Let’s Get Behind Rachel Today!

Action starts at 15h00

Former multiple SA Champion Apprentice Rachel Venniker has enjoyed some big days in her brief career to date.

This afternoon the newly qualified professional enjoys a golden opportunity as she takes four rides in the Invest International Jockey’s Challenge on Day 1 of the world’s richest racemeeting at King Abdulaziz racecourse in Riyadh.

The fifth renewal of the two-day festival begins at 15h00 this afternoon with the International Jockeys’ Challenge commencing in the second race, and concludes on Saturday with the running of the richly endowed Saudi Cup.

Accompanied by her Mom Marian, the 22year old Rachel arrived from her Durban base on Tuesday and has enjoyed a hectic schedule that included riding camels, and doing some work for former SA Champion trainer Geoff Woodruff.

In a remarkable coincidence, her first ride on international soil will be for the former South African trainer when she rides Aedate for the ‘Summer King’ at 15h35.

Rachel’s four rides, all described as having ‘decent chances’, are:

  • 15h35: Race 2 Aedate (KSA)
  • 16h10: Race 3 Besht Alhakem (KSA)
  • 17h20: Race 5 National Gallery (IRE)
  • 17h55: Race 6 Cliffs Of Fury (GB)

The overall prize pool for the festival has almost doubled to $37.5m, with the Saudi Cup offering a winner’s cheque of $10m.

The international challenge (IJC) is a four-race competition where Rachel takes on 13 other top jockeys from around the world.

Among them are three-time Melbourne Cup champion Damien Oliver, America’s Katie Davies and reigning IJC champion Luis Saez, and New Zealand’s Lisa Allpress, the first woman to win a flat race in Saudi Arabia when she competed in 2020.

Maryline Eon represents France while Britain’s representative is 21-year-old Saffie Osborne, the daughter of former National Hunt jockey Jamie Osborne, who has 160 wins already and broke new ground with an international double last weekend.

Watch the action from Riyadh – the first race is off at 15h00 – on Gallop TV and Racing240.

Racing240’s Stephen Watson told the Sporting Post that due to scheduled broadcasts of Dubai and UK racing, that some of the Saudi action may be shown delayed, but that would do their best to include as much live racing as that can.

Rachel leaves Saudi Arabia on Sunday and is engaged for seven rides at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Tuesday.

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