With a projected pool of R10 million, today’s Hollywoodbets Durban July Pick 6 is a five-legged challenge according to Winning Form’s newly sponsored rider Richard Fourie.
The 36 year old Carletonville-born jockey, known to his friends and colleagues as ‘Dutchy’ or ‘Richie’, recently matched retired legend Jeff Lloyd’s season tally of 7 Grade 1 victories, and confidently declares that he is aiming for ten Grade 1 trophies for the current term.
“We have to set our sights high. This is a competitive sport and there are many good jockeys around,” Richard tells the Sporting Post, as he talks about his brand new sponsorship and the prospects of success on Hollywoodbets Durban July day.
“It is an honour and a privilege to be riding under the Winning Form banner. Their whole team do so much for horseracing and I’m just thrilled to be a part of it,” explains the passionate hobby fisherman.
It has been a great start under the Winning Form flag, with Richard having ridden Aunty Lizzy to victory for Kumaran Naidoo on the KZN Breeders raceday at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday, and then Running Rifles 24 hours later at the same venue for the Snaiths.
He tells us that he is looking forward to the big day at Hollywoodbets Greyville.
“The return of the crowds makes the big days extra special, and while the record books show Gr1 wins as Gr1 wins, irrespective of crowds or not, believe me the adrenaline rush of an atmosphere adds the edge and brings out the best in horse and rider. And the Hollywoodbets Durban July is the biggest!” he says with enthusiasm.
Richard is the only jockey with a ride in eleven of the twelve races on Saturday’s bumper programme.
Captain’s Ransom won’t make any of us rich at 3-10, but she looks the proverbial penalty kick in the Brentford FC Gr1 Garden Province Stakes.
“I suggested when we started chatting that it’s a five-legged Pick 6 and I will stand by that. Captain’s Ransom is a wonder. What do I say? Her form says it all. And what makes it even more exciting is that the race honours Brentford FC. That’s a unique name in SA racing and I know they carry the Hollywoodbets branding in the English Premier League. So there is great two-way synergy. Football is our number 1 sport. All the guys at the stables are so excited about this race!”
Richard rides Pomp And Power in the Hollywoodbets Durban July, a contest he describes as ‘very open’. He won the Jonsson Workwear Cape Derby on the spirited son of Vercingetorix. Smart places in the WSB Guineas and a runner-up berth in the Gr1 Daily News behind Safe Passage, suggest he is a horse on course for a big run – but he is a bit of a ‘wild child’, as somebody labelled him recently.
“Pomp And Power is a really very smart 3yo. But with all that ability, he has a free spirit and a mind of his own. If he just gives me two minutes of commitment, concentration and focus, then we could be celebrating. Don’t leave him out,” he cautions.
“I have nice rides across the afternoon. Gainsford runs in the Vodacom 2200. It’competitive and it’s his first time that far. But I know him well and I feel he will get the trip. Keagan de Melo rides Black Thorn in the Pick 6 opener. He is a smart stayer and I feel he will go very close. I ride Eden Roc in the Gr2 Post Merchants. It’s a wide open last leg of the Pick 6. We must have a big quartet chance. Overall, we are going out fit and trying, and I’d tell punters to include me if the budget permits!” he says with a confident smile in his voice.
When taxed about his fishing, Richard is still big on hooking the big ‘uns, but with all the travelling and feature race winners, he has had to put his rod and reel on the back-burner somewhat.
He can’t catch the tearaway Warren Kennedy on the top of the SA national log, but Richard is pleased with his 178 winners at a strike-rate of 18,33% and over R20 million in stakes.
“Keagan de Melo and I are going to push each other and chase the championship next season. He is also riding under the Winning Form banner now and is a really promising up-and-coming young jockey. He has a great work ethic and attitude. It’s tough but we are in it to win it!”
Another new Winning Form signing, Keagan de Melo is in third spot on the national log with his 172 winners (16,44%) generating close on R17 million in stakes.
The Alberton-born jockey turns 29 on 24 September. He is married to Demi, a young Lawyer, whose brother Callan jets out from Australia to ride Al Muthana in the Hollywoodbets Durban July on Saturday.
Keagan rode first winner on Western Gem for the now Korea-based Bart Rice at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on 8 August 2010.
A serious Arsenal supporter, Keagan started his apprenticeship in 2009.
Retained by Lady Christine Laidlaw’s Khaya Stables, Keagan is first choice rider to the powerful Dean Kannemeyer yard and will partner 3yo Waterberry Lane in the Hollywoodbets Durban July.
Keagan adopts a chilled attitude to life and is on record saying that he is thankful for the small mercies rather than stressed about the things that he can’t change. He rates loyalty and integrity top of the pile and says both characteristics feature strongly in his career highlights so far.
We will catch up in a few weeks with Keagan de Melo.
In the meantime, include the new Winning Form duo in all bets!