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Cape Jockey Makes New Zealand Debut Today

Today is a dream come true for Brandon May

A brave move by a Cape Town-born jockey to venture to New Zealand sees the determined young man starting the new season with two rides at the Matamata Racecourse today.

The  track and training centre is two kilometres south of the eastern Waikato township of Matamata.

Cape Town-born Brandon May spoke to the Sporting Post this week from the land of the long white cloud, after he was granted his Class A jockey licence only on Wednesday and makes a ‘fresh and satisfying start’ after arriving five months ago in the island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean as a work-rider.

Brandon May is led in on a Kenilworth winner by Justin Vermaak

An excited Brandon told us that he decided on the international move, seeking new opportunities and looking for a fresh start.

“I arrived here on 13th February, just before lockdown and travel restrictions were implemented by the New Zealand government. I was contracted to Kilgraven Lodge.They are a breaking-in centre and I was actually initially under the impression that they were also a racing yard!” he explains.

Brandon admits it was a very different experience from his days of race-riding in the Cape.

“It was a lot different for me, but plenty of fun. And I can truly say I’m a better horseman now. Which I believe will make me a better jockey. I spent more than 4 months breaking in horses and helping wherever necessary. I really worked hard!” he says with pride.

Once lockdown was eased, Brandon set out to pursue his passion and try and get into race riding – something he admits was always his goal leaving South Africa.

“It was a real journey finding the right trainer! After an interview with Hall of Fame trainer Graeme Rogerson, who trains in partnership with his wife Debbie and granddaughter Bailey – who in 2017 was the world’s youngest trainer – my mind was made up. Mr Rogerson is a well established trainer with lots of horses, and a true professional at everything he does. I can honestly say he was such a godsend! He is such a fair and honest man,” says Brandon emotionally.

Graeme Rogerson – gave Brandon a break

Brandon says that not long after he found himself riding proper track-work again in the Rogerson operation, things moved extremely fast.

“They really pushed for me. I truly owe them plenty of winners to return the appreciation and gratitude for what they have done for me!”

Brandon says that against the odds he stayed true to self-discipline, hard work and never gave up on his goals.

“I stuck resolutely to keeping fit and improving my skills – with the goal of getting my licence. I can thank God for staying with me and helping me keep my faith and self-belief.”

Brandon, who will have his first ride on the 5yo gelding Capellani for the Rogerson yard in the second race on the Matamata card, rode his first winner at Hollywoodbets Scottsville in May 2014 for Kumaran Naidoo.

He had his first ride on 3 November 2013 and is a graduate of the SA Jockey Academy.

Good luck, Brandon!

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13 comments on “Cape Jockey Makes New Zealand Debut Today

  1. Denwor Olhson says:

    So proud of you Brandon. Glad for everything GOD has taken you through to be who you are now, but even better where GOD is taking you. Just keep the faith. Remain humble and NEVER let go of GOD. Your best is yet to come.
    Pastor O. All the way from Cape Town South Africa.

  2. Geoff Clark says:

    Best of luck Brandon May, keep up the hard work, reach for the stars but keep those feet firmly on the ground.

  3. Telvern says:

    Absolutely a proud uncle I am,,,,, we wish you all the best on your dabut Brandon and we know that you will continue to thrive

  4. Raymond Pillay says:

    Good luck Brandon and may ride manner winners . Keep the Faith and you will reach your goal.

  5. Warwick says:

    Hey Brandon. Im glad that tge doors have opened for you there. You are a brave young man. All the success with every endeavour. Continue to make us proud

  6. Keith sing says:

    Brandon I am so happy your licence was granted I hope have a good time with Roderick and the gang will see after travel restrictions are lifted

  7. SAMANTHA says:

    Hi Brandon really proud, proud of you may god continue to guide you in all you do.🤗🤗

  8. Lushan says:

    Well done hope you do well in your adventures.

  9. Sam says:

    I always knew… everything will happen in Gods perfect timing…. you deserve this love, So super proud of you. Love you always and forever ♥️

  10. Jay-Tee says:

    YESSSSSSSS !!!!!!!!!! You were born for this. Best wishes and great success Brandon

  11. John says:

    I wish u all the best Brandon, well done boy

  12. Hamisj Stewart says:

    Well done Brandon.Appreciate the fairness of your new boss .We all know how cruel this game is to so many of you working your but off only for others to get the rides and they too get beaten

  13. Ingie says:

    Brandon stay focused and positive. Life sometimes throws challenges be strong.
    Proud of you my boy!

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