To all black JOCK­EYS

CityPress - - Sport - S’BUSISO MSE­LEKU sm­se­leku@city­press.co.za PHOTO: ANESH DEBIKY / GALLO IM­AGES

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.”

PHOTO: MUNTU VI­LAKAZI

BLING IT ON S’manga Khu­malo is the first black jockey to win the Jockey of the Year Award

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