Top jockeys to avenge defeat in SA

THE 2009 International Jockeys' Challenge will take place on November 21at Turffontein Racecourse.

THE 2009 International Jockeys' Challenge will take place on November 21at Turffontein Racecourse.

This year's team of international jockeys - led by the legendary Frankie Dettori of Italy - looks even stronger than last year's powerful line-up and will be going all out to avenge the defeat suffered at the hands of South Africa's top riders last year.

Apart from Dettori, another returning legend is Michael Kinane of Ireland - fresh from his memorable victory in the Prix de la Arc de Triomphe on Sea the Stars.

The other two riders returning to Johannesburg are Christophe Soumillon of Belgium and Darryl Holland of England. The two new faces this year are Richard Hughes of Ireland and a leading Turkish jockey, who will be confirmed later this week.

The jockeys to represent South Africa will be announced on October 27.

Andrew Fortune, the reigning South African champion jockey, will be the manager of the South African team - thus guaranteeing him national colours. Fortune is currently recovering from injury and will not be able to ride on the day.

There will be a draw for mounts in each of the four challenge races and the runners will be seeded beforehand in order to equalise the chances of the two teams as much as possible.

Chairperson of The Racing Association Larry Wainstein was instrumental in ensuring that the 2009 International Jockeys' Challenge would go ahead without a main sponsor.

"We have worked incredibly hard to ensure that this great event continues and we are delighted to have the biggest names in horseracing on the day. We wish both the Internationals and our South Africa team all the best," Wainstein said.

Phumelela Gold Enterprises (PGE) spokesperson Peter Benton said he was pleased to welcome the international jockeys back to South Africa after the success of last year in particular, to the Turkish leading jockey who will be joining the line up for the first time.

Benton said that the Turkish Jockey Club "had become an important simulcast partner to PGE and we look forward to its participation".

" PGE exports racing to more than 44 countries daily across six continents and welcomes the diversity of the international group of jockeys.

"We anticipate a tough challenge from our local boys in defending their crown," Benton said.