Bonginkosi Nkosi: Fear not, for although jockey Piere Strydom is confirmed to ride in Mauritius for the remainder of the season, his popular Form Focus Saturday column will not fall away.
It will be taken over by the highly talented and knowledgeable Muzi Yeni.
Considering Yeni has recorded 164 winners and landed 344 of his mounts in the first three places this season, Yeni is clearly the best candidate. Who better to give you betting advice than the man who has ridden more winners than any other jockey so far this season?
The column is meant to serve as the bridge connecting our loyal punters with a top-class jockey who dissects races and, most importantly, provides selections.
“I’m really looking forward to doing the column,” said an upbeat Yeni.
“I think it’s always great to help out the punter. I may not be as good a studier of form as Piere – these are big shoes to fill – but I work horses and, to be honest, what matters most to me is that I’m accurate in my selections.
“I want to be accurate for the punter.”
Yeni rides six or even seven days a week so it is difficult to argue with the notion that he is the hardest-working man in the country. Most people don’t know that he actually works horses every morning and also finds the time to book his own rides on the Highveld racing circuit.
Now that he will be doing the column, he may even break down why he has chosen to go with a specific horse or denied another – this will make life of the punter a lot easier.
“I don’t study form quite like Piere,” admitted Yeni, “but I’m in tune with many stables and go to track every morning. I study pace well and know racing – that’s my advantage – I was champion jockey in Joburg last season, have been champion jockey for 10 years in a row in Kimberley and have ridden more than 1,500 winners so I know what I’m taking about a bit.”
He currently leads the national jockeys’ championship log – one win ahead of Lyle Hewitson – but, unfortunately, he hasn’t ridden since suffering a nasty fall from Fiorella in the World Sports Betting 1900 on Saturday.
The great news, he confirmed, is that he will be back sooner than most expect.
“Fortunately, X-rays confirmed I didn’t break anything,” he assured. “It was a bad fall but luckily I just suffered concussion. I’m on the road to recovery and will hopefully be riding on the weekend.
“As far as the championship title race is concerned, there’s nothing you can do when you’re injured but it is really something I want to win. I have never won it before and as a jockey, when you look back at your career, that’s an accomplishment you need to have on your resume.”