Mark van Deventer: Jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe is on the disabled list for about a month as he gives an injured shoulder time to heal.
The shoulder had been troubling him for some time and he did not have vigorous use of his arm as a result – a recent MRI scan revealed a tear in the rotator cuff. His doctor has advised rest and physiotherapy to promote recovery. Taking a break from riding during August, one of the quieter spells on the racing programme, suits Fayd Herbe, who wants to get back to full function by spring when the action starts to hot up in the Cape.
Injuries are an occupational hazard for all race-riders and Fayd Herbe has endured his share of broken noses, feet, fingers and even a fractured back. Tall for a jockey, he has also fought an arduous battle with the scales but has remained totally dedicated to a profession he was virtually born into as a grandson of the famous hoop Tiger Wright.
The 35-year-old jockey, who grew up in Madagascar, has long been one of the most dependable around, sustaining high strike rates with a variety of trainers. His association with Mike Bass was filled with success, notably with legendary galloper Pocket Power. Over the last few months he’s enjoyed another productive partnership with Justin Snaith.
The two big horses he’s ridden this past season come from those respective barns. Marinaresco sensationally won the Vodacom Durban July under top weight for Bass Racing, which is now run by Candice Bass-Robinson, whilst high-class Snaith inmate African Night Sky reprised Pocket Power’s feat in sweeping the Winter Series at Kenilworth.
Fayd’Herbe typically downplays these winning achievements, saying for example that it was “just luck” that things fell so perfectly into place for Marinaresco. There is some truth in that comment as many variables in a stampede like the Durban July are out of a jockey’s hands. Yet, that ride also showcased the modestly spoken Fayd’Herbe’s range of attributes. He possesses a keen understanding of the peculiar quirks of the horse he is riding, a big-race temperament, the capacity to precisely execute clever riding tactics and the ability to really get stuck in with a forceful finish.
Smart horseplayers are also alert to him being booked for rides with smaller yards. To illustrate, in the past he was deadly when engaged to ride ready horses primed by conditioners such as Mike Stewart and family friend Neil Bruss. Recently he’s been doing well on Joey Ramsden’s horses.
Always willing to travel and ply his trade around the racing world, Fayd Herbe is also an active partner in Green Street Bloodstock, together with Justin Vermaak. They actively promote the syndication concept to make ownership more affordable, with their company involved in various aspects of bloodstock selection and racehorse management.
Not only do they have an expanding presence in South Africa, but they also buy New Zealand and Australian thoroughbreds to race in Singapore, trained by up-and-coming 31-year-old horseman James Peters.
So, while taking time out from riding to let his shoulder heal, Fayd’Herbe remains engrossed in the game, seeking to convert potential owners and trying to find these syndicate members that next champion racehorse.