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Akash Aucharuz

Akash Aucharuz

Akash Aucharuz

Mauritian-born apprentice jockey AKASH AUCHARUZ (23) joined the South African Jockey Academy in January 2012 and has achieved good success to date. Just five months later, he produced a memorable day in his short career when he rode 5 winners at a Flamingo Park racemeeting. He has built on that early success and is currently on 78 career wins, including his sole graded victory aboard rank outsider Fanzene (110/1) in the Grade 3 Magnolia Handicap on Summer Cup day, last year. Aucharuz is a determined and hardworking young man who draws inspiration from watching South African Champion Jockey, Piere Strydom and world-renowned great, Frankie Dettori go about their business. Akash is in his 3rd year of his apprenticeship and with a level-head on his shoulders is tipped to have a highly successful career within this great sport.

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What is your name and age? Guru Dev Aucharuz and I am 23 years old.

What is your star sign and birthdate? Libra, born on 1st October, 1990.

Where were you born? Mauritius.

Where do you live? Mauritius.

Tell us about your family? My father, Kishen, mother Geega, 1 brother Nishan and 1 sister, Nundinee. My family mean the world to me and I thank them for their continued support.

Do you have a ‘nickname’? “Akash”.

Favourite food? Lamb.

Favourite drink? Coca Cola.

Favourite music? Indian music.

Favourite sport? Soccer.                                        

Favourite soccer team? Manchester United.

What is your favourite holiday destination? Mauritius.

Briefly discuss your school days in terms of favourite subjects? I completed form 3 and my favourite subjects were Mathematics and English.

As a school boy did you follow horseracing and did you have any favourite horses or jockeys that you followed? I did follow horseracing as it is a huge passion in Mauritius. My favourite jockey is Rye Joorawon and my favourite horse is One For The Road.

How did your interest in horseracing come about and how did you get into the academy? I was a workrider for MTC and was helped by MJ Odendaal, Johnny Geroudis and Mr. Waterston to secure a place at the Gauteng Jockey Academy.

By the time you went to the academy had you ever ridden a horse? Yes.

When did you start your apprenticeship? I came to the Gauteng Jockey’s Academy in January 2012 and was granted a Mauritian apprentice licence in May 2012.

Who were your fellow apprentices at that intake? My fellow apprentices were Nooresh Juglall, Hennie Greyling, Neo Qaule, Wesley Marwing, Doctor Lembethe and Denise Lee.

List some specifics about the first year of your apprenticeship? I started riding on 5th May 2012 and I had my first winner on 16th July 2012.

Coming from Mauritius did you find it difficult to fit into the lifestyle at the jockey academy? No, I did not, as everyone was very helpful and hospitable and Nooresh was a great help.

Describe a typical day at the academy? Get up early and ride work. Have breakfast and go to the races if there is racing that day, and then back to the academy. If there is no racing I watch dvd’s of racing.

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

Who were your particular friends amongst the apprentices? Hennie Greyling and Nooresh Juglall.

Which year would you say indicates if you can become a proper jockey or a failed apprentice? By the end of the first year.

Your riding master is Mr. Gary Waterston. He had a successful career as a jockey. How inspiring is it to be mentored by a man who has been through it all? Mr. Waterston is a great mentor and follows each apprentices’ progress with keen interest. I am very grateful to him for all the work that he has put into my progress.

Once you got into the academy which senior jockey’s inspired you the most? Piere Strydom and Marthinus Mienie.

How long were you in the academy before you competed in your first race? Tell us about that first ride? It was after 3 months and my first race was on Torman over 1000m at the Vaal.

Tell us about your first winner? It was on Ruby King for Mr. Paul Peter. He won over 1000m on the Vaal Sand and it was a great feeling.

Which were the trainers who took the most interest in you and were prepared to help you along the way? Mr. Brett Warren, Mr. Leon Erasmus, Mr. Paul Matchett and Mr. Geoff Woodruff. Once again, I am forever indebted to these trainer’s and most others that have afforded me an opportunity.

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 about 6 months. After the first few winners the confidence was greater. These senior jockeys are extremely professional and I aspire to reach the heights that they have scaled through sheer hard work and determination.

Which tracks have you ridden on in South Africa and what is your favourite track? I have ridden on both tracks at the Vaal, both courses at Turffontein, on the excellent Flamingo Park surface and at Clairwood in KZN. I am just so privileged to be involved in this wonderful sport and I love them all.

How many winners have you ridden to date? I have had 78 winners.

How many graded or listed winners have you ridden to date? I have won 2 listed races and 1 graded race. The graded winner being Fanzene who caused a major stir when she won the Grade 3 Sansui Magnolia Handicap at odds of 110/1 on Summer Cup day, last year. I would like to thank Mrs. Luchelle Kruger for that opportunity.

You are currently doing well with trainer Paul Matchett. How did this association begin? I rode work, listened well to his instructions and took the advice I was given. Mr. Matchett is an astute man and a great horseman.

Which horses in the Matchett yard do you think you could do well on and will be worth following over the next couple of months? Gold Prospector who is a son of Horse Chestnut that has excelled on the sand thus far. He has won all 3 of his races on that surface, including a feature in his last start on Emerald Cup day. He should still be effective on the turf and must be followed during the Gauteng Autumn season.

Which other stables do you ride work for? Mainly for Mr. Brett Warren and Mr. Geoff Woodruff.

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? Yes, I am hoping I could become stable jockey to Mr. Woodruff. I would certainly give it my all should the opportunity arise.

Which top jockey do you admire the most in South Africa? Piere Strydom. He has unbelievable balance, is a great judge of pace and is a deep-thinking jockey.  He seldom makes mistakes.

Who is your favourite overseas jockey? Frankie Dettori. He has all the qualities any jockey would dream of and tops it off with his flair.

How much of racing in South Africa and abroad do you watch? I try to watch as much as possible.

You have ridden a lot on sand? Describe the difference between riding on sand and riding on grass? It is much harder on sand. It is heavier and the positioning must be right. Grass is softer and much easier to ride on.

Which do you consider to be the best horse/horses you have won on to date? I would say Dynamite from the Geoff Woodruff stable.

What are your short & long-term ambitions? In the short term I would like to win the champion apprentice title. In the long term I am determined to finish in the top 10 on the National Jockeys Log.

What has been your most exciting moment in horseracing to date? I rode 5 winners on the card at Flamingo Park on 24 September 2012. As an apprentice it is a day I will never forget. I cannot describe the excitement and feeling of achievement that I felt. My fellow apprentices were thrilled at my achievement. Some of the senior jockeys mentioned that I was like gold out there. The applause was heard by all.

Do you find that the trainers are now asking you to ride more of their better horses as you are improving? Most definitely, yes!

Is there anything about being a jockey that you dislike? No. I only have positive feelings about being a jockey. Very few people get the opportunity in life to work in a field that they love. For me personally, this isn’t work, it is living a dream.

What is your ideal riding mass and do you have problems maintaining it? 52kg’s. Fortunately, I am a natural lightweight. I have a great appetite for success through my hard work and would welcome any more opportunities that should arise.

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, apprentices may be sponsored. However, I haven’t been able to secure a sponsor yet. I trust that this will come with time, especially if I continue being successful.

How important do you think it is to have a sponsor? It is extremely important, not only for financial gain but also as it is an honour to be the image of a reputable and successful business. I would take any opportunity to market the brand behind me and will make them proud. I will also do proper research on my sponsor and keep up with their latest achievements. Needless to say, I am a professional and will represent the image of the company with pride.

Do you do anything extra to keep maximum fitness apart from riding work and races? No, racing and riding work keeps me extremely fit.

How good a judge are you in assessing gallops? I ‘d like to believe that I am a decent judge.

Do you take an interest in the breeding side of the game and if so, which is your favourite stallion? I haven’t got into the breeding side of things as yet but am ever willing to learn.

If for any reason you didn’t become a jockey what would have been your alternate career option? I have never given that any thought.

Outside of racing do you have anything else you are passionate about? I like movies, socializing and spending time with my family.

Do you think racing is well-policed? Yes, I believe it is very well-policed.

Do you have a steady girlfriend or are you concentrating on your career? I do have a girlfriend, Venita, who lives in Mauritius.

Has your success in South Africa inspired any of your friends in Mauritius to take more of an interest in racing? Yes, there are many who would welcome the opportunity to ride in South Africa.

As a fellow youngster what do you think can be done to entice more youth into our wonderful sport? There could possibly be more advertising on other channels to tell the public what is available in racing.

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