At 41, jockey Chamu Mabaya is not in the flush of youth. Yet when it comes to work rider events he finds his services in constant demand.

Harare-born Mabaya began his career working for trainer Paul Matchett in 1997 and four years later, when the stable relocated to SA, he made the move as well.

Mabaya has a full book of rides at Thursday’s Work Riders meeting at the Vaal, four of them for the powerful Mike de Kock stable.

The two outstanding mounts for Mabaya appear to be Golden Spoon in the third race and Bend Not Break in the final leg of the jackpot. The former is a daughter of Vercingetorix and the latter a daughter of one of the planet’s best-known stallions, Invincible Spirit.

Golden Spoon started favourite for her recent debut at Turffontein when she ran on to fill fourth place behind Theatre Of Dreams. The filly will appreciate stepping up to 1,200m.

The opposition includes Steve Moffatt’s consistent filly Meet The Captain while Sean Tarry introduces a well-bred newcomer in Moobheera. She is a daughter of Var and has another talented work rider Joe Gwingwizha in the saddle.

It is a question of Mabaya versus Gwingwizha in the seventh race and, if the betting is any guide, it looks a match race between De Kock’s import Bend Or Break and Matchett’s runner Chenopod.

Bend Not Break lost valuable ground at the start of her race at Turffontein at the beginning of January and will take some pegging back if she gets away on terms. In time, she is going to be a valuable addition to the mares ranks at Mary Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift Stud.

Now aged 23, Invincible Spirit is still going strong and stands in Ireland at a fee of €80,000. He returned an average of €293,000 at Book 1 of Tattersalls Sales in 2020 and his daughter Nazeef won both the grade 1 Falmouth Stakes and grade 1 Sun Chariot Stakes.

With two recent seconds to her name, Cheopod has suddenly found her form after a number of unplaced runs at the beginning of her career. She may have to settle for the runner-up berth once again.

The final round of Mabaya versus Gwingwizha comes in the eighth race with the former on the Aussie-bred filly Masaaken and the latter partnering Track Commander for Tarry.

A renowned judge of horseflesh, Tarry must have been taken by Track Commander as Chris van Niekerk had to go to R2.4m to secure the son of Gimmethegreenlight. At this stage, the breeder has got the better of the deal but the costly colt could take this 2,000m race en route to better things.

The Paul Peter stable was among the winners again on Tuesday and will be looking to three-year-old filly Lotus to end a frustrating run of seconds when she takes on nine rivals in the sixth race.

With the daughter of Flower Alley running second in each of her last four starts, she is not one to risk the rent on. Punters should include Lyrical Dance, Senescence and Dutchessburnedette in their exotic perms.

One of the smallest Met fields in the long history of the race will face the starter at Kenilworth on January 30. However, the field of 11 runners includes all the leading fancies — Belgarion, Rainbow Bridge, Golden Ducat, Do It Again, Queen Supreme and Princess Calla.


1st Race: (2) Lazy Guy (1) Sonny Quinn (6) Racing Man (9) Cephas

2nd Race: (2) Jam Fancy (13) Ruby Woo (3) Broadway Babe (1) Princess Sabrina

3rd Race: (10) Golden Spoon (3) Meet The Captain (12) Moobheera (8) Signed And Sealed

4th Race: (5) Bit Of Fun (1) Inherit The Rain (13) Differentiate (9) Flying Bull

5th Race: (8) Ushuaia (7) Parallax (6) Major Winter (2) Irish Rain

6th Race: (2) Lotus (9) Lyrical Dance (3) Dutchessburnadette (1) Senescence

7th Race: (3) Bend Not Break (4) Chenopod (5) Grace Lu (1) Wishonaire

8th Race: (10) Track Commander (11) Masaaken (1) Leading Lad (2) Ball Rolling

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