Fourie Back In SA

A top jockey returns to the land of his birth

Richard Fourie

Richard Fourie

Cape jockey Richard Fourie has returned to South Africa following a successful season riding as a club jockey in Hong Kong. The 27 year old rode 34 winners and finished eighth in the jockeys’ premiership.

“There were a lot of ups and downs in the last 10 months and it was very hard work – I only had two days off the entire time I was there – but I had a very successful season,” said Fourie. His Chinese nickname is Fok Lia Ying, which means hard-working gentleman.

He says: “Things work differently in Hong Kong. For instance, you have to book your trackwork the day before and you’re given times when the horse will be working. You can’t miss that appointment. “Then the instructions are given in ‘time’. You’re told only 56, which means that the horse must work 800m in 56sec – so pace work and timing has become second nature to me.

Fourie got off the mark at his very first meeting, when winning on Tony Cruz-trained Well Fit, and he scored doubles on four occasions. He had 13 winners for Tony Millard. Best of the horses Millard was Super Lifeline, who Fourie reckons should be watched as a four-year-old next season.

Richard Fourie & Cerise Cherry

Richard Fourie & Cerise Cherry place second in the Gr1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint

“He’s a young and up-and-coming horse, who reminds me a bit of Jay Peg. His character – he’s not quite as good as Jay Peg yet!” Former SA campaigner Cerise Cherry gave Fourie his biggest feature-race result when second in the 1200m Gr1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint on 12 December last year.

Fourie is happy to be back in South Africa, saying: “I’ll stick around for a while, although I will go back in the future if I’m invited. It was hard to break in – if they don’t like you there, you’ve got no chance – but by the end of my stay I’d started breaking down the boundaries and making friends.”

Fourie will be back in the saddle on Gold Cup Day on 27 July when he is set to partner Paddy O’Reilly for trainer Mike Stewart in the R1.25-million Gold Cup. He won the race on Mokaro in 2009.

He will also ride Jet Explorer for Justin Snaith in the R750 000 Champions Cup. He has renewed his association with the Snaith stable and says: “I’ll have a good season in South Africa, I think.” Fourie is considering setting his sights on the SA championship next season.

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