The teams for this year’s World Sports Betting International Jockey Challenge supported by Sun International and Air Mauritius, have been finalised.
Muzi Yeni will captain the South African team while Gavin Lerena, Warren Kennedy, Greg Cheyne, Callan Murray and S’manga Khumalo are the other riders to wear the green and gold silks.
The International Team will be captained by Rab Havlin (Scotland), with Paul Hanagan, Martin Dwyer, Hayley Turner (England), Andrea Atzeni (Italy) and Nooresh Juglall (Mauritius) his wingmen (and woman).
Muzi Yeni is a regular on the South African team competing in international jockey challenges. He is undoubtedly the most hard-working jockey in the country having saddled up 476 times since the start of the season in 1 August.
Gavin Lerena is no stranger to team racing, having represented SA in five International Jockey Challenges on home soil, winning the Longines International Jockey Challenge in 2015 in Hong Kong, and representing the Rest Of The World team at the Shergar Cup a few years back. He was SA champion jockey in the 2014-15 season.
Warren Kennedy currently leads the champion jockey log. Last season he broke through the 100 barrier mark, riding 139 winners at a strike rate of 12,2% and finished 7th on the log. Furthermore, he scored his first Grade 1 win, riding the Gavin van Zyl-trained Gabor to victory in the Thekwini Stakes over 1600m at Greyville on eLan Gold Cup day.
Greg Cheyne is well-travelled, having raced in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Korea and Macau. He boasts more than 100 international victories.
Callan Murray has proven that he has BMT – that’s big match temperament. Four months after being crowned Champion Apprentice for the 2015-16 season, he bagged a Grade 1 treble on Champions Day in 2018. He has also made his mark in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.
S’manga Khumalo was crowned South African champion jockey for the 2013-14 season. He repeated that feat in 2015-2016. He wrote his name in the history books in 2013 when becoming the first black jockey to win the prestigious Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July.
Rab Havlin was a member of Team UK at last year’s International Jockey Challenge in Singapore. He has ridden around 900 domestic winners, partnering more than 1000 winners worldwide – in countries like the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Singapore and South Africa.
Paul Hanagan has twice been crowned champion jockey on the Flat in Britain, riding 165 winners in 2011 to defend his title, having won his first title with 191 winners in 2010. Among his major wins are the British Champions Sprint Stakes Grade 1 with Muhaarar in 2015, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes Grade 1 with Taghrooda in 2014, the Grade 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere in France with Wootton Bassett in 2010 and the Grade 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen aboard Muarrab in 2016.
Martin Dwyer has recorded major wins worldwide, most notably aboard Phoenix Reach. They teamed up to win the Canadian International Stakes in 2003, the Hong Kong Vase in 2004 and the Dubai Sheema Classic in 2005. He has twice been the recipient of the Flat Ride of the Year award, in 2003 for winning the Jockey Club Cup with Persian Punch and in 2006 for his Vodafone Derby win upon Sir Percy.
Hayley Turner became the first woman to ride 100 United Kingdom Flat race winners during a calendar year in 2008. In fact, that year she was only one of five jockeys to ride in over 900 races in the UK. She currently has over 780 career wins. In 2011 Turner became the first female jockey to ride an outright Group 1 race winner in Britain, when partnering Dream Ahead in the Darley July Cup.
Andrea Atzeni won the St. Leger and Moyglare Stud Stakes in the same weekend in 2014, followed by the Dewhurst Stakes and his second successive Racing Post Trophy the following month. In 2015 he won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the Luca Cumani-trained Postponed and the St. Leger for a second successive year on Qatar Racing’s filly Simple Verse. He has won major races in France, Italy, Germany, UK, Republic of Ireland, UAE and Canada.
Nooresh Juglall honed his craft here in SA and won two champion apprentice jockey titles before spreading his wings to Singapore in 2014. He made an immediate impact, booting home his first winner, Majestic Moments, in his very first Kranji ride. The friendly Mauritian went on to ride a total of 217 winners in the city-state. Juglall enjoyed his best season in 2017 when he racked up 50 winners. He rode Twist Of Fate for trainer Joey Ramsden in this year’s Vodacom Durban July, finishing third, a mere 1.70 lengths behind Horse-of-the-Year Do It Again.
The World Sports Betting International Jockey Challenge supported by Sun International and Air Mauritius takes place at Turffontein on Saturday 16 November.