Yeni can become second black jockey to win Durban July
Getting the ride on Got The Greenlight is a stroke of good fortune
If the form of jockeys of colour is any guideline, 33-year-old Muzi Yeni has a chance of becoming the second black jockey to win the Vodacom Durban July when he rides Got The Greenlight in Saturday’s big race at Hollywoodbets Greyville.
Seven years ago S’manga Khumalo rode Heavy Metal to a famous victory for trainer Sean Tarry and Chris van Niekerk.
To say the past 12 months have been turbulent for Yeni would be an understatement. He lost out by four winners to Lyle Hewitson for the jockey’s title and was then slapped with a 90-day ban for an incident involving the same rider. Despite the suspension, Yeni has moved into seventh place in the national log, but will finish far off his 2018/2019 season total of 215 winners.
It was a memorable meeting for jockeys of colour at Kenilworth last Saturday with Robert Khathi, Sihle Cele and Joshwin Solomons all riding doubles. Yeni chipped in 24 hours later when piloting trainer Paul Matchett’s filly Running Brave to victory in the R500,000 KZN Breeders Mile at Greyville.
It was a result that stunned most form pundits as the daughter of Brave Tin Soldier was beaten nearly six lengths by Ronnie’s Candy in the recent Empress Club Stakes.
In the July, Yeni looked as if he’d be on one of the long shots until Lyle Hewitson announced he was switching from Got The Greenlight to Tarry’s runner Shango. No great surprise as the champion jockey gets the plum rides for the champion trainer.
Turffontein trainer Joe Soma was quick to inform the media that he had managed to secure Yeni for his Daily News 2000 winner adding that the jockey had ridden a number of feature winners for the stable. Got The Greenlight is a 15-2 chance with Belgarion and Rainbow Bridge the best backed of the fancied runners.
The combination of Alec Laird and Khumalo could be worth following at the Vaal on Tuesday with the stable possessing three strong chances — Blue Spark (third race), On Broadway (fourth) and Prince Evlanoff in the fifth.
After two seconds and a third in recent outings, Blue Spark is overdue a visit to the No 1 box and that could happen on Tuesday if Khumalo can fend off the challenges of Bravo One and Local Knowledge. On Broadway also looks ready to strike. Prince Evlanoff runs in a competitive race in which all of Var And Away, Seven Patriots and Lord Melbourne will have supporters.
The two bankers at the meeting could be Curvation (Piere Strydom) in the sixth race and Tarry’s filly Golden Belle in the seventh. Tarry has also accepted for Golden Belle to run in the ninth race at Saturday’s Durban July meeting at Greyville. If at the last minute, Golden Belle does not run and waits for the KZN, the finish is likely to mainly concern American Hustle, Down To Zero and Benji.
1st Race: (14) Wine Tasting (2) Ashanti (4) Happy Together (1) Spectral
2nd Race: (9) Captain Morisco (12) Vars Vicky (10) Marengo (3) Racing Man
3rd Race: (1) Blue Spark (2) Bravo One (5) Local Knowledge (10) Fifth Of July
4th Race: (4) On Broadway (1) Anaturk (6) Charming Lass (12) Princess Zena
5th Race: (9) Prince Evlanoff (3) Seven Patriots (12) Lord Melbourne (4) Var And Away
6th Race: (1) Curvation (4) Bold Ellie (5) Passion Peach (9) Dancewithadragon
7th Race: (9) Golden Belle (2) American Hustle (5) Down To Zero (4) Benji
8th Race: (6) Mistressofmyfate (4) We All Chomies (13) Orchid Express (8) Category Four
9th Race: (10) Persica (5) Soul Connection (6) Spanish Boy (3) Written In Stone
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