Townsville jockey Denicious Smith has two big reasons to celebrate after winning the Townsville Amateur Cup at Cluden Park on Sunday.
Firstly, it was his biggest win in Australia since migrating from South Africa five years ago.
And, secondly, he will receive citizenship status in a ceremony on December 13.
Denicious joined the SA Jockey Academy intake of January 1997 alongside Billy Jacobson, Corne Orffer and MJ Byleveld.
He landed the Cup on A$61 outsider Higher Love for Townsville part-owner and trainer Maree Young.
On Saturday, Smith spent more than 15 hours in a car travelling to and from Julia Creek where he had five rides.
The 43-year-old Smith has ridden in eight different countries before he migrated to Australia and began work at Ballarat and rode in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia before moving to Townsville.
His easy-going nature and work ethic has made him popular with local trainers and more recently in the western centres of Mount Isa, Richmond, Julia Creek and Cloncurry.
He recently won at Richmond on the Matthew McGuire-trained Collombatti and travelled with the young up-and-coming trainer on Saturday.
Smith was successful on rejuvenated nine-year-old Higher Love at Home Hill recently and has formed a winning association with the veteran galloper.
“He’s my favourite horse at the moment,” Smith said.
“He gives his all and I was always confident of being in the finish of the Cup after a trouble-free run throughout. I sometimes ride him in track work.
“Normally, I ride 16 or 18 of a morning. I have received a lot of support from the local trainers but when I don’t have commitments locally I go out west because trainers are always looking for jockeys and it’s better financially to have four or five rides there than only one or two.”
Smith met his fellow South African partner in Townsville where she is a schoolteacher.
“We simply love Townsville because of the weather mainly with the beaches close by and the casual lifestyle,” Smith said.
A natural lightweight who doesn’t have to diet or waste to ride at 54kg, Smith is hopeful of riding more winners over the summer months.
He plans to head to Cairns on Friday and then to Pentland’s annual Cup meeting on Saturday.
- Racing Queensland