Anton Marcus is rated the 18th most successful jockey in the world in the global rankings published last week by the Thoroughbred Racing Commentary website which also classifies trainers and owners, writes Michael Clower on www.goldcircle.co.za
Markus and Ingrid Jooste come in number nine in the owners’ category – Coolmore and their partners head the list followed by Godolphin – but otherwise South Africans have been placed a long way down the various logs.
Six times champion Piere Strydom (91st) is the only other South African-based jockey to be rated in the top 100 and Hong Kong’s multiple champion Dougie Whyte has been put only two places higher.
The refusal of European interests to relax the African Horse Sickness quarantine regulations probably has more to do with the lowly treatment of the South Africans than any real assessment of their ability.
As our horses cannot compete on the international stage, except by sacrificing a significant part of their racing careers to overseas quarantine, few of our jockeys and trainers have much opportunity to show the rest of the world what they are capable of.
Mike de Kock is rated only 80th in the trainers category (which is headed by Aidan O’Brien) despite his ground-breaking successes around the world with horses far cheaper and nothing like as well bred as those handled by many of those above him.
One owner-breeder with close Coolmore connections and who sometimes has horses at Ballydoyle told me last year “We rate De Kock one of the best trainers in the world.”
Current champion Sean Tarry is rated 83rd, the now-retired Mike Bass is 115th, Dennis Drier and Joey Ramsden are joint 125th, Justin Snaith 134th and Brett Crawford 167th.
Frankie Dettori, who captains the visitors in the Air Mauritius International Jockeys’ Challenge at Fairview on November 18 and Turffontein two days later, is rated second only to Ryan Moore.
The other members of his team are Robert Havlin (104), Pat Cosgrave (166), Aurelian Lemaitre (172), Fergus Sweeney and Hayley Turner.
The last two are not in TRC’s top 200 and nor are S’Manga Khumalo, Andrew Fortune, Muzi Yeni and Gavin Lerena. The other two South African team members are Anthony Delpech (121) and Grant van Niekerk (144).