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In terms of sporting tuition, it is similar to Gary Player taking a promising young golfer under his wing.
Muis Roberts — one of SA's most famous jockeys — spotted a talent in female rider Rachel Venniker and has been solely responsible for launching her career on an upward path.
Latest Winning Form statistics (to October 11) show Venniker has ridden 13 winners from 95 mounts in the first 10 weeks of the new season and she can showcase her ability with five rides at Turffontein on Saturday.
Just for the record, Roberts is 11-times champion jockey of SA and won the UK jockeys championship in 1992.
In an interview with Gold Circle, Roberts said: “Racing is a very tough and dangerous sport but I saw so much talent in her [Venniker]. She lives for racing and deserves to be given a chance.
“I was going to give her a few rides and see how it went, but it turned into a fairytale,” he added.
Venniker, who hails from a family of showjumpers, has three mounts with chances at the city track — Mamaquera (fifth race), Mauby (seventh) and Twin Turbo (ninth).
Unfortunately, in the fifth race, the hat-trick seeking Mamaquera bumps into two improving fillies in Just Fabulous and Juliet Tango and the first-named appeals as an attractive bet at her early odds of 7-2.
Venniker’s 4kg claim will help the cause of Erico Verdonese’s mare, but Just Fabulous lived up to her name on debut and has the advantage of pole position. She is a daughter of Varsfontein Stud’s five-time winner Sunsational.
Juliet Tango has joined the Azzie camp from Ashley Fortune’s stable and she justified favouritism in her third start. Joshwin Solomons’ claim will reduce the filly’s impost to 52.5kg.
There is an intriguing clash between two promising three-year-olds, Indelible and Aragosta, in the final leg of the jackpot.
Indelible is one of 33 horses previously owned by Chris van Niekerk who are now sporting the colours of the Hollywood Syndicate. This Pomodoro colt impressed when winning her maiden and will not have been a cheap purchase for her new owners as he cost R300,000 as a yearling.
Aragosta, who is better drawn than Indelible, represents the powerful Mike de Kock stable and has not been seen in action since winning at the city track in May. The market will be the best guide to his chance.
Of the other runners, four-year-old Flying Bull may battle to give weight to the three-year-olds while Iron Will — like stablemate Psycho King at Greyville on Wednesday — fluffed his lines last time out.
Venniker goes to scale at 53.5kg so will be unable to claim her 4kg allowance on Diane Stenger’s filly Mauby in the seventh race. This is a pity as the four-year-old would have been an attractive bet with 49.5kg on her back.
Nevertheless, Mauby could still notch the third win of her career provided she can beat S’manga Khumalo’s mount Opera Glass. The Flower Alley filly is enjoying an excellent year for trainer Stephen Moffatt and boasts two wins and two seconds in her past four outings.
Southern Song did beat Opera Glass in her penultimate start but then finished last of seven in a race won by Super Handsome. Saturday’s race represents a drop in class but the filly may battle to concede weight to both Mauby and Opera Glass.
Perhaps the pick of Venniker’s quintet of rides is Twin Turbo who has been in good form all year for Fabian Habib’s stable. She can claim three of her 4kg allowance which means the gelding will carry the light weight of 53.5kg.
The opposition includes City By The Sea — seeking a third consecutive win — Theory Of Flight and Laird Of Breedon. The latter needs to bounce back after a disappointing performance last time out.
1st Race: (9) Insatiable (6) Amicus Curiae (3) Moonstrike (10) No Time Is Taken
2nd Race: (2) Shangani (1) Captain Chorus (6) Afraad (4) Apollo Robbins
3rd Race: (9) Courageous Cat (1) Chariot Master (2) King’s Spear (10) Displace Time
4th Race: (5) Country Flame (2) Burmese Tiara (9) Maria’s World (7) Thunder Shower
5th Race: (7) Just Fabulous (8) Juliet Tango (2) Mamaquera (5) Eternity Ring
6th Race: (1) Princess Kesh (3) Masaaken (5) Olympic Silk (6) Dutchessburnedette
7th Race: (6) Mauby (5) Opera Glass (4) She’s A Cracker (3) Franklin
8th Race: (5) Indelible (3) Aragosta (1) Flying Bull (4) Flying Grace
9th Race: (7) Twin Turbo (1) City By The Sea (2) Theory Of Flight (6) Laird Of Breedon
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.