Winning Form rider Richard Fourie surged into a commanding lead at the top of the national jockey log and increased his lead to 35 over nearest challenger Muzi Yeni, with a five-timer at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Wednesday.
While the cucumber-cool Fourie doesn’t always appear externally to be pushing himself hard, the dream goal of the massive R1 million incentive offered by Hollywoodbets at the start of the term for the first jockey to surpass the long standing Anthony Delpech benchmark of 334 winners in a season, will remain in his sights.
The move away from the Snaith Racing team has changed Fourie’s working landscape, but he maintains a consistent win strike-rate of over 20% for a wide spectrum of yards. He has now ridden 101 winners and we are ‘only’ four months into the season.
He enjoyed an armchair ride on Gath Puller’s True Trojan in the second race, as he steered the favourite to a comfortable victory over topweight Rock Fall with Calvin Habib riding a clever front-running race, but to no avail.
Andrew Harrison suggests that Summerveld based Tony Rivalland only tends to strike when his iron is red hot and with Fourie’s help he banged home two for the stable.
Spirit Of Abraham made a winning debut in the first leg of the PA, although it was a close call.
None were giving an inch from the start with short-priced favourite Teatime Tipple matched in the early exchanges by Railroad and Specmagic with Spirit Of Abraham also in close attendance.
There was only a jump separating three of them at the line but Fourie got the best of exchanges, Spirit Of Abraham just getting his nose in front. One for those looking to add to their notebook maybe fourth-placed Send Me who was all at sea but doing his best work late.
Rivalland and Fourie were back to meet the cameras in the next with Celtic Beauty given a champions ride. Rivalland had indicated in his earlier post-race interview that he thought the filly was smart and so it proved.
Drawn widest, Fourie was forced to drop her out in the early congestion and she appeared to be well out of her ground turning for home. However, Fourie eased her through the traffic and the daughter of Vercingetorix, owned by one of the doyens of the turf, Mary Liley, carved her way through the field to win a smart race.
Mrs Liley owned the mare Killer Woman, also trained by Rivalland and now boarded at Klawervlei Stud. The first foal was ‘useless’ according to Liley but she looks to have bred a plum in Celtic Beauty.
Six horses crossed the line in a desperately tight finish to the seventh with the judges unable to separate Fourie’s mount Kupholiwe and Lunarcam under Sporting Post-sponsored Tristan Godden, dead-heating for first with heads separating Donquerari, B Fifty Two, Rapid Fire and Winter Baron. A handicapper’s delight and a punter’s nightmare.
Fourie takes 8 rides on the Fairview Friday card, with former multiple East Cape champion Greg Cheyne engaged to ride 6.