MIKE de Kock has paid tribute to Tobie van Booma, the former leading jockey who died in a car accident last week, aged 55.
Van Booma played his part in Mike’s early success and in fact rode Mike’s first ever Grade 1 winner, Evening Mist, in April 1989.
Tobie van Booma: Serious about his profession, loved horses.
Mike said on Thursday: “I’ve known Tobie since the early 1980s when he rode mostly for Ormond Ferraris. We were good friends and he was my first stable jockey.
“Tobie was a serious and dedicated man, a strong and reliable jockey and a top stable asssistant. It is very sad that his career had to end prematurely due to injury and that he died in the prime of his life. Condolences to his family from myself and my team.”
Van Booma, who graduated from the SA Jockeys Academy’s ‘class of 1970’ with the likes of Basil Marcus and Karl Neisius, rode successfully in South Africa and Mauritius between 1972 and the mid 2000s.
He represented South Africa in the Coco-Rico Internationals and won dozens of stakes races including the Germiston Cup, the SA Derby, the Lonsdale Stirrup Cup and the Johannesburg Merchants. He was associated with horses like Distinctly, Glory Be, Shah Reza, King Of Jazz and Royal Line.
Tex Lerena of the Jockeys Association commented: “I am saddened at Tobie’s death, I saw him just last Tuesday at night racing when he popped in to Turffontein. My heart goes out to his family.”
Van Booma’s daughter Candice commented: “My father was a top horseman and we will be proud of him forever!