TSHWARO Appie will only be an “appy” for another two weeks. The 21-year-old becomes a fully-fledged jockey on 11 January 2012 and with his recent riding feats on Mike de Kock’s runners is certain to get a good headstart to his professional career.
Tshwaro has improved in leaps and bounds in the last year and has been afforded a number of chances by the stable, grabbing them with both hands.
His latest wins came at Turffontein on Christmas Eve when he booted home Ilha Bela in a MR84 Handicap over 1800m (headline photo) and Meadow Magic in a MR94 Handicap over 1600m, showing his good sense of pace and a cool head on both occasions.
Three-year-old Ilha Bela (9-2), a daughter of Fort Wood and the illustrious Ilha Da Vitoria, turned for home last of 14 runners, but found running room on the rail and made steady progress to hit the front close home, fighting off stablemate Gibson Girl.
Ilha Bela was drawn 14 of 14 and Tshwaro commented: “Mr (John) Buckler and I discussed the race and there wasn’t much more I could do than drop her out. Things worked out well. She got going very nicely in the straight.”
Mike, speaking from Dubai, said of Mary Slack’s filly: “We rested her after the KZN season and she’s made good progress in her few runs since. She’s an Oaks prospect, a nice filly with scope.”
Meadow Magic gets up to beat Without Malice. (JC Photos).
Meadow Magic, a lightly-raced four-year-old by Mogok, has been a revelation in four starts following long rest. He completed a hat-trick of wins in a competitive field, running on strongly to account for smart filly Without Malice and Grade 1 winner Potala Palace.
Meadow Magic posted two wins on sand recently, one over 1200m and the other over 1450m – and this win over a mile on grass proved his class and versatility.
“Meadow Magic was unsound, so we rested him for a year and it did him the world of good,” said Mike. “He’s sound now and we like him a lot, he’s a horse that could have a feature win in him.”
Tshwaro Appie wil be hoping to secure the ride the day Meadow Magic is entered for a big race, as he is unbeaten on the gelding for owners Larry Nestadt, Greg Blank, Marshall Finlay, Philip Georgas and Selwyn Nathan.
“Meadow Magic is one of the best horses I’ve ridden in a race, also Red Barrell and Storm Crossing. Igugu is the best I’ve ridden in work,” says the youngster who grew up in Westonaria. He’s ridden 65 winners as an apprentice.
Tshwaro says that senior jockey Robbie Fradd is his role model and that he’s been privileged to work in the De Kock stable. “Mr De Kock has been very good to me, I’ve learnt a lot from him and I love riding for the stable.”
Mike and his team of assistants are known for joking around with the apprentices who ride work for them, never passing by opportunities to crack jokes at their expense.
Mike quipped: “Tshwaro’s a good lad and we enjoy having him around, especially since we discovered that he’s a ringer for the alien ‘Paul’ from the science-fiction movie of the same name. They may be the same entity for all we know, the resemblance is quite remarkable. We have a celebrity alien among us and we’re proud!”
One is Tshwaro Appie, the other Alien Paul. Or are they the same entity?