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Who Is The Most Successful South African Jockey Of All-Time?

Who Is The Most Successful South African Jockey Of All-Time?
Racing in South Africa has been popular throughout history, with the notable races of the season taking place at Greyville in July.
The Durban July brings together the best in racing as they compete for the highest honour in South Africa on the turf. 

For South Africans, this month is as important as May is for the Kentucky Derby odds, as Twinspires.com can testify.

While the horses are the stars of the show, the winners couldn’t be crowned if it wasn’t for the skilled jockeys onboard these runners. But, who is the most successful jockey in the history of South African racing?

• Weichong Marwing

The Marwing family are renowned for their skills with horses. Weichong is one of the most prominent South African jockeys, while his brother, Michael, is a renowned trainer in the same country. 

During his career, Weichong has recorded multiple Group One wins. That includes wins in the Champions Mile, Hong Kong Derby and the Hong Kong Mile; all in 2002.

As well as that, he has won the Hong Kong Gold Cup, Dubai Duty-Free Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup. He is most fondly remembered for his rides onboard Ouija Board in the latter of those races. He revealed after his retirement that Asiatic Boy was the best horse that he rode, as he won his second United Arab Emirates Derby on board the thoroughbred.

• Felix Coetzee

It’s impossible to look past the three-time champion jockey in South Africa when evaluating the best jockeys in the history of the country. He won his first significant race aged 16, when he rode Kentford to success in the Clairwood Winter Handicap. Following that he went on to win significant races across Asia and Africa. He won the Rothmans July Handicap on three occasions and the Greyville Gold Cup seven times.

He won J&B Metropolitan Stakes on five occasions, and the Sprinters Stakes, Hong Kong Gold Cup and Dubai Golden Shaheen once. He has been named the Champion South Africa jockey on three separate occasions (1985, 1988, 1990). His best rides came on board Silent Witness, as he won multiple Group One races onboard the legendary World Champion Sprinter.

• Anthony Delpech

If a jockey still holds a record despite retiring multiple seasons ago, then it is incredibly hard to look past them when comparing the best South African jockeys. Delpech still has the record for the most winners in one season, and he set that in the 1998-99 season when he rode 334 winning rides. He won the South African Champion jockey accolade on two separate occasions (1999 and 2003) and has many major wins to his name.

Delpech won four Durban July Handicap races, with the last of those coming in 2011. During his career, he also won the Hong Kong Derby, Queen Elizabeth II Cup, Hong Kong Champions &Chater Cup and the Dubai Sheema Classic. Delpech will be most fondly remembered for his success onboard Vengeance of Rain, who he rode to success in the 2005 Hong Kong Cup and the 2007 Dubai Sheema Classic.

It is hard to accurately predict who the best horse racing jockey from South Africa is, as they have all given so much to the sport throughout their careers. Instead of trying to compare all of them, it would be easier to appreciate how interesting they made the sport throughout their time on the turf.
All of them added so much enjoyment and interest to the biggest races, and the sport wouldn’t be as successful in South Africa as it is right now without them.

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