THE team of emerging jockeys to take on an international side in a race sponsored by the Thoroughbred Racing Trust at Turffontein on Friday night 12 November has been announced by Racing Association chairman Larry Wainstein.
The Racing Association is the driving force behind The Citizen International Jockeys’ Challenge and a panel comprising Wainstein, Phumelela Racing Executive Patrick Davis, South African Jockeys’ Academy riding master Rhys van Wyk, Gauteng Jockeys’ Academy headmaster Gary Waterston and TAB chief Vee Moodley chose the team.
The youngsters comprise JP van der Merwe (Gauteng), Evert Pheiffer (Gauteng), Tshwaro Appie (Gauteng), Anthandiwe Mgudlwa (KwaZulu-Natal), Keagan de Melo (KwaZulu-Natal) and Grant van Niekerk (Cape Town).
They will ride in one race against the international team, which comprises Richard Hughes, Jimmy Fortune, Jamie Spencer, Tom Queally, Olivier Peslier and Andrasch Starke.
Wainstein said: “The Thoroughbred Racing Trust funds the race and we’re grateful for its support. I think it’s a great opportunity for the youngsters. It is designed to be an initiative to encourage young riders to strive for excellence so they can be part of the team when this race comes around every year.”
Pen pics of the young riders:
Juan Paul van der Merwe (21) is South Africa’s ruling champion apprentice, having finished 55 winners clear of second-placed Nooresh Juglall in the title chase last season. He rode for the up-and-coming riders’ team last year and won the “young guns” international race at Turffontein. Other notable achievements so far include a five-timer at Borrowdale in Harare back in June. To 27 October he had won 188 races, including the Grade 2 Gold Bowl aboard Winning Leap and the Grade 3 Racing Association Handicap on Ilsanpietro last year.
Evert Pheiffer will turn 23 on 14 November, a day after the second leg of the International Jockeys’ Challenge. He also rode against the international team in the up-and-coming riders’ race last year and finished fourth. He had ridden 75 winners to 27 October with his first victory coming at the Vaal in September 2009.
Tshwaro Appie (21) had won 56 races to 27 October and top horses he has partnered include Storm Crossing, on whom he won the August Stakes last year, Commissionerstreet and Beach Flight.
KwaZulu-Natal-based apprentice Athandiwe Mgudlwa (20), who still claims a 1.5kg apprentice allowance, has ridden in 720 races to date, winning 43 and placing in 211. The youngster had a red-letter day in February, when he rode the winners of all four legs of the Jackpot.
Keagan de Melo (18), also a 1.5kg claimer, is one of the most promising youngsters in the South African apprentice ranks. He scored his first feature win when booting Tetelestai to victory in the Listed Umgeni Handicap on Gold Cup day at Greyville this year. He has won 31 races from 462 mounts to date.
Grant van Niekerk (20), who is based in Cape Town, has a number of big wins already, having taken the Listed Ladies Mile (A Daughter’s Legacy), the Jet Master Stakes (League Of Honour), the Listed PE Gold Cup (Key Castle) and the Grade 3 Winter Derby (Nysean Bolt). He has won 115 races so far.
Photo: Emerging Jockeys team member Tshwaro Appie wins on Mike de Kock-trained Greys Anatomy at Turffontein last week. (JC Photos).