PHUMELELA is proud to announce that The Citizen will sponsor the International Jockeys’ Challenge again this year.
Said Larry Wainstein, chairman of the Racing Association, which represents the interests of racehorse owners in Phumelela racing regions and is the driving force behind the Jockeys’ Challenge: “We’re thrilled that The Citizen, who sponsored the event for the first time last year, is on board again. Their involvement will give the Challenge exposure and create interest to help us grow the event.’’
Larry Wainstein, Racing Association.
Wainstein attended the Ebor Festival at York last week and says that a number of riders he met there had said they were keen to come to South Africa to take their revenge for the international team’s defeat at the last three Challenges, which were all won by the Proteas.
“The international team will only be finalised by the end of September because the jockeys might have commitments later in the season. But riders like Kieren Fallon, Frankie Dettori, Richard Hughes, Jamie Spencer, Hayley Turner, Olivier Peslier, Christophe Soumillon and Ryan Moore are all showing an interest. We can only bring out six people, but by the looks of it, it’s going to be a strong international team.’’
The Protea team will comprise the leading four jockeys last season, Anton Marcus (captain), Anthony Delpech, Muzi Yeni and Felix Coetzee, plus two “wild-cards’’, who will be picked within the next two weeks.
Like last year, The Citizen International Jockeys’ Challenge will be staged across two meetings – the first on Friday night 11 November at Turffontein where two feature races will be run, the R300,000 Victory Moon Stakes (Grade 2) and the R135,000 Gardenia Handicap (Listed), and the second on Sunday 13 November at Kenilworth, where the R300,000 Betting World Merchants (G2) tops the programme.
The teams will compete in four races at each of the two meetings. Points will be scored according to finishing positions over the two racedays. The international team will also compete against a six-man “Rising Star’’ team at each of the meetings.
There will be a draw for mounts in each of the challenge races and the runners will be seeded beforehand in order to equalise the chances of the two teams as much as is possible.
In order to try and ensure maximum fields of 14 (12 runners and two reserves), Phumelela’s Racing Executive Patrick Davis said that he had boosted the stakes in the five handicap races at the Turffontein fixture. The MR 92 Handicap over 1800m, the MR 90 Handicap over 1400m and two MR 86 Handicaps over 1400m and 2450m respectively (races normally worth from R83,000 to around R95,000) will be worth R120,000 each, while the MR 78 Handicap will carry a stake of R90,000.
“Of course, if any of the fields for these races fails to attract sufficient horses, Phumelela has reserved the right to select an alternative race,’’ said Davis, adding that another condition of entry was that the jockeys would race in their country’s team colours, rather than the owners’ silks.