To all black JOCKEYS
CHAMP S’manga Khumalo on a victory ride after his Durban July win
Jockey S’manga Khumalo and last month’s Vodacom Durban July winning horse, Legislate, took centre stage at the 2014 Equus Awards ceremony at Emperors Palace on Wednesday night.
Khumalo – the winner of last year’s July where he rode Heavy Metal to victory – won the coveted Jockey of the Year Award.
In doing so, he became the first black jockey in South Africa to win the award.
His win in the July was also the first time a black jockey had won in the history of the 116-year-old race.
Legislate won the Three-Year-Old Colt and Champion Middle-Distance Horse (1 800m-2 200m) and Horse of the Year awards.
A late bloomer, Khumalo (29) from KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal, didn’t even know there was something called a jockey until the age of 14.
Fresh from the UK where he rode in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot on Saturday, Khumalo attributed his success to hard work and dedication. “There are many other black jockeys in the industry, but not all of them are successful,” said the man who notched up 185 wins from July last year. “You need to put in a lot of hard work, be dedicated and get good horses and win. You actually get out what you put in.”
The Shergar Cup is Britain’s premier jockeys’ competition. Khumalo raced against “top jockeys from all over the world” and rode a fourth and second place in two races.
While there, he managed to catch up with Heavy Metal and leading South African trainer Mike de Kock, who are now resident there.
Khumalo has brought a breath of fresh air to the sport. He is fondly known as Bling because of his blond hair and shiny ear studs. But he said there was just one missing piece in his domestic puzzle.
“I want to win the J&B Met,” he said. “Having won the Sansui Summer Cup (2012) and the Vodacom July last year, it is the only local big race I haven’t won.”
BLING IT ON S’manga Khumalo is the first black jockey to win the Jockey of the Year Award