Profile – Girish Goomany

Girish Goomany

In recent times the island of Mauritius has been supplying South Africa with some very promising apprentices. The latest to join these ranks is 19 year old GIRISH GOOMANY. Now in the 3rd year of his apprenticeship Girish’s career is starting to take off in Cape Town where, in recent weeks, he has ridden a string of winners. According to the Cape’s academy master, Terrance Welch, Girish is a very pleasant, level headed, young man who, he predicts, has a bright future ahead of him. There is no doubt about his riding ability and he has set his sights high as the jockey he most admires is none other than champion jockey Anton Marcus. This Saturday at Kenilworth, Girish will be riding in six of ten races. We wish him well and will be following his career with great interest.    

What is your name and age?  Girish Goomany and I am 19 years old.

What is your star sign and birthdate? My birthdate is 4th January 1993 which makes me a Capricorn.

Where were you born? In Mauritius.

Where do you live? Currently I live in Cape Town. My family all live in Mauritius, Highlands, Phoenix.

Tell us about your family?  I am the only son and I have two sisters.

Do you have a ‘nickname’?  No, not as yet.

Favourite food? Pizza, Nandos and salads.

Favourite drink? Fruit juice.

Favourite music? House music, Techno Club music.

Favourite sport? Soccer.

Favourite soccer team? Liverpool.

What is your favourite holiday destination? Dubai.

Briefly discuss your school days in terms of favourite subjects? I enjoyed my school days and my favourite subject was physics.

As a school boy did you follow horse racing and did you have any favourite horses or jockeys that you followed? No, not at that stage.

You are from Mauritius. Has any of your family come to South Africa to watch you riding? No but I hope they will soon come to watch me when I ride in a feature event.

You have already ridden 8 winners. How excited are your family to see you doing so well? They are very proud of me and I must say they are very excited for me.

Was it always on the cards that you would attempt to be a jockey or did you, or your family, have any other career, in mind for you? No. I was always passionate about horses and I love the sport.

Have you been back to Mauritius since you started riding winners. If so what sort of reception did you get from your friends and acquaintances? I have not been back but I would like to visit soon to see all my family and friends. I am sure they are all very interested to know all about my life as a jockey in South Africa.

How did your interest in horse racing come about and how did you get into the academy? As I said I was always passionate about horses. I applied to the Mauritius Turf Club and they proposed that I come to the jockey’s academy at Summerveld.

By the time you went to the academy had you ever ridden a horse? Yes, I had ridden a few and I really enjoyed it.

When did you start your apprenticeship? In March 2010.

Who were your fellow apprentices at that intake? Donovan Dillon, Bryan Claassen, Franklin Maleking and Sanish Ramgopal.

List some specifics about the first year of your apprenticeship? Our day starts very early. We go to the track and ride work. After that we work in the stables, clean horses and muck out. We must also do our schoolwork.

What year of your apprenticeship are you in? I am now in my 3rd year.

What is the most difficult part about being an apprentice? Waking up in the morning and mucking out boxes.

Which year would you say indicates if you can become a proper jockey or a failed apprentice? I would say by the end of my 4th year.

Was Rhys van Wyk your riding master at the academy. He had a wonderful career as a jockey. How inspiring is it to be mentored by such a successful man? It was a great pleasure for me to be mentored by Mr van Wyk. He taught me many things that I did not know.

Once you got into the academy which senior jockey inspired you the most? Anton Marcus is a truly brilliant jockey. He is someone really worth studying.

How long were you in the academy before you competed in your first race? Tell us about that first ride?  It was in my 2nd year and I could not wait to actually compete in a race. My first ride was on a horse called Wundabar for Mr. Bart Rice. I was very excited and nervous. In the race I finished 4th and it was like winning the July.

Tell us about your first winner? My first winner was for Mr. Charles Laird on a horse called Raging River. This was on the 18th October 2011 and I must say that it was the best moment I have ever experienced.

Which were the trainers who took the most interest in you and were prepared to help you along the way? Mr. Bart Rice, Mr. Charles Laird (Durban), Mr. Piet Steyn and Mr. Eric Sands from Cape Town.

How long did it take before you were confident that you could compete against the likes of Anton Marcus, Piere Strydom, Anthony Delpech, Robbie Fradd and other top jockeys? It took a while but after my first winner my confidence in my riding ability really grew. It was then that I realized I could compete with the best even if I still had to gain experience.

Which tracks have you ridden on in South Africa and which is your favourite track? I have ridden on many including Greyville, Scottsville, Clairwood, Durbanville, Kenilworth, Arlington and Fairview. I love riding at Greyville.

How many winners have you ridden to date? Happy to say 8 right now but I would like that figure to increase dramatically.

How many graded or listed winners have you ridden to date? None so far but I am working on it.

Which stables do you ride work for? I am riding freelance but it would be great to be a stable jockey.

You are getting some really good rides from various stables. Is there any chance you could, in the near future, become stable jockey to any of them? I am doing my best and I hope my reward will be to become a stable jockey.

You have six rides at Kenilworth on Saturday. Pick out a few that the public can follow? In Race 8 I am riding YOUNG CAESOUR. She has a bad draw but she does have the pace to overcome the draw. If she does I give her a decent chance. In Race 9 I am riding SMART COLLEEN who ran a very nice race over 1400m last time. She is by Strike Smartly so if she handles the extra 200m she will be very competitive.

Who is your favourite overseas jockey? I love the way Christophe Soumillon rides and I particularly like his attitude to riding.

How much racing in South Africa and abroad do you watch? I watch as much as possible. I find that I can pick up many of the finer points of race riding by watching top jockeys from all over the world.

Have you ridden on sand? If so, describe the difference between the surfaces? No, I have not ridden on sand but am looking forward to that experience.

Which do you consider to be the best horse/ horses you have won on to date? The horse I rate tops, at this stage, is Dynasty’s Secret.

What are your short & long-term ambitions? To be successful in life. To ride in and win the July. Of course, my number one ambition is to be South Africa’s champion jockey.

With the Gauteng and Cape season upon us which horses do you think will do really well? I rate Tevez, Mr Tobin and King Of Pain very highly.

Is there any chance that you will be asked to ride any horse in a feature race in the Cape? I would love to. It would be a great privilege and an honour if I was asked to ride in a feature event.

What is your most memorable moment in racing thus far? Riding my first winner will always stick in my mind. It was a wonderful moment for me.

Is there anything about being a jockey that you dislike? No, I love every moment of my time as a jockey.

What is your ideal riding mass and do you have problems maintaining it? I ride at 48kgs and I have no problem maintaining my mass.

What is your current claim? Right now I am claiming 4kgs but I doubt if that will last too long.

You have probably noticed that many trainers and jockeys have sponsors. Are apprentices allowed to be sponsored and if so, do you have a sponsor? Yes we are allowed to be sponsored. I do not have a sponsor but I would really like to be sponsored.

How important do you think it is to have a sponsor? I think it is important because then many of the financial worries would be taken off me.

Do you do anything extra to keep maximum fitness apart from riding work and races? I like to swim, play soccer and go for runs.

How good a judge are you in assessing gallops? I personally think my judgment is good, especially when I am asked to gallop a horse.

Do you take an interest in the breeding side of the game, if so, which is your favourite stallion? Yes I am interested. I think Jet Master and Dynasty are top stallions.

Outside of racing do you have anything else you are passionate about? My family is very important and I like to spend as much time as possible with them.

Do you think racing is well-policed? Yes from what I have seen, and experienced, I think it is very well -policed.

Do you have a steady girlfriend or are you concentrating on your career?  At this stage I am concentrating all my energies on building my career.

As a fellow youngster what do you think can be done to entice more youth into our wonderful sport? Perhaps a lot more advertising could be done aimed at the youth and more facilities could be created for them.


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