South Africa Racing – Keep an eye on Kabelo

Jockey Kabelo Matsunyane (Credits to South African Jockey Academy)
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Clive Robinson

Jockey Kabelo Matsunyane might not be on every South African trainer’s radar, but he should be.

With 53 winners to his name three days before the end of the local season, he is guaranteed a spot in the top-20 on the jockeys’ log.

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Unfortunately for the young man, he has often had to make way for his more illustrious peers whenever a horse’s career skyrockets.

A case in point is the winner of this year’s Hollywoodbets Durban July, won by Sparkling Water.

It was indeed Matsunyane who steered this filly to her first Graded success in the Grade 3 Victory Moon Stakes in November last year – his first time aboard the Mike de Kock-trained runner.

He retained the ride in the Summer Cup, but a disappointing ninth-place finish saw him making way for S’manga Khumalo, who has become her regular jockey.

By the way, the Summer Cup was postponed due to inclement weather and saw a host of long-shots filling the podium.

On Thursday 4 August, Matsunyane gets the rare opportunity to complete a treble when eight races are scheduled to be contested at the Vaal racecourse.

He only has three rides, but all three have the credentials to score.

In Race 2, a Maiden Plate over 1600m, he partners Clap Of Thunder for trainer Brett Crawford.

Matsunayne has ridden this Rafeef gelding three times for three runner-up finishes, and the pair look set to get it right this time despite a few strong challengers in Atticus Finch and Central City.

In Race 3, a Graduation Plate for three-year-olds over 1450, Matsunyane will do duty for trainer Stuart Pettigrew aboard Feather Boa.

After her thrilling victory in the card opener on July Day, when she came from last at the 400m marker to snatch an unlikely victory, the expectations are obviously much higher now.

Matsunyane’s treble could be completed in the last, a MR74 Handicap over 1600m, when he takes the reigns of Dawn Of A New Era for Erico Verdonese.

It’s been 562 days since this Louis The King gelding shed his maiden tag, but with Matsunyane aboard for the first time, he could double up.