SA Victorious In Challenge

The SA boys watch the action at Kenilworth

The SA boys watch the action at Kenilworth

The South African team carried their dominance into the second leg of the Jockeys International at Kenilworth on Sunday and gave champion jockey S’manga Khumalo the perfect start to his reign as captain.

Piere Strydom rode a double yesterday and that was just enough for him to scrape home in the day’s individual event by one point over local hero Bernard Fayd’Herbe.

Anthony Delpech was the runaway victor ludorum over the two days of the Challenge.

This event always captures the public’s imagination and, having been promoted this year by Racing It’s A Rush, a nice sized and enthusiastic crowd turned out to watch the deciding leg.

The South Africans carried a commanding advantage of 255 points to 152 into the day after Anthony Delpech had won two of the Challenge races at Turffontein on Saturday and Richard Fourie one.

Germany’s  Andreas Helfenbein had given the Internationals the lead after the first race of the two day Challenge but it was all South Africa from then onward.

Yesterday, Delpech got one hand on the victor ludorum trophy by storming clear in the opening challenge event over 1600m aboard the Dean Kannemeyer-trained Dynasty filly Indaba.

Adam Kirby finished runner up, but Bernard Fayd’Herbe,  S’Manga Khumalo and Muzi Yeni filled the next three places and South Africa had increased their lead to 321-186.

Delpech unfortunately didn’t have a ride in the next, so had to settle for an automatic seven points. Piere Strydom rode a perfectly timed race in this 1600m event on the Brett Crawford-trained Jet Master gelding Independence, who relished the strong pace set by International captain James Doyle aboard Valerio.

Fayd’Herbe pipped Doyle for second and as the latter was the only international in the top five placings the Challenge was all but over as a contest as the South Africans now led by 397 to 224.

Bernard Fayd’Herbe was using his local knowledge to full effect and wrapped up the Challenge for South Africa in the next race over 1800m by winning aboard his old guv’nor Mike Bass’ charge Saint Sophia.

The Dynasty filly was a comfortable winner and it was once again South Africans who headed the scramble for the minor positions, with Gregory Benoist’s fourth place being the best the Internationals could manage. Yeni finished runner up in this race, while Delpech’s third place gave him an unassailable lead in the race for Victor Ludorum as he was now 50 points clear of second-placed Fayd’Herbe.

Piere Strydom - brilliant again

Piere Strydom – brilliant again

Fayd’Herbe went into the last event eight ahead of Delpech on the day and 14 ahead of Strydom, so the race for this accolade still had the public biting their nails.

However, Strydom was at his best again in this 1200m race and his victory aboard the Glen Kotzen-trained Roaring Wind took him within two winners of a career tally of 5000. It also made him the day’s leading rider by the narrowest of margins over a gallant Fayd’Herbe, whose mount Alpha Pegasi finished second.

South Africa’s superiority was complete as they had won the second day by a massive 292 points to 136. The overall tally over the two days was 547 to 288.

Anthony Delpech scored 135 points over the two days and was followed by Strydom on 105 and Fayd’Herbe on 93.

Delpech was the winner of the first day’s individual prize with 79 points to Fourie’s 61 and Kirby’s 40.

Yesterday Strydom’s individual score of 73 was followed by Fayd’Herbe on 72 and Delpech on 56.

The internationals did not enjoy the best of luck over the two days but certainly enjoyed their stay and were enthusiastic throughout. All of their riders would be welcomed back to take part again in this captivating event.

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