Teams for International Jockeys Challenge


The craic’ (fun), as the Irish jockeys would call it, is about to begin again in which six top South African riders will lock “bridles” with a mega-star cast of overseas jockeys in a total of eight races at both Turffontein Friday, 16th November and Greyville Sunday, 18th  November.

RICHARD HUGHES (39) – Captain

Richard Hughes

Richard is no stranger to South African racing fans, having participated in the International Jockeys Challenge in 2009 and last year when he was the top point scorer. Although one of the tallest flat-race jockeys in the world at 1.8m, the Irishman who is based in England is set to win the UK jockeys’ championship for the first time this year, having finished out of the top five on the log only once in the last decade. His big-race wins this year include the Nassau Stakes aboard The Fugue for John Gosden as well as three for his father-in-law Richard Hannon, the Moyglare Stud Stakes aboard Sky Lantern, the Tattersalls Millions 2yo Fillies’ Trophy on Victrix Ludorum and the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Olympic Glory. He has ridden winners in the UK, Ireland, Europe, India, Mauritius and South Africa. His lowest riding weight this year was 54.5kg



Jamie Spencer

Jamie has won the UK jockeys’ title twice, in 2005 and 2007 when he shared the honours with Seb Sanders, and took the Irish title in 2004 when he was attached to the powerful Ballydoyle stable. Born in Ireland, he is related through marriage to local trainer Joey Ramsden and has ridden in South Africa on several occasions, including in the International Jockeys’ Challenge last year when he rode two winners and was the second-highest point-scorer. He also rode without success on J&B Met Day in 2008. Although widely regarded as one of the most naturally talented jockeys in Britain, he has not had his most successful year and is set to finish out of the top 10 on the log for only the second time since relocating to the UK. He has won just one big race this year, the Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine aboard Michael Bell-trained Wigmore Hall. He weighs 54kg.



Jimmy Fortune

Jimmy, a UK-based Irishman, has been a member of the international team at the Jockeys’ Challenge twice and last year helped his team to secure their first win from four attempts by riding a winner. Champion apprentice in 1990, Fortune has held many prominent positions in racing, including being retained by the late Robert Sangster for whom he was an immediate success with victory aboard Commander Collins in the Racing Post Trophy. He has had a quiet time on the Grade 1 front since he split with John Gosden in 2010, with his most recent success at that level coming aboard Rainbow View in the Matron Stakes in 2009. He is one of the few riders to have had the pleasure of partnering now-retired South African sprint star JJ The Jet Plane – they finished third in the Dubai Duty Free World Trophy at Newbury in 2009. He weighs in at 55kg.



Tom Queally

Tom is best known as Sir Henry Cecil-trained superstar Frankel’s regular rider. Together they have won 14 races, including this year’s JLT Lockinge Stakes, the Queen Anne Stakes, the Sussex Stakes, the Juddmonte International Stakes and the Champion Stakes. Queally, who rode his first winner in 2000, was champion apprentice in Ireland that year and took the British title in 2004. He has been attached to the Cecil stable since 2008. He is joint 12th on the UK jockeys’ log with Jamie Spencer. He participated in the International Jockeys Challenge for the first time last year and his win on Europa Point helped his team secure their first win after the South African team had won the Challenge three times running. He can ride at 54kg.



Joao Moreira

Joao has ruled the roost virtually from the beginning of his stint in Singapore in 2009 and is en-route to another jockeys’ premiership there after taking the title in 2010 and 2011. The light-weight rider wrapped up last season with 116 wins, 10 more than the previous winning record held by Noel Callow. This year he has already broken his own record in Singapore, having ridden 174 winners to 12 October. The Brazilian-born rider, who has been licensed since 2000, had already won more than 1000 races, most in the Sao Paulo area, before applying for a riding license in Singapore and his international experience also includes rides in Argentina, Australia, Dubai, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Macau, Sweden and Uruguay. His big-race wins this year in Singapore are the Singapore Guineas (G1) on Super Easy and the Singapore Derby (G1) on Chase Me, while he also landed the Listed Zawawi Cup in Sweden aboard Verde Mar. He can ride at 51kg.



Seamie is nearly an institution at Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stable, having worked there since 1996. He rides work on the majority of the stable stars on a regular basis and despite being a perennial second-string rider behind the likes of Mick Kinane, Kieren Fallon, Johnny Murtagh and more recently Joseph O’Brien, has a formidable haul of Group 1 wins to his credit. This year alone he has partnered two Group 1 winners – Pedro The Great in the Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh and was (his first English Classic winner) in the Investec Oaks at Epsom. Irish champion apprentice in 1994, when he shared the title with Daragh O’Donoghue, he has won big races in France, England and Ireland and will be riding for the first time in South Africa. His strength in a finish is just one characteristic of his riding that has helped him to get established. He rides at 55kg.



ANTON MARCUS (42) – Captain

Anton Marcus

Anton has won the South African jockeys’ title in the last three seasons and also took the premiership in 2001. Currently retained by leading owner Markus Jooste, he has partnered some of the best horses in South Africa in recent years and took an impressive nine Grade 1 titles last season with his haul including two big successes on Equus Horse Of The Year Variety Club – the Cape Guineas and the Gold Challenge. His other G1 winners were Europa Point, Soft Falling Rain, All Is Secret, Delago Deluxe, Princess Victoria and Royal Bencher.  A four-time Durban July winner, Marcus has ridden with distinction in England, Dubai, Hong Kong, Mauritius and Singapore. He captained the South Africans to their third win in the International Jockeys’ Challenge two years ago and was at the helm again last year when they suffered a shock reversal to their opponents. His minimum riding weight is 55kg.



Gavin Lerena

Champion apprentice in South Africa in 2004, ’05 and ’06 and who set the record for the most wins during an apprenticeship (283) in South Africa, was pipped on the post in his bid to win his first SA jockeys’ premiership last season. He ended the term just one winner behind Anton Marcus, who overtook him on the final day, and was deemed unlucky to lose have being sidelined for several weeks with a broken leg. He won three Grade 1 races during the 2011-12 racing season, the SA Derby aboard Pomodoro, who dead-heated with Marcus-ridden Royal Bencher, as well as the Horse Chestnut Stakes and Summer Cup on Dancewiththedevil, who is headed overseas. Lerena, who is again injured but expects to be back in the saddle at the end of October, has participated in the International Jockeys’ Challenge several times and won the Bronze Saddle two years ago. His minimum riding weight is 54.5kg.



Anthony Delpech

Anthony was born in the Seychelles but has been based in South Africa since 1982. Champion jockey in 1998 and again in 2002, he is currently one of the jockeys attached to the powerful Mike de Kock stable. He finished third on the South African jockeys’ table last season when he won four Grade 1 races, including two of the four premier races on the calendar – the J&B Met aboard Australian-bred star Igugu and the President’s Champions Challenge on Europa Point. His other two wins also came for De Kock in the Woolavington 2000, in which he sprung a surprise aboard Viva Maria, and the Golden Slipper on Rumya. Delpech has ridden with success in Mauritius, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. He has been part of the Protea side in all four of the International Jockeys Challenges. He weighs in at a light-weight 52.5kg.



Pierre Strydom

Piere has won more than 4,000 races in an illustrious career – including all four of South Africa’s premier races at least once – and taken the South African jockeys’ title five times. The “Blond Bombshell” has also ridden with great success in Australia, Dubai, England and Hong Kong. A participant in all four of the International Jockeys’ Challenges held so far, he won the individual title two years ago. He is one of the few jockeys in the world to have booted home seven winners at one meeting. He finished fourth on the national jockeys’ log last season when his Grade 1 victories included the country’s premier race, the Vodacom Durban July, aboard Pomodoro – his third win in the race. His other G1 wins were L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate aboard Gimmethegreenlight, the Computaform Sprint (Shea Shea) and the Premier’s Champion Stakes (The Hangman). His minimum riding weight is 53kg.



Muzi Yeni

A journeyman jockey who knows how to rise to the big occasion and one of the most popular riders in the country, Muzi has scored more than 550 wins in his career. He has broken the century barrier in his last two seasons and finished seventh on the jockeys’ log last season with 112 wins. He won one Grade 1 race last season – the Champions Cup aboard Master Plan (on whom he also won the Gold Circle Derby). That was only his second win at the highest level after he booted home Happy Landing in the President’s Champions Challenge last year. His only off-shore international experience came when he rode in an international jockeys’ invitational in Korea in 2010 and he notched a winner at the meeting. He first rode in the International Jockeys’ Challenge in 2010 when he was the leading rider after the Turffontein leg. He rides at a minimum of 50kg



Jeff Lloyd

Jeff is an exciting addition to the Protea team this year. The London-born South African, who won six local jockeys’ titles and another five in Mauritius, has been in the No 1 box more than 4,500 times. The only big race in South Africa to have eluded him is the Durban July – he rode Chesalon into third in this year’s race and enjoyed a winner on the day, War Horse in the Golden Horseshoe. He emigrated to Australia in 2007 and subsequently moved to Hong Kong in 2008. Earlier this year he was offered an important position riding in Queensland for the powerful Patinack stable and has made a huge impact since returning to Australia. His winners have included the Group 1 Tatt’s Tiara on Pear Tart, who he also booted to victory in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas. He has a realistic chance of taking the Queensland jockeys’ title this season. Widely travelled, he has also ridden in Singapore (14 winners), Germany, England (seven winners) and Macau. A natural light weight, he can ride at 51kg.



S’manga Khumalo

Is arguably one of the most underrated riders on the South African racing circuit but knows how to make the most of limited opportunities. He regularly has more than one winner a meeting with his most successful days coming when he rode five winners at a Kimberley fixture as well as booting home the winners of all four legs of the Jackpot at Fairview. Last season was not his most successful, although he did keep the winners ticking over. His biggest win of the term was in the Nursery at Borrowdale in Harare aboard Diamond Class. So far this season he is doing much better and is currently eighth on the national jockeys’ log. He got early feature-race score on the board by winning the Diamond Stayers at Kimberley aboard Sir Lowry. He has ridden in Australia, Kenya and Zimbabwe and can weigh in at 48.5kg.


The International Jockey Challenge event


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