2015 Work Riders Challenge

Final leg will go down to the wire

Charles Ndlovu

Charles Ndlovu – current leader

The Challenge, jointly presented by Phumelela, The Racing Association and the Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust, is staged over three legs, each consisting of a dedicated Workrider’s eight-race meeting.

There is an overall first prize of R20,000 for the rider who accumulates the most points over the three legs, R10,000 for second place and R5,000 for third.  The winner of each of the individual legs also receives R5,000.

Francis Semela

First leg winner, Francis Semela

The first leg of the 2015 Work Riders Challenge was held at the Vaal on 23 October 2014 and Francis Semela landed the R5,000 prize for top rider after booting home two winners, a third and a fourth for 28 points, more more than Calvin Habib who finished the day on 27. Lyle Hewitson rode a double and ended the day in a tie for third with Charles Ndlovu on 25 points.

Hewitson and Ndlovu, who are from KZN and Gauteng respectively, dominated the second leg, held at The Vaal on 3 February 2015. Hewitson rode a memorable four-timer, but Ndlovu scored points in six races and his two winners, three seconds and a third accumulated a massive 46 points. Ndlovu duly collected the R5,000 prize for top rider of the day and found himself six points clear in the overall standings on 71 points.

Lyle Hewitson

Challenger Lyle Hewitson

Hewitson is in second place on 65 points and Semela, who won the Challenge two years ago, is on 48 points.  Last year’s Challenge winner Chamu Mabaya is in fourth place on 34 points. Calvin Habib is in fifth on 27, but has not taken part since the first leg as he has joined the South African Jockeys Academy.

Ndlovu, who never fails to impress with his balance and race riding skills, has ridden nine winners this season at a strike rate of 20,93%. Hewitson, who intends following in the footsteps of his father Carl by joining the professional ranks after he has completed his schooling, is also a magnificently balanced rider with an astute tactical nous.  His 12 winners this season have come at an amazing strike rate of 36,36%. Both riders would be deserving winners of the Challenge.

The Workrider’s Challenge series has been running since the 2008/2009 season and a special award is made to the winner at the annual Racing Association Highveld Feature Seasons Awards ceremony.  Most of the Workrider’s Challenge contestants are products of the excellent Work Rider’s Training Program funded by the Racing Trust and run by James Maree, who is assisted by top Highveld jockey Marthinus Mienie.

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