Semela On Top

Francis Semela wins the Work Rider's Challenge

Francis Semela

Champion. Francis Semela celebrates with trainer Romeo Francis after Danielle’s smart win in the third race at Turffontein

Work rider Francis Semela went into the final leg of the Work Riders’ Challenge with a narrow lead and, like all true champions, did not allow the opposition even a look in, writes Jack Milner.

Victories aboard Viking Hero in Race 1 and Danielle in Race 3 at Turffontein shut out any challengers and secured Semela not only the R5,000 prize as the leading rider on the day but the R20,000 cheque for victory in the overall standings. This is the first time Semela has won the Challenge but, when it comes to consistency, second-placed Sam Mosia – who went home with a R10 000 cheque – has been one of the top work riders over the past few years. Third position went to Jackson Feni and he took home a bonus of R5 000.

“We still finished in the same order we started in the morning,” said Semela. “I have been in front for the last couple of months and I fought hard today to stay there. We had good support from the trainers and I would like to thank all those trainers who did so. But we all have to give a special thanks to Mr James Maree and Mr Marthinus Mienie. Without these two men I don’t think we would have been here today. “We are some of the best work riders because of Mr Maree and Mr Mienie.”

Over and above his two winners, Semela also ran second in Race 4 on 14-1 shot Hunt The Stars, although he was beaten 11 lengths by Digital Dynasty, and also in Race 6 aboard Tiger Attack. In that race he also found the winner far too good as Dual Asset raced clear to win by seven lengths.

With the scratching of the Weiho Marwing-trained Rock Of Arts, the race looked far more open but Dual Asset and Tiger Attack vied for favouritism at 2-1. However, it was Semela’s mount who was the favourite of TAB punters.

There was an unfortunate incident in Race 2 when Chazak broke down badly and came down with Sean Paterson aboard and, in doing so, also brought down Emblazoned Star with Phillip Maluka on top. Paterson was not taken to hospital on Saturday but unconfirmed reports say that he did go to be checked out on Sunday and that he has cracked vertebrae. Maluka was taken to hospital and had stitches before being discharged.


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