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‘Jockey Talent Gap Is Wide’ – Trainer

Bling gets thumbs up as he rides his first winner of season

S’manga Khumalo

Gauteng trainer St John Gray has never been a man to mince his words. Speaking after S’manga Khumalo had scored a hat-trick on the Announce mare Last Girl Standing at Turffontein on Wednesday, the seasoned trainer lamented the ‘gap’ between the top jockeys and the rest.

“The top stables really enjoy such an advantage having the services of top jockeys like S’manga Khumalo. The difference between riders like him and the rest of them is enormous. They just do the right things. It makes all the difference. I know they won’t like me saying this, but it’s a fact,” he said.

Khumalo relinquished his SA title last season and ended in fifth place with 143 winners.

After winning once in 24 starts, the Dempers Stud bred 5yo Last Girl Standing made it 4 wins in 27 starts in the MR 62 1200m Handicap (F&M). She cost R45 000 at the National 2yo Sale and is out of the unraced Casey Tibbs daughter, Champion Tibbs.

St John  Gray raced the winner’s sire, the chestnut Announce. The son of National Assembly out of You’re My Lady by Roberto, was a winner of 4 races  and placed 7 times over 1200m-1600m. He is a full-brother to another Graystone Stud-owned stallion, Sarge.

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13 comments on “‘Jockey Talent Gap Is Wide’ – Trainer

  1. Nico Botha says:

    Good horses makes good jockeys.It is easy to put jockeys on the top of the log if they get the best horses to ride.Check their stats of their rides and you will find that the majority of the wins is in the tpo 3- 5 horses in the betting.Mr Gray must get his facts right before making asumtions that most of the jocks are average riders.Put these so-called top jocks on outsiders and see how good they are.Nico Botha

    1. ANDREW BON says:

      Gauteng trainer St John Gray has never been a man to mince his
      words. Speaking after S’manga Khumalo had scored a hat-trick on
      the Announce mare Last Girl Standing at Turffontein on Wednes-
      day, the seasoned trainer lamented the ‘gap’ between the top
      jockeys and the rest.
      “The top stables really enjoy such an advantage having the
      services of top jockeys like S’manga Khumalo. The difference be-
      tween riders like him and the rest of them is enormous. They just
      do the right things. It makes all the difference. I know they won’t
      like me saying this, but it’s a fact,” he said.

      Andrew Bon writes objectively. This is the same trainer who scratched his horse from the Jockeys international, when another Top Jock was stood down and the only available rider was S’Manga Khumalo. “Singe, you know only too well how times change.”

  2. gavin says:

    well said nic… put anton marcus on a bad horse and he will not win on thoose

    1. James George says:

      Put Anton Marcus on a bad horse and he will be priced up 1st,2nd or 3rd favourite.

  3. Paulo says:

    Unfortunately for those who live in Utopian type worlds, St.John Gray is 100% on the button. As much as we can appreciate the ability of all, the fact remains that the top guys are top for a reason. If that reason is quality of ride, the quality is handed out to those rated best to perform on them. Simple as.

    1. ANDREW BON says:

      Just remeMber this is the same Singy who scratched his horse from the Jockeys international meeting at Turffontein, when Anton Marcus was unable to take up his engagement. Who was the obvious replacement as the reserve. S’Manga Khumalo. Food for thought methinks.

      1. Preston says:

        (no malice intended) Andrew, you are missing the point, St Gray was debating the point on the gap that exist between Jockeys. In my humble opinion and with no disrespect to S’Manga Khumalo, Anton Marcus is a far superior jockey having ridden winners locally and abroad. Anton Marcus has an established tangible brand name whilst Mr Khumalo is still in the process of establishing his brand name. St Gray realised that a gap did exist at the Jockey International and took a prudence decision to scratch his horse. You are making this to be about S’Manga Khumalo instead of “pecking order” based on expertise and outright talent and in the process invariable agreeing with St Gray Assertions.

  4. perd says:

    hey mr ed see you dont put my comment in about whipping specialist khumalo now i also understand why not good for the sport stuff the horse i put praises in where it deserves it but now true colours are showing lucky i dont have to suck up to anybody just wont let whippers ride my horses

    1. Editor says:

      Yes Perd – ’90 percent of horses he rides etc …’ – that was unsubstantiated

  5. John e says:

    A good jockey can improve a horse by about 3 lengths compared to an inferior jockey so I totally agree with SJG,s comments and at least he has the guts to tell it like it is. Great respect to you Andrew but as Preston says you are missing the point and dont let personal feelings get in the way of the truth. Perd, who won the trainers championship and who was his main jockey? If he whips the horses as much as you says he does he would be banned for a year so thats rubbish. The best jockeys get the best rides as they have proved themselves. will miss Striker when he retires as he is the Champion of champions. Thats my personal opinion Preston. 🙂

  6. qflo says:

    MARCUS being a better rider than SK not for me but this is just my humble opinion. GO pls watch the last race 06 August 2017 and see how a horse from dlaw nine ridden wide when there was a slot, and then from being a jock known to wait too long he shoots way to early. I mean really. Hits the front like it’s race over horse from Champion stable doesn’t run a place I mean this is after all our studies, cash, down closing my treble and I get a Shucks ride. No no no that’s my last pls go and watch (n yes yes yes I am crying from my pocket as I don’t play with stones. MR GRAY SO SO RIGHT BUT I ALSO REMEMBER HIM AFTER SCRATCHING HORSE SAYING NO SUITABLE JOCK AVAILABLE N IMAGINE THE GUY SK had won him 2 Gr1s but was not good enough to ride his FrankeI. I mean serious, that was very naughty at the time….Truth be told I was not forced to back that jock but I really felt he would be way good enough to get this horse that had a strong winning chance to at worst to place 4th my bad I was so so wrong never again next time I will pass. I DO BLADE MYSELF

  7. James George says:

    Karl Zechner had an 8% strike rate for 2016/2017 season.At Turffentein on 6/7/ 2017 Zechner had four rides .He finished unplaced on three and won on one
    Chase Maujean had a strike rate for 2016/2017 season of 6%.On the same day he had seven rides.He finished unplaced on five,finish 3rd on a 18/1 shot and won on one. .Here is the ‘strange thing’
    The horses that Karl and Chase won on and placed on were to be ridden by S’Mango Khumalo,
    So how can this be explained?.

  8. qflo says:

    I would gladly like to shed some light on this so called mystery. FIRSTLY I would like to state that I do believe in the horse, being the biggest source responsible for the win, however as you climb the ladder it does get easier like driving a car, to take off is difficult when learning then it get easier as you select from 1, 2 ,3 so on. I have watched and followed Bling’s career way before he was brought on board by the bigger yards an I cashed up with 50/1 place bets but I have to state. Smunga does not have no family connected to races who wer able to pull strings or make some calls he did all the advertising on top of the so called inferior horses as does Muzi by winning Grade 1s at big odds on the less fancied horses. So clearly the professional people in the game(Tarry/Chris) responded positively to his great rides, sometimes I am sure he sent them to the second box with their bred in the blue champions. The rest is History he took the opportunity and hasn’t looked back since but my point is he worked hard on top of the ordinary 1 to get to the bred in the purples where he is now, in most jobs the higher you go the easier it becomes although you earn more this is life esp in this GAME.Yes he does ride good horses but he first had to show case his a game changer when need be….not by doing anything else by riding like a professional my man. I do hope I helped you solve the mystery!!!

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