A power fault led to the abandonment of the final race of the Hollywoodbets Greyville racemeeting on Friday.
But not before Sporting Post-sponsored jockey Athandiwe Mgudlwa rode a cracking 190-1 double to maintain the momentum of his best season to date.
One of the most progressive riders in the country booted home Iron Bark (9-2) for Gareth van Zyl and Flying The Star (16-1) for Corinne Bestel, in the fourth and fifth race, respectively.
More focus and better support, which comes from riding winners and increased confidence levels, have seen the 31 year old Athandiwe ride 55 winners this term.
And with just over two months left of the season the former Daveyton schoolboy has set his sets on achieving 80 winners by the time the sun sets on 31 July.
On Friday afternoon he was presented with an incentive bonus cheque of R15 000 for reaching the 50-winner mark in what is his maiden season as a Sporting Post-sponsored rider.
“This is much appreciated and I wish to thank my sponsors, Sporting Post. Wearing that cap with the number of winners showing keeps us striving to go one better every race. I have many people to thank for the help and assistance, including trainer Gareth van Zyl who has supported me and always been a man of his word. Then that great jockey Anton Marcus has been a mentor and a source of technical help and inspiration.There are many others! Having the support of top trainers does so much for the confidence,” he added.
Athandiwe ironically broke the Gr1 ice early on in his career, courtesy of a pick-up ride after Glen Hatt was stood down.
The Charles Laird trained and Markus Jooste-owned Normanz was a 16-1 chance in the Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint in May 2014.
But under a cracking ride, the son of VAR stormed to victory to beat Red Ray (Anton Marcus) and Whiteline Fever (Piere Strydom) on a massive day.
Can he give us another Gr1 before the season is over – maybe at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on the big speed day on Saturday 3 June?
“I’d love that, but it’s all about securing the rides. Believe me I am trying!” he laughed.
Interestingly, the Pietermaritzburg track has been a happy hunting ground for the man some call ‘Ant’.
It was at Hollywoodbets Scottsville in February 2011 when the then wide-eyed youngster became the first apprentice to win all four legs of the Jackpot since the legendary Michael Roberts did the same, almost 40 years earlier!
Ant also rode his first winner at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on 3 September 2009. Saddled by Garth Puller, Dream Model shed her maiden at 33-1. It was his 30th ride.
It’s been a long road and things are looking up 16 years after he arrived at the SA Jockey Academy in the same class as Grant van Niekerk, JP van der Merwe, Gareth Wright and Tshwaro Appie.