Goodman Dadamasi is galloping ahead of the pack in the 2018 Work Riders’ Challenge, which comes down to the wire with the third and final leg of the series at Turffontein on Saturday.
Dadamasi sits on 75 points after the first two legs, while his closest challenger – and a former champion – Chamu Mabaya has 57 points. Phelisile Mongqawa is third on 45 points.
Dadamasi has been ultra-consistent this year – with 37 points in the first leg and 38 in the second. However, forecast betting for most of his rides on Saturday suggest he might battle to match those efforts.
His best chance seems to be in Race 7, with the Geoff Woodruff-trained The Mars Man, who has been posted as a 9-2 second favourite by Computaform.
In terms of the early odds, Dadamasi’s next best is Torpedo Man (5-1) in the second on the card.
By contrast, Mabaya has two short-priced mounts from the Mike de Kock yard: Hurricane Lass (7-10) in Race 3 and Alnasl (15-10) in Race 8.
Sam Mosia and Francis Semela, who battled it out in the 2016 and 2017 challenges, both have a few promising rides and could make a late run for glory.
The Work Riders’ Challenge, which carries a total purse of R50,000, is run by former champion jockey-turned-trainer James Maree. Held over three full race meetings, it was introduced in 2008 by Phumelela, the Racing Association and the Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust to showcase the talents of riders who have graduated from the Work Riders’ Training Programme.
Riders score points for their finishing positions and the rider who scores the most points in each of the three legs gets R5,000. The rider who accumulates the most points over all three meetings gets R20,000. The runner-up wins R10,000 and the third rider R5,000.