YENI SHINES FOR HOSTS IN FIRST LEG OF AIR MAURITIUS INTERNATIONAL JOCKEYS’ CHALLENGE
Team South Africa will take a commanding lead into the second leg of the Air Mauritius International Jockeys’s Challenge at Turffontein on Sunday thanks, in part to the efforts of Muzi Yeni.
A winner in the final of the four races, when steering True Master home, at Fairview on Friday afternoon saw the likeable rider snatch Victor Ludorum honours from teammate Gavin Lerena.
After finishing seventh on his first two rides, a fourth place and the victory was enough to propel him to an individual tally of 52 points, seven more than Lerena after he had contributed with a winner in the opening race of this year’s competition.
“I am honoured to have taken the Victor Ludorum,” Yeni said after taking the mantle as the day’s top rider. South Africa dominated the final race of the day’s contest filling the first three places.
After one race there was a healthy gap of 30 points between the two sides thanks with Gavin Lerena winning aboard Cardinal, keeping his mount going despite dropping his stick, while Anthony Delpech and Grant van Niekerk filled third and fourth.
“It’s a great start for South Africa and it’s nice to get on the board for the team,” Lerena said after his win.
Scottish jockey Robert Havlin was the only visiting rider to make a significant contribution, finishing second for 12 points.
But a Pat Cosgrave winner pulled it back significantly. The win wasn’t without drama though as Cosgrave’s mount, Reef Of Fortune, had to survive an objection.
“It’s great to be back. I love coming to South Africa. It’s a great culture, great racing and great people,” Cosgrave, making another trip out for this event, said afterwards.
The visitors followed up as French jockey Aurelien Lemaitre provided trainer Sharon Kotzen with a first winner when winning impressively aboard Treize in the Racing. It’s A Rush FM 67 Divided Handicap for fillies and mares.
It proved to be something of a slog for both captains with Frankie Dettori and S’manga Khumalo finishing on 15 and 16 points respectively although both appear to have strong claims on Sunday’s card.
Final points tally
South Africa - 226
Internationals - 174
1 Muzi Yeni - 52 points
2 Gavin Lerena - 45 points
3 Grant van Niekerk - 42 points
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