Mauritians are passionate about their horseracing. That undisputed fact is vividly borne out by the crowd that turned out at morning gallops on Tuesday 29 November to welcome star attraction Frankie Dettori. The Italian superstar arrived early to have a look at the Champ De Mars and declared himself fit and raring to go for this weekend’s Jockey International.
Dettori rode Desolation Row and Fearless Thomas in their short workouts and after the session, he spent time chatting with trainers, owners and officials of the Mauritius Turf Club.
The world renowned jockey is revered on the Indian Ocean Island and he is known to enjoy the beaches and watersports. His every move is followed by the local paparazzi and he appears to enjoy the attention and adoration!
While the twelve jockeys competing this weekend are well known to racing fans, a short pen pic follows for those that may not know some of them:
He has already won two consecutive championships at the International Weekend in Mauritius. The 33 yr old started his career as an apprentice with Robert Collet. His big break came when he was appointed second jockey to the Wildenstein family in 2004 and enjoyed his first Group One winner in the Prix Royal Oak on Westerner later the same year. In 2006 he recorded his greatest victory so far when Rail Link took the Group One Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp and further joy followed in 2007, when he was crowned French champion jockey. In 2007 he also partnered the outstanding Manduro to three Group One victories.
Last year he enjoyed a Classic double aboard Special Duty, winner of both the English and French 1000 Guineas.
Following in the footsteps of other riders from India, Imran Chisty scored a win and a second place during the last International Weekend.
This year, he has not had a great season as the Allet stable rider, but has managed to get his fair share of wins despite the limited resources at his disposal, and is a well balanced rider.
He is considered as one of the best, if not the best rider ever produced by Mauritius. Having won the championship in his category on numerous occasions, he has done it again this year, scoring 23 wins in the process, in spite of missing the early part of the season. He is perhaps not the most stylish of riders, but he is effective and has the ability to bring out the best in is horses.
He is the apprentice who has made the most progress this season. His fourteen winners meant that he topped his category and his four winners on an afternoon are proof that he is well set to become a future champion. He is as comfortable when leading in a race or riding a waiting race, and despite his youth shows great maturity. His participation here is a significant acknowledgement of his achievements this season.
For the past couple of years (2010 -2011) the Irishman he has been in action in Mauritius and he has claimed two consecutive Jockey Championships. He is second only to Jeffrey Lloyd for the title of most wins(48) in a racing season. He is held in very high esteem by Mauritian racegoers, who through the Internet have often voted this talented rider with Best Ride of the day.
William was born in Norway where his father, Walter, was eight times champion jockey and his mother a dressage rider and showjumper. With horsemanship in the blood, William took an early interest in racing and his natural talent soon became obvious. Back to back apprentice Jockey of the Year awards in 2007 and 2008 saw the racing public take notice of a then 20-year-old William and they have been watching ever since. Still only 23, and now stable jockey for trainer John Gosden, William has an incredible seven Group 1 victories to his name including this year’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. This will be his third visit to Mauritius.
This French rider has an excellent track record. He is a member of the exclusive club of of Most Famous French Jockeys, with countless victories in Group races. He has on four occasions claimed the French championship and he has left his footprint on every race track he has set foot on, be it in Japan or England. He is an outstanding rider who reads the pace of any race with remarkable intelligence. He is such a powerful rider that it is quite hard to go pass him when he leads in a race.
This globe-trotting Italian jockey does not need any introduction: he has an outstanding record all over the world, winning all the prestigious races. He has achieved the extraordinary feat of winning seven races in one meeting at Royal Ascot in 1996. As stable rider of the all-powerful Godolphin Stable of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, he has won more than 500 Group races.
This Australian rider was born to be a jockey. His grand- father and father were both jockeys. After winning the apprentice title in his early years as a jockey, he later won the Sydney Premiership title. In the 2007-2008, he recorded the most Group 1 races in Australia. His greatest achievement is undoubtedly his victory in the 2009 Melbourne Cup on the Mark Kavanagh- trained Shocking.
Twenty-one year old Mauritian born Karis Teetan started his apprenticeship at the South African Jockey Academy. From the very beginning he showed promise of a brilliant career. He has improved his riding skills and in 2009 narrowly missed the apprenticeship championship. In his short career, he has scored more than 300 wins, including 100 victories this year and rode his first Gr1 winner in May. He is based in Cape Town where he rides for the Brett Crawford yard.
Forty Six year old Glen Hatt rode successfully for the Perdrau stable in Mauritius before returning to his home town of Cape Town earlier this year. He rode 22 winners with a strike rate of 19%. He is first choice rider for the powerful Joey Ramsden team in Cape Town and rode a Group winner on Saturday for the Mike De Kock team in Gauteng when winning the Dingaans.
The fifty four year old Welsh-born Neisius is the old man of the party this weekend. A legend in the Western Cape where he rides for the Kannemeyer and Bass yards, the vastly experienced rider has almost forty years experience in the saddle. He has ridden over 2500 winners in South Africa and has been the Western Province Champion for the last four seasons – six years in total. He has won 44 Grade 1 races in South Africa and over 100 graded races in total.