Calvin Habib’s initial goal for the season was to finish in the top five on the national log.
However, after a good start he is now planning to continue traveling for as long as possible to see if he can put himself in a championship-winning position.
He had a nasty fall on the Hollywoodbets Greyville polytrack yesterday and was thankful to God he emerged without serious injury.
He had a few aches and pains this morning and the doctor booked him off 48 hours.
However, he is looking forward to race-riding again at Turffontein on Thursday.
Calvin is currently in joint-second place on the national log with 12 winners, four off the pace being set by Kabelo Matsunyane.
He will be riding on the Highveld, KZN and the Eastern Cape and is hoping to land rides in Cape Town during their Cape Summer Season.
He said, “It is going really well at the moment and I am enjoying travelling and riding in the different centres. As long as I am enjoying it and don’t get too tired I will continue to do so.”
He has landed the important position of first call rider to Gavin Smith in Gqeberha, although he will be sharing this with JP van der Merwe.
Smith has agreed to give the pair a share of the best rides and will adjudge which of them is better suited to each horse.
Calvin will have the equally important support of five-times national champion trainer Sean Tarry in Johannesburg.
Furthermore, he said Tarry wanted to see him doing well, so had agreed to allow him to look for better rides in the races where the yard were running a horse who was not a strong contender.
Calvin is enjoying support from many other trainers on the Highveld, including the reigning national champion trainer Paul Peter.
He enjoys widespread support in KZN too, where he is lying second in the current premiership on seven winners, level with Keagan de Melo and one behind Matsunyane.
Calvin rode three Grade 1 winners last season (Flying Carpet in the WSB Summer Cup, Sweet Pepper in the Allan Robertson and Thunderstruck in the Gold Medallion) and missed a fourth by a hair’s breadth when Rock The Fox was touched off by Canadian Summer in the Thekwini.
He clearly has a soft spot for Sweet Pepper, who lives up to her name as she is a “cuddly” little horse with a beautiful temperament, very placid, and loves to be petted for hours.
She is in fact the highest rated two-year-old in the country on 115, based on her Allan Robertson win where she had the field strung out like the washing.
She lost her unbeaten record in the Grade 2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper over 1400m, when finishing unplaced.
She is a Drakenstein Stud homebred by Trippi out of the Gimmethegreenlight speedster Green Pepper and she did finish lame in the latter race, so time will tell whether she goes further than sprints.
Calvin said Thunderstruck had also been doing very well.
He said he only appeared to run to his best with blinkers on.
However, he added he had won the Grade 1 over 1200m so well it was difficult to tell whether he would see out a mile.
However, the feeling is he will be even better as a three-year-old and he himself believes he will stay further.
He said Rock The Fox had taken a bit of time to show what they always believed she had.
He believed she would get better and better and would be a Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara horse.
There are many other horses he was looking forward to riding during the season.
He is an ever improving rider and concluded by saying, “I hope to keep the momentum going for as long as I can and can maybe throw my hat into the ring (for the championship).”