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Mark Khan – A Champion Change Of Direction

Learning under the expert guidance of Grant Maroun

One of our greatest riders of the modern era, five-times SA champion jockey and a man who was awarded his national colours in 2008, Mark Khan has not renewed his jockey’s licence for the new season but will not be lost to the game he loves.

A powerful and impeccably balanced rider, the internationally experienced Mark Khan, who earned regional championship titles in three provinces, was also Mauritius champion jockey in 2000, and honed his skills abroad in Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Australia, Macau, Dubai and Zimbabwe.

Elusive Fort

Mark khan and Elusive Fort seen winning the son of Fort Wood’s 3rd Gr1

His name is inexorably associated in our history books with many champions and Gr1 winners, and one that comes to mind is Yard-Arm who won the 2004 J&B Met.

After an association with leading trainers like the Australia-based Gary Alexander, multiple champion Geoff Woodruff, and in his earlier days, Mark Watters at Milnerton, the 55 year old horseman is now learning the fine art of training racehorses as an NHA licenced assistant trainer to Grant Maroun at Randjesfontein.

We caught up with him when he led in an impressive winner at Turffontein recently.

Philasande Mxoli booted home the Jace Chetty and Grant Maroun owned Rattle Bag for a good win in the eighth race on Saturday 12 August.

At the Rattle Bag lead-in: Mark Khan, Soloman Chaque, Feroze Juman and Armando Domingo’s Sitoe enjoy the moment (Pic – JC Photos)

For owner Jace Chetty, a good friend of Mark’s, it was a memorable day that was worth the trip up from Cape Town – his Fire Away filly Explosive Bond won the second race earlier under Wes Marwing for Paul Matchett, to give him a great double.

“I am so thrilled for Jace. He loves the game and is an investor in the Maroun yard. All credit must go to Grant Maroun. He found the perfect race for Rattle Bag and Philasande Mxoli is growing in stature. He put the cherry on top with a polished ride. It’s really and truly an honour and privilege to be a part of a winning team!” the former champion jockey told the Sporting Post.

Pressed for the rationale behind his decision to switch to the training side of things, Mark says that after 39 years, racing is the only pursuit he knows.

“I don’t want to sound cliched, but it’s in my blood. The game actually gets under one’s skin. One high is all it takes to drown the many lows. For which we are always grateful.”

He is quick to add that he is fortunate to be in good health, but it’s a fact of life that race riding is exacting and physically demanding.

Mark Khan, Philande Mxoli and Feroze Juman after Rattle Bag’s victory at Turffontein (Pic – JC Photos)

“I am so looking forward to the new challenge and this step is a natural progression in my professional life. And what more accomplished exponent of his art than Grant Maroun to learn from? When I spend time around a genuinely skilled and passionate horseman like Grant, I realise just how demanding running a racing yard is. In comparison to life as a jockey, there are so many variables and multi-faceted components to the training role. I have been around horses for close on four decades and every day working alongside Grant has seen me learn more,” he muses.

Mark is also a racing manager for John Maroun, who is an owner in the yard and Grant’s brother.

“John Maroun, the CEO of Bulldog Abrasives, has invested further in the yard to support me and loves the game. He also has a string of horses with the Paul Matchett team. The Bulldog Abrasives philosophy that their customers always come first is also something that held true in in my own professional life. And it’s that all-encompassing quest for excellence and attention to detail that makes my learning experience all the more rewarding here at the Maroun yard.”

Mark explains that they have 20 horses at their Randjesfontein base, including a spread of nice youngsters and the Gr1 SA Classic hero, Anfield’s Rocket.

“There is definitely a turnaround in racing since the damage done by the covid pandemic and other events of the past ten years. And one feels the buzz at the sales. Cycles are a part of life in any industry, and I believe we are on an upward curve.”


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12 comments on “Mark Khan – A Champion Change Of Direction

  1. Michael Robert Benham says:

    Wow . I am so happy for Mark and Grant and all the owners and the backroom staff as well and wish them all the best for the future ..I have always been a fan of Mark Khan and the “The Marouns way back when “Buddy ” not sure if they are related was also involved in horseracing.
    God bless

  2. Yunus Fredericks says:

    Well done Mark and wishing you every success in your new and exciting endeavor. Take care. God bless.

  3. Sam Naidoo says:

    Mark Khan was a jockey I could count on to catch exotics in the past. He is top class and best wishes to him.

  4. Yusuf Fataal says:

    A real master on the woodraft horses back then

  5. desmond ramcharan says:

    Hi all the best for the future you atr 1 of the in years gone by I am still y fan Mr Khan

  6. Kenneth Jonathan says:

    Well Done Mr Feroz B,👍👍👍👌🙏🏽 Wishing you everything of the Bestest🙏🏽👌👍Tops my brother,only saw it yesterday 😀

  7. Cyril Pulvenis says:

    Always wonderful to hear of a former jockey deciding to stay in the game. Can’t wait to see Anfields Rocket step out again

  8. Indran Maistry says:

    Amazing jockey, great skills.All the best to him in his future endeavors.

  9. Cameron James says:

    Hi Ed, on this subject is it possible to enquire from Mr Khan himself on how good Argonaut was?

    I’ve spent the better part of a decade wondering what he would have achieved had he remained in South Africa. He destroyed them in that baby race at Clairwood and I had him earmarked as a potential superstar. If memory serves me correctly, he was shipped to Australia to race there before embarking on a stud career there and was injured before even setting foot on a racetrack. So surely he was rated. He had the most amazing action.

    Would be great if we could get some opinion from the man who say on him in his juvenile career.


    1. Editor says:

      Will ask Mark, Cameron

  10. Cameron James says:

    Thank you.

  11. Mark Deane says:

    Thanks Cameron for raising this as I still think about Argonaut to this day. The twelve length win at Clairwood was the most spectacular, but it was actually his win on July day that sticks in my memory, even though the official margin was much smaller. I was trackside that day and the way he quickened when asked made my hair stand on end. I followed his early progeny closely in the hope that he might have passed on some of his racing ability but it wasn’t to be.

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