Jock­eys Chal­lenge comes un­der fire

The Star Early Edition - - RACING - MICHAEL CLOWER

STEPS will be taken to en­sure a higher stan­dard of over­seas rid­ers in next year’s In­ter­na­tional Jock­eys Chal­lenge after crit­i­cism of some of those tak­ing part this time.

Joey Rams­den de­scribed Turk­ish jockey Yasin Pilav­cilar as “ab­so­lutely appalling’’ and the Sport­ing Post com­mented that “when the stan­dards drop to the level of some of the ‘stars’ that rode at Turf­fontein and Ke­nil­worth then it is time to call it a day."

Rac­ing As­so­ci­a­tion boss Larry Wain­stein, who chairs the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee, said yes­ter­day: "One of the spon­sors is Phumelela In­ter­na­tional which shows our rac­ing in Turkey and they feel it would help if there is a jockey from there.

"In fact Turk­ish cham­pion Halas Karatas was asked to come again but he turned us down as his wife passed away and the num­ber two couldn't make it. Pilav­cilar was a last-minute re­place­ment. But in fu­ture, un­less we can get the top guys, we will say to spon­sors that we would rather look else­where."

Wain­stein - "I am still try­ing to take the knives out of my back" - added that the likes of Kieren Fal­lon, Richard Hughes, Olivier Pes­lier and Michel Barza­lona were ap­proached but for one rea­son or another they were un­able or un­will­ing to come. It was Hughes who sug­gested invit­ing James Doyle, Adam Kirby and Martin Har­ley, say­ing: “They are top up-and-com­ing jock­eys.’’

Wain­stein was crit­i­cal of train­ers for not sup­port­ing the in­ter­na­tional races bet­ter and pointed out that a num­ber of them didn't fill. He added that in an ideal world he would in­vite top Amer­i­can and Aus­tralian jock­eys as well as those from Europe “but we don’t have a spon­sor­ing air­line for those coun­tries to pay part of the flight costs and we have to work within the con­straints of our bud­gets.’’

He pledged that, de­spite the crit­i­cism and the Sport­ing Post's sug­ges­tion to call it a day, the se­ries will con­tinue.

He said: “The jock­eys who come here love it and, when they go back home, they tell peo­ple about South African rac­ing. They also say that they have never been treated so well. What an ad­ver­tise­ment that is. It makes it worth ev­ery rand we spend. I have a pas­sion for this in­ter­na­tional se­ries and, if peo­ple are go­ing to crit­i­cise me, then so be it. I've just got to keep my chin up and go for it.’’

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