south african horse racingInternational Jockeys’ Challenge

Freeracer reports that Frankie Dettori and Mick Kinane, two of the biggest names in horseracing, are among the six international jockeys who will clash with South Africa’s top riders in the International Jockeys’ Challenge at the Steinhoff International Summer Cup race meeting at Turffontein Racecourse in Johannesburg on Saturday 29 November.

The international team contains champions from several countries including the UK, France and Australia. The full team is Frankie Dettori (England), Mick Kinane (Ireland), Ryan Moore (England), Damien Oliver (Australia), Srinath Surender (India) and Christophe Soumillon (France).

Italian-born Frankie Dettori has become a legend in his own lifetime and is the most famous jockey in the world. He is the retained rider for Godolphin, the banner under which the rulers of Dubai race, and has won virtually every major race in the world including the Epsom Derby, the Dubai World Cup, the Breeders’ Cup Turf in the USA, the Japan Cup and the Arc de Triomphe.

Like Frankie Dettori, Irish-born Mick Kinane has long been regarded as one of the best jockeys on the planet and has won the Irish Jockeys’ Championship a record 13 times. He, too, has won major races in a string of countries including the Epsom Derby twice, the Arc de Triomphe, the Belmont Stakes and the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most famous race,

Ryan Moore was champion apprentice in the UK in 2003 and went on to clinch the British Jockeys’ Championship in 2006, when he booted home 180 winners. Injury put paid to his chances of retaining the title last year, but he currently holds a commanding lead in the race for this year’s UK jockeys’ title.

Belgium-born Christophe Soumillon has been a dominant figure in French racing for years. He was champion apprentice there in 1999 and won the French Jockeys’ Championship in 2003 with 207 winners. His major successes include the Arc de Triomphe, the Breeders’ Cup Turf, the Dubai Duty Free and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in England.

Srinath Surender has won the jockeys’ title in India no fewer than five times and has won virtually all the major races in that country. He has ridden over 900 winners from 2800 rides, including some 40 successes in Macau.

Damien Oliver is a household name in Australia and has won 80 Group 1 races, including the Melbourne Cup  twice, four Caulfield Cups, two Cox Plates and a Golden Slipper to complete the Grand Slam of Australian Racing. He has won the Melbourne Jockeys’ Premiership on seven occasions and ridden with success in New Zealand, Mauritius, Hong Kong, Japan, Ireland and England.

The international riders will compete against South Africa’s best jockeys in a thrilling four-race challenge on Steinhoff Summer Cup day. It will be the first international jockeys’ contest in South Africa in some 20 years and JSE-listed Phumelela, which operates horseracing and/or tote betting in seven of South Africa’s nine provinces, is proud to have been able to secure such a formidable international team.

The riders to represent South Africa will be selected in the near future. Phumelela has asked the National Horseracing Authority, an autonomous national body that is responsible for ensuring that all races are run according to the rules of horseracing, to choose the team.

There will be a draw for mounts in each of the challenge races and the runners will be seeded beforehand in order to equalise the chances of the two teams as much as is possible.

The International Jockeys’ Challenge will be one of the highlights of a glorious afternoon of horseracing action on 29 November. The R2-million Steinhoff Summer Cup, one of the most famous races on the South African racing calendar, is the headline event and is certain to produce a memorable battle between many of the best thoroughbreds in the country.

Several other major races will also be run and there’s no doubt that the afternoon will live up to its billing of “Joburg’s Golden Event”.

“We are excited with the big names we have secured for the international team and are grateful to the Racing Association for their assistance and support,” said Phumelela’s Group CEO Rian du Plessis.

Larry Wainstein, chairman of the Racing Association that represents the interests of racehorse owners in Phumelela in making the International Jockeys’ Challenge a reality and believe that the day will quickly become a mega event on Joburg’s sporting calendar.”

Derrik Matthew, Marketing Executive of Steinhoff International Group Services, said: “It is a privilege to be associated with the Summer Cup - an event which is more than 100 years old. With the initiatives undertaken and the commitment shown by all concerned we are excited that this event will receive the prestigious recognition it deserves and be established as an annual event not to be missed!”

The International Jockeys’ Challenge will incorporate several co-sponsors. Lufthansa has already come on board as the official carrier and will be flying the international jockeys to South Africa “Steinhoff is one of Lufthansa’s leading clients in South Africa and by co-sponsoring this prestigious event we are emphasising our commitment to this partnership” explains Gabriel Leupold, Director Southern Eastern Africa. “With Lufthansa’s extensive international route network feeding into our daily flights from Frankfurt to Johannesburg, we are ideal partners that can add value to the International Jockeys’ Challenge by flying in the jockeys”

Phumelela’s General Manager Marketing and Communications, Robert Garner, said the jockeys’ challenge would capture the imagination of horseracing fans and the general public alike.

“It’s South Africa versus the world and brings international horseracing to our shores, something that has been lacking for years,” said Robert Garner. “Our jockeys have been champions across the globe from Michael Roberts in the UK to Bartie Leisher, Basil Marcus and Douglas Whyte in Hong Kong, and we believe the whole country will get behind our jockeys on the big day.” regulations make it extremely difficult to stage an international horse race in South Africa currently, so instead we have gone for an international jockeys challenge. It should be a fabulous afternoon and we are delighted to be staging the event in conjunction with regions, said: “We are delighted to have been able to assist