THE mercurial S’Manga Khumalo, a hero to some and a villain to others, will have a ride in the 2016 Vodacom Durban July after all.
Khumalo, who won the 2013 “July” on Heavy Metal, has been declared to ride Trophy Wife for trainer Sean Tarry, after Mike Azzie had withdrawn Rabada on Wednesday morning, citing insufficient recover time for the gelding after his run in last Sunday’s KZN Breeders Million Mile.
Khumalo was heavily criticised for failing to ride Captain Courteous out when the colt was in a clear winning position in the final stages of the third race at Fairview last Friday, and was fired as their regular travelling jockey by Justin Snaith’s stable as a result.
Trophy Wife’s inclusion would have brought relief to Tarry, who was furious after they’d left her out of the initially declared field and said: “Not only was she beaten only two lengths by Met winner Smart Call at Turffontein in November, she was third behind the same horse in last season’s Woolavington and, more recently, won the Gr 2 Gerald Rosenberg Stakes – tell me how they can leave her out?”
Khumalo is 25 winners clear of Anthony Delpech in the 2015/16 South African Jockeys’ Championship and looks almost certain to secure his second National Title.