, “I’ve never conformed. I dress up for the fun of it and I like to look unique.”

This unique look includes matching his race-day outfits to his racing colours. Jockeys who ride his horses wear the red, white and blue of the old Seychelles flag.

“A jockey who was born in the Seychelles chose the colours for me when I got involved in racing in 2007,” he explains.

So, in keeping with his “let’s go for it” attitude to life, he opted for them.

So loyal is he to the red, white and blue that, depending on his race-day mood, his eyebrow piercing will match one of them and sometimes, even his hair colour.

Naidoo takes the love for his racing colours a step further – the walls of his private suite at Greyville Racecourse are painted in them as is a special trophy room in the Durban North home of this 2012 KZN Racing Personality of the Year.

“I love colour, the brighter the better. When people look at me, I don’t just want them to say my name, I want them to put an ­exclamation mark after it,” says the modest man with the flamboyant character. And Naidoo delights in living an exclamation-filled life.

He flashes a shiny, orange, moccasin-clad foot (the colour complements his imported BMW Z4 sports car) as he talks about his love for shopping internationally for clothes and shoes.

He says he has 100 pairs of shoes in brilliant colours, 50 baseball caps and numerous designer T-shirts in a walk-in wardrobe the size of a small bedroom.

The word ‘fun’ crops up often, like when he talks about being the successful owner of 70 racehorses.

“I do it for fun, it brings an aspect of fun to my life,” says Naidoo who has acknowledged the support of his wife, Nisa, by naming ­several of his horses after her.

Among them are Nisa’s Love, Nisa’s Trip and Nisa’s Machine.

Naidoo is also a keen marathon runner. He’s run every Comrades Marathon in the past 13 years and wants to keep going. He doesn’t intend ending his fun anytime soon.

“I’m young at heart, young in ­spirit and I’ll dress how I want. I’ll continue my passion for racing – the day it stops being fun is the day I’ll stop,” he says.

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