Lucky No 27 ... Transformation flourishing in horse racing industry
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CAPE TOWN - She's A Keeper could well be the housewives’ choice for this year's Vodacom Durban July for more reasons than one.
Not only is she a female, but she, along with Matterhorn and Tristful, could provide KwaZulu-Natal with a first win in the race for 27 years, the last being the Ricky Maingard-trained Space Walk in 1994.
The number 27 is of significance because the democracy in South Africa began 27 years ago with Nelson Mandela as the first president, who was also kept in prison for 27 years by the previous apartheid regime.
Transformation is making steady progress in horseracing, despite it traditionally being known as an elitist sport.
S'Manga Khumalo became the first black jockey to win the Vodacom Durban July in 2013 on Heavy Metal and is twice a South African champion jockey.
He will be one of four black jockeys in the July this year, the others being Muzi Yeni, Luyolo Mxothwa and Kabelo Matsunyane.
Yeni, who has finished second in the national jockey’s championship twice, rides the favourite Got The Greenlight.
Furthermore, three other jockeys, Grant van Niekerk, Sean Veale and Serino Moodley, are from previously disadvantaged groups.
Van Niekerk was unlucky to not win the July as an apprentice when a narrow second on rank outsider Smanjemanje in 2014 and made a big impact when riding in probably the world's most competitive arena, Hong Kong, for a couple of seasons.
Fancied runner Kommetdieding can become the first Coloured-owned winner for Ashwin Reynolds although the first across the line in 2014 Wylie Hall would have achieved this feat for Michael Leaf if a subsequent objection had not been upheld.
The favourite Got The Greenlight can become the first Indian-owned and/or Coloured-owned winner. He is owned by Dayalan Chinsammy and Hassan Adams respectively in partnership with trainer Joe Soma.
The chief starter for the day will be Solly Ngobo and the chief stipendiary steward will be Deanthan Moodley.
The grooms will also be looking forward to the day.
In October 2019 Gold Circle and Hollywoodbets launched an initiative to pay the winning Groom of every race in KZN R1000.
Jonsson Workwear have been rewarding the best dressed groom of each race in KwaZulu Natal with a R500 Jonsson Workwear voucher and this initiative is running from April 4 to July 31.
In addition, Jonsson Workwear will reward the trainer, jockey and groom of the horse that wins the 2021 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes, run on Vodacom Durban July day, with a R5000 voucher each.
The racing operator in KZN, Gold Circle, is also well represented at board level.
Former chairperson Phumla Mnganga is now vice chairperson and the directors include Manana Nhalnhla, Babu Nunan, Christine Moodley and Mayesh Chetty.