After a 7 week absence, racing fans welcomed the return of popular lightweight jock MJ Byleveld to the saddle on Saturday, 9 September 2017.
The Avontuur-sponsored jock has been on the bench since Wednesday, 19 July 2017, when falling from his mount Fonteyn on the Greyville polytrack. The incident occurred when Honeymoon Cove, ridden by apprentice K Sakayi, over raced, clipping heels with Roy’s Zara and going down on the track. Unfortunately Fonteyn was unable to avoid the stricken horse and went down as well, and Warren Kennedy was also dislodged from Liberty Market.
Fortunately everyone walked away unscathed, with MJ coming off worst with a broken left thumb. “Normally they would just put it in a cast, but I snapped off a little point close to the joint, so they had to put a plate in,” he explains.
Not normally one for taking it easy, MJ luckily had a trip abroad for a friend’s wedding to take his mind off things and once home it was back to the gym, back to morning strings for a week and then back to work last Saturday where MJ took up his usual place at the side of boss Vaughan Marshall at Kenilworth. Wearing Bryn Ressell and Marsh Shirtliff’s Hammie’s silks, he partnered Red Eight to a very solid second place cheque in Kenilworth’s Race 4.
“It’s good to be back,” admits MJ. “Having a holiday is good, but when you’re having a good time at work, it’s even better. I’m born to work, I enjoy it.”
Commenting on the successful partnership he has forged with the Vaughan Marshall string, he comments, “Vaughan Marshall has been very good to me. He’s very loyal and it’s good to get back to normal again. We seem to have some nice babies. It’s still early days, but there are a few that seem to be quite forward, so I’m really looking forward to the season.”