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Jockeys – Who Was Our Greatest?

A fun poll initiated by Snaith Racing

Snaith Racing’s fun public poll asking ‘Who is the greatest South African Jockey of all time?’ has attracted plenty of interest.

Jockeys are always an emotive debate.

We all have our favourites, and there are some colourfully dogmatic opinions posted on the Snaith Racing and Sporting Post Facebook pages.

The stats show that on Saturday morning at around 11h30  Michael Roberts leads Jeff Lloyd and Piere Strydom.

There were many interesting comments – including one from this season’s hottest emerging talent in dual Gr1 winning trainer,Adam Marcus.

He said: “Just spoke to my Dad, Basil, and he is of the opinion that Bert Abercrombie was the greatest jockey he has ever ridden against both locally and internationally.”

So that’s a curved ball from one of the nominees!

Jamaican Music. Won the July in 1976 under the late Bert Abercrombie.- nominated by Basil Marcus

The Snaith’s poll listed eight great riders:

Tiger Wright

Piere Strydom

Basil Marcus

Jeff Lloyd

Michael Muis Roberts

Anton Marcus

Felix Coetzee

Douglas Whyte

There are a few we could think of that could make the list in a canter.

Please click on the link below and vote:

Have your say

The poll closes on Sunday evening.

Have Your Say

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146 comments on “Jockeys – Who Was Our Greatest?

  1. Steve Reid says:

    Not unlike comparing the abilities of racehorses from different eras and trying to proclaim who was the greatest, the debate about who our greatest jockey was comes down to opinion. All the jocks listed were/are champions in their own right. My vote for GOAT would go to Muis Roberts and its based on his winning the British flat racing title in 1992 against great adversity. It is my opinion that this was far more difficult than winning the Hong Kong title.

  2. DEAN DEMONT says:

    The list can go on and on I suppose, unfortunately thievery and corruption puts a dampner on naming the greatest of all time….. I understand we can all be grandstand jockeys, but there are some rides that are in every sense of the word,”SHOCKING”.. Whether it’s just coincidence or blatant “hooking”, all these guys are top class in their own right.. my 1.. 2..3
    1 = Jeff Lloyd
    2 = Michael Muis Robert’s
    3 = Anton Marcus

  3. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey….My top 10 Jocks in no particular order that I would go to war with..Bartie Leisher.. Weichong Marwing…Gerald Turner…Muis Roberts..Rooi’s Fourie…Felix Coetzee…Robbie Sham…Jeff Lloyd…Luke Ferraris…Pierre Strydom..Reserve 1 Basil Marcus 2 Rhys Van Wyk….What a unbelievable squad…World Class

  4. Nishen Kishoon says:

    No Delpeche on the list:(:(:(

  5. Michael Jacobs says:

    What has Luke Ferraris achieved to put him amongst the greatest jockeys of all time?

    But then again, this (*edited) thought Hawwaam was the greatest horse of all time, so don’t read too much into his list of the greatest jockeys

  6. Leon Smuts says:

    Some super jocks that haven’t made the list yet is Garth Puller, Freddie MaCaskill, Stephen Jupp, Mark Sutherland and even Andrew Fortune. Guess the question will always be whether we only look at performance and achievements or do we include ability. With limited opportunities Fareed Anthony also did really well.

    1. Editor says:

      Marty Schoeman, Raymond Rhodes, Johnny Cawcutt, Stanley Amos

  7. Donald says:

    Top Ten : 1st : Michael Roberts 2nd : Dougie Whyte 3rd : Jeffry Lloyd 4th : Felix Coetzee 5th : Tiger Wright 6th : Charlie Barends 7th : Gerald Turner 8th : Bartie Leisher 9th : Anthony Delpech 10th : Marty Schoeman.

    I have not considered existing riders as their records are not as yet complete.

    Steve , do not forget that Muis won 11 South African jockeys titles and his record as the best that South Africa ever produced speaks for itself. If a poll was held as to who was the best I would be very surprised if he would not win by the proverbial street !

  8. Bill Prestage says:

    Hurrah Mr Editor for including Johnny Cawcutt Definitely one of the greatest Any horse any distance from

  9. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…MJ just in case I never get the chance to mention it 10 years down the line…It’s called Vison…I loved to see your list puppet

  10. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Mr Ed I completely forgot about Martin Schoeman,,wow well done for mentioning MS…it’s crazy what we are dealt with barring 5 Jocks

  11. Pops says:

    Whatabout John Gorton?

  12. Mikesack says:

    Michael Roberts remains the greatest of all times.
    I would include Big Race Bert Hayden in the top 4 of the all-time greats, his record of 3 July wins and a few places too, 5 Met wins, a few Queens Plate wins, several Guineas and Derbies wins, Gold Cup win and a host of other feature race wins makes an impressive CV. He wasn’t a product of the SAJA.
    Anton Marcus, Pierre Strydom, Jeff Lloyd, Basil Marcus, Felix Coetzee, Doug Whyte all go in the top 10.

  13. What about Anton Marcus, Garth Puller, Anthony Delpech , Mark Khan and even Andrew Fortune.

  14. Rian says:

    Mine so far are
    M Roberts
    G Puller
    P Strydom
    Johnny Cawcutt
    Bert Abercrombie
    B Marcus
    S Amos
    Raced most of my life in Cape Town so can’t really comment on JHB and Durban until TV coverage in 90s

  15. Brett says:

    “Muis The Ace” was the best!!! Remember him winning on a horse called Floral Slipper for Brain Cherry at Scottsville years ago. Great ride and I won money too!! Also the Match race on Northern Princess – brilliant ride and finally Scarlet Lady in the old Gilbey stakes in the early 80’s.

    Great Memories.

  16. Joao says:

    This is such an easy list to compile and again the best has been ignored.

    1: Bartie Leisher

    then the rest.

  17. Gary Turf says:

    Muis Roberts ,Andrew Fotune ,Piere Strydom
    In no particular order.
    Then you can start debating who is 4th best!

  18. Fred says:

    Johnny McCreedy ??

  19. Leon Smuts says:

    I recognise the names but only saw a glimpse of Raymond Rhodes towards the end of his career. Some very good jockeys,we have certainly been blessed in SA with quality riders.

  20. Seattle Slew says:

    As a country, we’ve produced some truly great riders and, in no particular order, I would consider Lloyd, Coetzee, Strydom, both Marcuses, Whyte, Delpech, Neisius and FaydHerbe among the jockeys who have really impressed me over the years. (I can only speak from the early 80s onwards).

    Then there’s my personal favourite, one of the greatest all-round horsemen SA has produced: Garth Puller. No other jockey could pull off those late flying finishes as he did. I’m thrilled to see him doing so well as a trainer.

    Having considered all these great names, though, if I have to stick my neck out for the GOAT, then I have no hesitation in naming Michael Roberts. 11 jockey titles while competing against rivals of the highest skill and class in SA. Then his exploits in the UK.

    But his most mind boggling achievement was riding 203 winners in the days when there were only two, sometimes three meetings a week. In those days, one could win the title with around 150-160 wins which would be considered a very good haul. To break the 200 barrier in that era was unthinkable.

  21. Fred says:

    Also, excellent heavyweights: George Patmore; Basil Lewis. Lightweights like Duncan Alexander

  22. Graeme Hawkins says:

    Over the past 42 years since I started commentating in 1978 I have seen many great jockeys but I honestly believe that Bert Abercrombie was the best. For sheer power and drive in a finish I would have to side with Johnny Cawcutt and Anton Marcus.

  23. Michael Jacobs says:

    Mark Khan

  24. Gary says:

    CHARLIE BARENDS

  25. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Michael Roberts on this list …. Multiple SA champ, even as an Apprentice + British champion. Bonus, KZN 🤟

    Frankie, have you taken your meds today buddy… Luke ahead of Anton ? LoL

    I watched Banana Boys winning their first Curry Cup. Naas said it’ll take another 100 yrs to win it again😅 Cheeky !

    Take care All 👍

  26. Mac Naidoo says:

    To only Striker Strydom followed by Muis

  27. Dylan says:

    Michael Roberts was no doubt our greatest ever jockey.. his feats in SA and then in the UK were unmatched. When I worked there I rode with top jockeys in the morning and they all said that he was the most difficult to bear in a finish, he always found more on his mounts. Personally, I found Jeff Lloyd and Anton Marcus to be unrivaled in SA when they rode for me.

    1. Editor says:

      Glyn Schofield rode your big one, Dylan?

  28. Joe Soma says:

    A great topic to discuss. This is my humble opinion as there have been many great jockeys in my decades of racing.

    1. Gerald Turner
    2. Muis Roberts
    3. Anton Marcus
    4. James Maree/ Raymond Rhodes
    5. Jeff LLoyd
    6. Johnny McCreedy
    7. Martin Schoeman
    8. Garth Puller
    9. Bartie Leisher
    10. Anthony Delpech

    Ones that were unlucky not to make my top 10 list, but were brilliant.
    Bertie Hayden
    Kevin Shea
    Felix Coetzee
    Bernard Fayd’herbe
    S’manga Khumalo
    Weichong Marwing
    Piere Strydom

    I unfortunately never saw the best of Johnny Cawcutt and Bert Abercrombie as they were Cape jocks and we didn’t have the privilege of TV in those days.

    1. Editor says:

      Interesting Gerald Turner on top, Joe
      We are all much younger than you, so dont remember him 🙂

      Sean Cormack, Glyn Schofield, Gary Verne

  29. Chene Adele Fisher says:

    I don’t think we will ever see another like Lloyd… So I give him the 1st , 2nd and 3rd

  30. Cecil Pienaar says:

    No local racing, No Super Rugby, so replays of old finals

    Now this article, yip, we”ll all have our favorites

    In my top 10 will also be Weichong Marwing, Anthony Delpech and Bartie Leisher, plus 7 of the 8 in the article.

  31. Nicolin says:

    I thought this list was for greatest jockeys of all time.

    Luke Ferraris lol

    In that case, can i say my son, who’s going to be a great Jockey in 10 years time?

    List of greats, not potential

    1. Editor says:

      Your son is doing well, Nicolin!

  32. Hilton witz says:

    Michael roberts by far the most complete jockey i have ever seen followed by striker strydom the most naturally gifted and balanced rider …next would be antony delpech who never gets the accolades he deserves and i would add robbie sham as well

  33. Darren says:

    Rhys Van Wyk , marginally ahead of Robbie Fradd.

  34. Selwyn Elk says:

    Every one of the jockeys mentioned fully deserve there accolades, but I must agree with Fred, that as a horseman Johnny McCreedy has always been regarded as one of the very best in the last 50 years together with Charlie Barends

  35. DavidS says:

    Joe Soma got the top two correct from the 70’s onwards,

  36. Rudi says:

    Only one champ striker. Then wayne agrella in 2nd .

    1. Editor says:

      Willie Uys
      Paddy Mcgivern

  37. Shanil says:

    My top jock is definitely Karis Teetan. Some top jocks had Ferraries to just point in the right direction to win from the big stables. Karis was an appie here and his riding ability was shown on all the bones he got to ride. Winning at big prices and getting In the places zero chance horses. I remember a Greyville night meeting in particular where he rode a horse to win for James Goodman Who was more shocked than the on course punters. He shows his stint in SA was no fluke with him riding winners overseas week in and week out.

  38. Larry Kreel says:

    STRYDOM

  39. Joe Soma says:

    Mr Ed’- short heads between Gerald Turner and Muis Roberts. They were two of the most beautifully balanced jockeys and they had all the attributes that you would want in a top jock. Great form studiers, judgement of pace, stick use, intelligence, fearless and best judges- when they told you to have a bet, 9/10 times you collected.
    I remember Muis’s agent- Lou Tankel- tipped us lots of winners.

  40. Harold says:

    Muis Robert is the GOAT for me on his achievements in GB.

  41. Deon says:

    what about Jimmy Anderson best balance and hands In the game .all depended o ink level lol

  42. Joao says:

    Its hard to imagine what could and would have happened but the following 2 names were lost pretty young and oozed ability.

    Gerrit Viljoen
    Warren Bailie

    SA has been blessed with many wonderful riders. Todays crop is slightly weaker. Hopefully the glory days will return again some day.

  43. Selwyn Elk says:

    Muis Roberts was the first jockey in Natal to have an agent, a personal friend of mine , Pat Guilfoyle, who has sadly passed away since . They formed a dynamic partnership in the 70’s with some really smart sorts including Bold Tropic, Rule by The Sword, Kruger Rand and of course one of Muis‘s all time greats, Sledgehammer

  44. Gary Turf says:

    Hello Everyone
    Beautiful Jhb storm
    I’ve been in Racing since 1975 so cant really include anyone before that time

    1.Muis the Ace
    2.Striker P Strydom
    3.Andrew manne Fortune
    4.GT
    5.Anton Marcus
    6.Felix Coetzee
    7.Rhys the handbrake Van Wyk
    8.Raymond Rhodes
    9.Jeff Lloyd
    10.James Maree/Bartie Leisher/Basil Marcus

  45. Anthony says:

    In a Tab News article dated the 25th July 2012 on Bennie Little:

    “Ask Benny to compare racing today to the old days and he exclaims, “Nothing’s improved!’’ But press him just a little and he concedes that much tighter policing of the game has been of considerable benefit, while training facilities are also greatly improved.

    However, he isn’t complimentary about modern-day jockeys and the fact that they are no longer required to ride work every day. “Today they sit on their backsides; provide no feedback to trainers.’’

    Of the current crop, he rates Anton Marcus most highly.

    The finest he ever saw was Cocky Feldman. “He was poetry in motion. A small man, with broad shoulders, it seemed like he was lifting a horse and carrying it over the line.’’

    Benny never won a Gold Cup, but did run second three times in the country’s premier marathon event – to be contested again this weekend. So he knows how to navigate 3200m around Greyville.

    “The secret is to be well placed, but not making the pace. Let others do the donkey work. In the straight, try to get a clear run. With such a long race you don’t want a tiring horse to have to check in the run-in. Don’t try to weave your way through.’’

    A lesson from an old master for Saturday’s young contenders!”

    Big race Joe Byrnes – who Anton Marcus rode his first winner for as an apprentice when Joe trained for a short period agreed with Benny on both accounts with regards the best jockeys. Although It is difficult comparing sportsmen of different eras, South Africa has been blessed with some brilliant jockeys that have competed around the world with distinction.
    i

  46. Trevor Smith says:

    Memories, sadly my era were late 70’s onwards so cannot comment prior to that – in my “dodgy” order : 1. Muis Roberts 2. Felix Coetzee 3. Piere Strydom 4. Garth Puller 5. Bartie Leisher . I am also probably biased because i won the most money following these guys. Have a great saturday all.

  47. Joao says:

    I would like to add another snit bit of information.

    For years I was laughed at when I said how I underrated a certain Cape Based 4th place running jockey was and guess what NOT 1 person has mentioned him. The “greatest: at moving his right hand back and forth without striking a horse whilst at the same time running on into 4th on a 3/10 certainty.

  48. Rudi says:

    You soma best balance striker by far even andrew fortune mentioned it before.

    1. Editor says:

      Many have their day in the sum.
      Some have the natural flair, others have that and get the breaks with the right stables
      Random thoughts…Peter Sieg, Andre Hoffman, Andre Miller, Nicky Matthews, Derek Martin, Herbie Lasker – hardworking Deon Sampson
      The late Andre Du Preez was top-class
      The late Marlon Butler, Bennie Norton

  49. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Cecil and Nicolin just for the records Our Great Lord blessed me with 3 Gifts…No 1 is that I can turn R1 into R2… No 2 Our Lord gave me a set of eyes that’s so powerful that i can see into future and trust me that’s not difficult to see in this field,, my reason for naming Luke Ferraris is for the simple reason to show you guy’s way in advance what i’m on about when it comes down to being a champion,, not if but or maybe Luke will be a Super Star and currently he’s not far behind,, and why i mention it now is that I live a very quick and crazy life style and might not have the opportunity in the next (few) years to mention it so I thought I’ll do it when I posted my 1st post..No 3 Our Lord gave me a set or ears so deadly that I can hear a pin drop in the desert…I thank the Lord each and every day for the great Gifts he’s blessed me with…

  50. Presgane says:

    I don’t think I will ever see better than Lloyd…
    In my opinion he takes the 1st 5 spots

  51. Coenie says:

    The godfather Roy Culling and Tobie van Booma

  52. Firoz Khan says:

    Pierre Strydom in my opinion is the best I’ve seen in south africa Pierre has ridden for big stables as well as the smaller trainers and still achieved 5000 winners which is a milestone if we go back to the ride on jj the jet plane no pierre no jj the jet plane no pierre no pomodoro

    1 Pierre Strydom
    2 Anthony Delpech
    3 Weichong Marwing
    4 Anton Marcus
    5 Richard Fourie

    These are the jockeys of my era as a owner and punter

    In my opinion these jockeys were born to fit in the saddle

  53. Roderick says:

    1. Robbie Fradd
    2. Jeff Lloyd
    3. Anthony Delpech
    4.Barend Vorster
    My top 4

  54. Gavin says:

    Frankie.. You do not understand the meaning of great…. Luke Ferraris seriously.. You are insulting these great jockies.. You have no clue chief..

    Bartie leisher
    Raymond Rhodes
    Garth puller
    Jeff lloyd
    Basil marcus

    Theese are great jockies… I am sure Frankie would disagree..

  55. Jay August says:

    Frankie, hopefully you are not setting up another Hawwaam pandemic. The SP commentariat are very susceptible to any form of communicable disease.

    But, I think you may be right this time. The kid looks like he has something.

  56. jc lee ching says:

    Dougie Whyte, champion jockey in Hong Kong, THIRTEEN YEARS IN A ROW!!!

  57. WILLIAM MILKOVITCH says:

    I wonder which jockey/s moaned the least about racing in soft to heavy going ?

  58. WILLIAM MILKOVITCH says:

    Michael Roberts is the only SA jockey to hold the most prestigious Jockey title in the World for a season.

  59. deena says:

    Felix is the all time best
    He was the most consistent
    The rest are all unpredictable
    And unreliable

  60. Pieta says:

    My boxed trifecta….Basil Marcus, Muis Roberts, Doughie White……all fantastic agains the best in the world on a regular basis.
    BTW I see here is a poster that is very close to the LORD….looks like he is the only one to received these gifts…..with his close connections, can he maybe get us a selection from upstairs?

  61. Lizbok says:

    I was only 10 years old when Jamaican Music won the July in 1976. I still remember my late mom saying that there is only one jock that can ride him, and that is Bert Abercrombie. Watched on the telly, and sure enough, from out of the bundle came Jamaican Music with Abercrombie aboard. Mom went horse crazy that day, and myself, well I became an avid lover of the majestic animals and a fan of racing and riding! Is there any chance that there is footage out there of the 1976 July?

  62. Michael Jacobs says:

    I wouldn’t put too much faith in Frankie Zackey ‘s views. He thought Hawwaam was the best horse in the world, and now he touts Luke Ferraris as one of the best riders of all time. Ferraris may well turn out to be a very good jockey, but why be ridiculous and put him in the top 10 all-time list at this stage of his career?

    I think Zackey is an attention-seeker ( and a poor judge of anything related to horse racing)

  63. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Hey Frankie 👍 all in good fun. Luke is a talented young man … My fav young SA star is currently in Japan

    Good Night, stay safe

  64. Preston says:

    Anton Marcus —-> low EQ but an extremely talented and hardworking jockey. Work ethics is extremely high ( maybe striker can learn from Anton Marcus on how to remain relevant )

    My late Dad, would have voted for Basil Marcus . He was the punters friend. Always smiling and extremely High EQ.

  65. Keith Bekker says:

    Lloyd
    Curling
    Robert’s
    Turner
    My top 4

  66. John says:

    Leisher, Strydom, Sham and Lloyd

  67. Ralph Fell. says:

    Most jovial with a phenomenal sense of humour goes to…..drum roll. Harold ‘Squeaky’ Butler.

  68. Sagie Pillay says:

    Brian Deyes was also a good jockey… My top 5… Muis Roberts.. BERT ARBCROMBIE.. Stanley Amos.. Freddie Macaskill.. BRIAN Deyes.

  69. Sherwin says:

    Strydom is Messi
    Anton Marcus is CR7
    Muis is Pele
    Fortune is Maradona

  70. PL.NEL says:

    80’s plus
    Jocks I would not include
    Felix C, Lloyd, Fradd, Voster, Cormack, v Wyk, A M

    Calm as ice – Basil M, Jimmy A, D Whyte, W M

    Horseman – Strydom , Fortune, Garth Puller

    Overall MR

  71. Selwyn Elk says:

    Hi Frankie, reading your post you sound like the Donald Trump of South Africa, what great attributes you possess.

  72. Percy says:

    Jeff Lloyd No 1.

  73. Cecil Pienaar says:

    More great Jockeys that deserve a mention

    Glen Hatt
    Johnny Geroudis
    Karl Neisius
    Mark Sutherland
    PE favorite Gavin Venter

  74. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…MJ yes I did said Hawwaam was the next best thing since Horse Chestnut,,l still stick to my statement I made unfortunately things did not goes his way during the Cape season so stop brining his name every time there’s a discussion you are really making a idiot of yourself move on to another subject if the few bucks you wagered on Hawwaam is still burning the pockets then don’t punt brother..what I find very strange Mr MJ or should I address you as Sir MJ what would make you feel more comfortable ? I see the name Anton Marcus is very popular choice on this panel of discussion i wonder why M J,, is it because he’s ridden lots of maiden winners ? do you think the man was thumb sucking when he said Hawwaam was one of the best he’s sat on… anyway I personally feel you need a few lessons especially once you mentioned Mark Khan as your blue boy,,Mark has always been a good Jockey don’t get me wrong but we talking the cream of jockeys now puppet..

  75. Justice says:

    I am interested in finding out the factors considered when making a call on best as defined. For example Jeff Loyd failed to win a single July, Pierre won 4 even Simanga won the July, 2 championships and a summer cup including grade1s. Antony Marcus and Pierre won tans and tans of grade1s over the guys preferred in the list I looked at so far. WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR ???

  76. Racing Fever says:

    Anthony Delpech
    Jeff Lloyd
    Robbie Hill

  77. Neil Van Vuuren says:

    Dougie Whyte – 13 times Hong Kong Champion… lets be honest no comparison. Yes Muis was brilliant, Pierre, Jeff, Basil, Mj, GT, Bert, Bartie, Anton, Anthony, Jeff…..to name but a few….. but 13 times Honk Kong Champion is something to behold

  78. Jane Baldwin says:

    Having recently worked with Jeff Lloyd on his autobiography The Guv, I can’t imagine that there could be a more inspirational jockey than he was. His achievements and statistics speak for themselves, but what sets him apart is the longevity of his career and his ability to overcome a stroke at the age of 53 and once again ascend to the pinnacle of his sport, breaking Australian records and ending his career as the oldest jockey ever to win an Australian Metropolitan premiership. In the latter part of his career he won prestigious Group 1 raced in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, all as “the South African jockey, Jeff Lloyd.
    A humble champion whose performance on and off the track has promoted South African racing on a global scale.

  79. Singing boy says:

    Basil Marcus.my favorite all time jockey. Rode Model Man to become first ever equine millionaire, among other great horses and riding feats..

  80. Barry Dunnett says:

    What a great article! There were 10 riders that popped up consistently, and for good reason. It shows that this country has produced many very talented riders over a many decades, many of which demonstrated such internationally.

    Jimmy Anderson rode ‘hands and heels’ and I think Andrew Fortune did the same? Brilliant riders indeed, not to be forgotten, either. Felix, I think deserved more votes. That Coetzee/Millard combination is legendary.

    I have tremendous admiration for: Anderson; Fortune; Coetzee; Strydom;the Marcus brothers;Roberts;Lloyd;Hayden; Fradd; Puller;Whyte; Delpech. Gee wizz, the list goes on!

    This country can be proud! Let it continue.

  81. Cliff says:

    To be fair one will need to categorize the jockeys into an Era or time period between let say 70’s or between 1970 to 1980. In my opinion the all time great has to be Michael Robert’s who precedes Basil Marcus. Garth Puller is also in my opinion one of the greats. Bert Abercrombie was certainly one of the greatest gentleman in sport. These gentlemen were also highly professional. As a caddy in the 70’s I also found them to be generous with a great attitude and this will be a factor. I can remember others in that Era who also had a great attitude.

  82. Prasheen harrimohan says:

    I would say1. Michael Roberts. 2 Anton Marcus. 3 Anthony delpech.4 Jeff Lloyd.5 striker.6weichong marwing.7kevin Shea.8 Richard fourie.9 Felix coetzee.10 Johnny geroudis. From my era

  83. Hylton says:

    Greatest of all time especially for his British achievements Michael Roberts.

    Jeff Lloyd not far behind Roberts great hands and judgement.

  84. Jay August says:

    Justice, you are a wise person. Of the 100+ comments here you ask the only valid question. I am sure you will not see my response as it will be drowned in the waterfall of opinion and anecdote.

    Mr Ed, you should run a poll on your website concomitant with these questions and anecdotes.

    Individual opinion is mostly flawed but the crowd often approximates the correct answer.

    1. Editor says:

      Jay, you have a point
      As there is no conclusive first choice

  85. Mike Baigel says:

    Who was the greatest is purely subjective but in no particular order,
    Johnny Cawcutt and Bert Abercrombie were dominant 50 years ago.
    Thereafter Muis Robert’s, The Marcus brothers Basil & Anton, Jeff Lloyd , Felix Coetzee, Garth Puller & Bartie Leischer.
    Today’s jocks couldn’t live with them.

  86. New look says:

    Mighty ‘Muis’ Roberts by a street. Then the rest…… ‘Striker’ Strydom,Charlie Barends, and name your pick.

  87. Michael Jacobs says:

    Lol. This Frankie Zackey is definitely the Donald Trump of South African n racing. He talks about the “cream of the crop” of SA jockeys, yet in the same breath he includes Luke Ferraris! At this stage Mark Khan is well ahead of Ferraris but that may well change in the next 10 years, but let’s see it happen first.

  88. WILLIAM MILKOVITCH says:

    Mr. Ed, your headline is “Snaith Racing’s fun public poll”

    Fun is good, science can be an overload

    1. Editor says:

      True William
      No racing fan passed science at school.

      Jonathan Snaith suggested on Friday that we could share it – he said it’s a bit of ‘fun’ and could be interesting
      It certainly turned out so.
      Jay suggested a poll of all polls to get to the nitty gritty – who really was the greatest?
      We may do that.

  89. Michael Jacobs says:

    On another point, besides the top jockeys in SA, which era had the bravest jockeys in SA?

    If I think back since the 80s when I started playing horses, i don’t recall as many meetings being cancelled as today, due to frivolous reasons. I think maybe one or 2 meetings a year got cancelled nationally, and here in Cape Town during the heart of the Cape winter the odd meeting got cancelled when it really stormed. So clearly the jockeys of yesteryear were much braver compared to the softies of today.

    Muis Roberts rode in the British winter and Felix Coetzee, Jeff Lloyd, Basil Marcus and Doug Whyte competed in the tough overseas arena. So i definitely think the jockeys of yesteryear were tougher, braver and more resilient than tue current crop of softies.

  90. Jay August says:

    “Fun is good, science can be an overload”

    The scientific question is, is “fun” the operative part of that headline or “poll”?

    Sorry to spoil the fun.

  91. PL.NEL says:

    MJ, perhaps you are correct. One has to wonder with so many good jocks of yesteryear how today’s lot would have been able to survive. Biggest difference in riding styles is irons being alot higher today and although some are classic at it like Piggott, AM and Pierre the vast majority look like rag dolls flapping uncontrollably off the horse backs. This is indicative of injuries.
    Well, armchair couch and keyboard critic.

  92. Paul Peter says:

    Definitely Warren Kennedy, he’s an all rounder.

  93. Paul Peter says:

    Definitely Warren Kennedy to be included, he’s an all rounder.

  94. Grim says:

    Shorty De la Rey Martin Scheman Aubrey Zukor Armando Freddi Leon Fernandez and Michael Cave

  95. Without a shadow of a doubt Tiger Wright and Charlie Barends. Those two jockeys could win on a horse that “had no chance” of even coming last!!!

  96. Tiger Wright and Charlie Barends fought out a finish in a 4th race at Turffontein one Saturday afternoon and until today I have never seen a finish like that race. They both literarlly “picked up” their horses to win. The result was the fairest decision…a dead head.

  97. Leonard says:

    I have been racing since the early 70s and we are blessed to have had so many talented riders represent SA. I have read many of the posts regarding who the best jockey was or still is, but i stumbled onto a post by “Frankie” this guy must be a novice at the game or maybe had a R10 each way on Luke Ferraris that convinced him that he is the best. Surely silly comments such as his should not be allowed to be posted and hopefully the editor will get rid of people like him. My opinion Jeff Lloyd and Michael Roberts are two of the greats. I am not going to split them as number 1.
    I really enjoy reading all the posts please lets keep them professional and knowledgeable.
    No offense Mr.Frankie

  98. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Nice compliment Mr Peter. If I had a horse, I would have Warren on it. If he was riding for you, then Greg Cheyne…

    Hoping when they retire their names will be mentioned along with the 8 in this article 👍

  99. Gavin says:

    Censored my view.. What a load of crap.. Allow idiots to post comments but decline to publish mine

    1. Editor says:

      Gavin, this was your last comment received – 18h57 last evening. Try refresh your browser:

      Frankie.. You do not understand the meaning of great…. Luke Ferraris seriously.. You are insulting these great jockies.. You have no clue chief..

      Bartie leisher
      Raymond Rhodes
      Garth puller
      Jeff lloyd
      Basil marcus

      Theese are great jockies… I am sure Frankie would disagree..

  100. Deon Anthony says:

    I have been racing since 1985, owning since 1988 and the names of my favorite jockey’s of my time in no particular order

    Gerald Turner – strong and won many races for my family

    Michael Muis Roberts – World class

    Bartie Leisher – the people’s jockey

    Felix Coetzee – all rounder with balance

    Jeff Lloyd – needs no introduction

    Basil Marcus – great judge of pace over long distance

    Frikkie Vermaak – had the bookies paying me for for a long time riding 4 winners on our horses on a Turffontein meeting in 86
    Ganymede, Gay Tune, Dream Spitit and Record Star

    Garth Puller – clever thinking master

    2 jockey’s that will always be close to my heart:

    Donovan Habib – the best judge to get a horse ready and lined up

    Pierre Strydom – golden hands and is simply the best

    There are many not mentioned on my list but jockey’s that were or are top class

    Gavin Lerena
    Weichong Marwing
    Douglas Whyte
    Sean Cormack
    Rhys Van Wyk
    Robbie Sham
    Anton Marcus
    S’munga Khumalo
    Richard Fourie
    Lyle Huwitson
    Kari’s Teetan
    Nuresh Jaglall
    Callen Murray
    Christie Blom
    Douglas Roper

  101. Jess K says:

    Thanks to Snaith racing and Sporting Post for such a refreshing and oft’ nostalgic thread/article.
    Really enjoyable reading. Would it be possible to find out and publish, with input from readers, as to the whereabouts and current status of these wonderful South African jockeys ? Bearing in mind that some may still be riding and some may have sadly passed.

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Jess, thanks for the positive
      On the ‘where are they now’ – good idea: We will need to do some homework – with Tex Lerena and some of the old school

  102. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Mr Ed is it not all in the fun ? My reason for adding Luke into the picture was all in the fun and yes without a doubt Luke will be one of the most talked about Jockeys in the very near future,, in my opinion he can ride with the best of them at the moment..Now let’s get Leonard’s attention back,just for the record in the early 90s Bookmakers at Bruma had a extremely powerful ring however it was illegal to pay a punter with PD cheques if they won,not on 1 occasion but for a period of about 3 years this went on for…Myself and my good mate David Safi terrorized the living daylights out of bookmakers it became a joke what type of cash was just written off…David was sharp he said Frankie we to give them time to recover and why so is that they could accommodate us for their next 3 to 6 month hiding,, not 1 bookmaker can deny this,, that when they saw us coming they would immediately slam the betting boards closed 😂😂😂 what we gave away in presents to friends and the staff was enough to see them through for months,you car guards were even earning salaries 😂😂😂

  103. JessK says:

    Thanks Editor. Appreciated. Look forward to it.

  104. Joao says:

    Deon makes very valid observations.

    Without a doubt Donavan Habib had a very special skill and is a power person to boot. Great Guy
    Craig Arnold was also a jockey that had the greatest feel and sat on many champions in the mornings.
    james Goodman had a bloke called Ian Lightfoot working for him at one stage and he was another to set one up and work with.

    BUT

    From a punting and putting your head down there was only 1 guy I ever knew that was simply exceptional

    Our record when I 1st moved to the UK was 19 winning bets in a row. He just simply got it spot on. His name was Willie Uys , his transformation of certain stables when he arrived was evident his demons were his downfall.

  105. Rian says:

    Only one mentioned Karl Neisius, and from Durban
    He rode so many winners for Snaiths, not among the Greatest but Damn good
    Thx Ed , it’s was great FUN

    1. Editor says:

      Tks Rian

  106. Donald says:

    My top ten selection is somewhere way back in the posts which have passed over 100 !

    May I take this oppotunity to make mention of the late Gary Verne , a very good jockey and a better human being it would be difficult to find !

    Who knows what he could have achieved as he passed on tragically still very young ?

  107. Aslam Taher says:

    1. M.Roberts, P.Strydom, D.Whyte, J.Lloyd, B.Marcus, A.Marcus, S.Jupp
    2. F.Coetzee, R.Fradd, A.Delpech, G.Hatt, K.Neisius, G.Puller, M.Sutherland, K.Shea
    3. W.Marwing, M.Khan, J.Geroudis, G.Figueroa, G.Schofield, S.Randolph

    The current world-class SA riders are Khumalo, Teetan, Kennedy, Ferrari.

  108. Cameron James says:

    Mention must be made of Grant van Niekerk of the current crop. He has great hands and feel of a horse. He’s a supremely confident and charismatic character. Could be the Frankie Dettori of SA racing. This guy has talent, but needs to ride more than being suspended most of the time.

    His feat on HK shouldnt be taken for granted. Like to compare the other great jockeys from SA in their 1st season stats in HK to his.

    Make no mistake my favorite jockey is a certain Anton Marcus. He in my opinion makes the fewest mistakes and a perfect judge of the conditions on raceday. This guy is the consummate professional. He genuinely trys on every single mount. Will never forget his rides on Glanour Boy and Jay Peg in the Duty Free.

  109. Shanil says:

    Surprising no one mentioned Andrew Fortune . Most beautiful hand riding balance on a horse to perfection.

    1. Editor says:

      He did get an honourable mention, Shanil
      Agree with your observation

  110. Selwyn Elk says:

    Hi Frankie, if you made the bookmakers shiver ,you should have suggested a retainer to stay away, I trust the car guards that looked after your Rolls Royce while you were “murdering” the petrified bookmakers in the tattersalls were well reimbursed. I think I have been in this game a little longer than you- stop living in a dream world my friend

  111. Barry Dunnett says:

    Mr Ed, love the idea of where are they now? And what about the most memorable horses they rode?

  112. Wayne says:

    Look at the stats. Piere Striker Strydom is the greatest of all time. Agged to the fact that he rates as one of the most stylish jockeys to have ever put a leg over a horse.

  113. Donald says:

    Frankie , I have to add to Selwyns comment , I do not know the bookmakers at Bruma but I can assure you that the bookmakers based in what was then know as Natal from the 60s to the 1990s who I did know and sometimes worked for would have not only smiled when they saw you and your mates enter the rooms or the ring on the course but would have given you a stretch on anything you wanted to back and made you feel at home !

    The essence of bookmaking is percentages , layoffs and to make sure any gambling does not form part of your book , in this manner on average it would take 7 favorites on a 9 race card which is a 20 % risk for a bookmaker to make any loss.

    Therefore 80 % of the time the bookmakers walk away with profit no matter who or what is being backed with the possible exception of a bookmaker accepting a monster bet at the off that cannot be laid off but even that would just make an ugly dent in their take of 80 % !

  114. Brendon says:

    Ed,

    In line with Jess K’s suggestion, however less nostalgic but critical to the survival of the industry –

    Would it be possible to find out and publish, with input from readers, as to the whereabouts and current status of THE PHUMELELA EXECUTIVES? Bearing in mind that some may still be SELF ISOLATING TO THE POINT OF INERTIA and some may have sadly passed THEMSELVES IN A RACE TO PUT SOME DISTANCE BETWEEN THEMSELVES AND THEIR “INVALUABLE CONTRIBUTION” TO THE INDUSTRY.

  115. C.Lee says:

    Strydom at his peak was the greatest jockey in the world.
    But he rode too little abroad. Was excellent in HK in 1995 and 1997 and could have been champion if he continued riding there. Did great recently on that little island, but short stint spoiled by an incomprehensible ride on a sure winner and that cost him a severe suspension and fine.

  116. Frankie says:

    Selwyn and Donald I think I know exactly how a bookmaking business works.
    Not all bookmakers play to the same rules.
    Being an ex-bookmaker where myself, my Brother Warren and Derick Flynn held a licence at the Pavillion at Turffontein, I surely understood the bookmaking business.
    I love the part where Selwyn says stop living in a dream world.
    Maybe just maybe Mr Ed could find the recordings of Nico Kritsiotis interviewing Dave Safi from the Tellytrack studios.
    Nico asked David a serious question – are you guy’s fixing racing ? The industry, I presume it was bookmakers Nico was referring to, are claiming that we are fixing racing ? is it true or not ?😂😂😂…
    Selwyn and Donald pity you guys were not around to see it 1st hand where bookmakers would line up like school kids asking for a discount on winning bets 😂😂😂
    Just another quick one – this is something that will stay with me forever…Bookmaker/Owner Henry Mansell owned a horse called Golden Hoard who was apparently prepping for a race that Mike had in mind a few weeks later. Anyway we approached Johnny Peter, who was Raymond Solomons partner, and also a very good friend of Henry Mansell and asked him instead of us running around do you wanna lay us a bar of Golden Hoard.
    He said: “Boys it’s big bet but what I’ll do is if the horse is 4/1 I’ll lay you the whole bet at 5/2.” Anyway it was a done deal.
    I stand to be corrected about pricing but it was somewhere in that region. In the interim JP then called Henry to find out how strong Golden Hoard was.
    JP mentioned to Henry that he’s standing it for a huge amount and would like to see exactly what he should take back and what he should stand it for.
    Anyway Henry said to JP LOUD AND CLEAR “ Send me my present, the horse can’t win 🙈🙈🙈”
    Result? It won in an absolute canter…But the best was a horse called Smart Money winning over a sprint…

  117. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…David just reminded me that our good friend Les Kourie Jnr was also a shareholder in Golden Hoard gee that’s a name that we all remember,,the Kourie family my word what a powerful combination in the bookmaking circle..Safi I must admit your memory box is way better than mine

  118. Leonard says:

    Frankie, you have asked for my attention back, I dont often comment but you seem to have an answer for everything in racing. I agree with Selwyn you are living in a dream world, you went from tipping LF as one of the greats, to being 1 of the biggest punters 3 decades ago, to then being a bookmaker. I dont want to bring up the subject of stud farms, you would probably tell us all you were the best sire in your era.
    Wake up from your dream and come back to reality.

  119. Donald says:

    Hi Frankie , I accept your comments in good faith and admit that I am speaking from a dated position as I have no idea on how present day operations are conducted by these so called bookmakers who you never see the faces of and therefore the personal touch has completely disappeared over the years from my observations of that business that exists today !

    How we got from the headed subject of jockeys to bookmakers just shows you the emotion that is involved in horse racing !

    Stay Safe !

  120. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…All good Donald,,Stay Safe Buddy..Leonard you are spot on about me replying to just about every article that gets posted…suppose living in a dream world has been great and even better know knowing that my dreams were actually turned into reality,,anyway not bad for a dreamer who managed to get you to attention as well as to get you to comment to my post 😂 Cheers from the R10 punter

  121. DEAN DEMONT says:

    Gee wiz, well done to all involved putting this article together. It completely side tracked everyone to the real crisis at hand. End of the day it’s what we needed.. the comments were great, the different view points,and the different stories that came forth. Nevertheless we are all in this together,and the sad part is, nobody really knows who will and is capable enough to pull racing out of the fire. I hope that it’s a competent body,and we can move 5 steps forward,instead of 10 steps back.

  122. Selwyn Elk says:

    Hi Frankie, I read your comment with interest and have no doubt you have had big wins over the years just like many of us have had, it’s not hard to win big money in this game , the hard part is trying to keep it.l hope you have managed to keep some of your big wins you had in Bruma many years ago or maybe a few buildings you may have bought at that time

  123. jay says:

    no bertie hayden….crazy

  124. Andrew Anthony says:

    The Best Of The Best

    Striker Strydom
    Gavin Lerena
    Anton Marcus
    Gerald Turner
    Weichong Marwing
    Basil Marcus
    Anthony Delpech
    Bartie Leisher
    Jeff Lloyd
    Muis Roberts
    Douglas Whyte
    Felix Coetzee

  125. Barry Dunnett says:

    Mr Ed, it would be fantastic to do an article on past bookmakers, coups, where those bookmakers are, with photographs. I think there would be a lot of input .

  126. Chris says:

    Great idea Barry.I commented a bit late on an atrticle mentioning Durban bookmakers like Micheal Ratner,Freeman brothers Morris Vee etc.All special

  127. Pops says:

    Frankie,whether we agree or not with your comments ,we always look forward to reading them.Keep on posting.

    1. Editor says:

      Agree Pops
      Frankie sings it his way 🙂

  128. Cecil Pienaar says:

    And so say most of us Pops … 👍

  129. Pops says:

    And Ed,don’t forget Come Blow Your Horn

  130. Brian Fredericks says:

    Thank you guys there is so many I would like to put first look with no disrespect if Douglas didn’t whent over to Hong Kong he would proof to be beter then All of them he wasn’t given a chance by trainers like most of jockeys still don’t get how ever mine is like Felix Anthony Anton Marcus Andrew Strydom Greg muis Basil remember a jock is only as good as the horse

  131. Firoz Khan says:

    I really agree to Hilton witz comment about anthony Delpech not getting the recognition he deserved anthony was a brilliant jockey and was friendly to the public of which as a punter and owner I did appreciate his natural talent and the respect he gave to the racing public it doesn’t take much to be a professional sportsman and maintain respect to people from my punting perspective we got value on from the odds Anthony rode unlike the way anton Marcus is priced up in Durban and in the early days they way bookmakers priced up pierre strydom f

  132. Charlene says:

    Good evening,
    Would like to enquire if anyone knew Max William Benkwitz who was a jockey in Pietermaritzburg before 1980 i would think. Not sure of the exact years.
    Thank you
    Charlene

  133. Donald says:

    Hi Charlene , I have been horse racing for many years and have never come across the name that you mention ?

    Are you sure Max was not an amateur rider and therefore not a licensed professional jockey as no professional jockey is just based in Pmb. ?

    Hope this information helps a little ?

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