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Phenisile Mongqawa goes into the second leg of the Work Riders’ Challenge at the Vaal on Thursday with a tenuous eight-point lead over Sam Mosia.

At this stage the pair have raced clear of their opposition as third-placed Chamu Mabaya has 19 points to find on the rider in front of him.

Mongqawa leads the challenge with 44 points after the first leg, thanks to his two wins, two seconds, and two third places.

Mosia is in second place on 36 points. He scored two wins, two seconds and two fourth place finishes at the opening meeting.

The competition is an initiative to give the work riders a chance to get their share of the limelight usually reserved for the jockeys and spans three race meetings. At each of the meetings, work riders accumulate points allocated according to their finishing position in every races.

A win is worth 10 points, a runner-up finish earns them seven points, third spot gets five points, and the fourth placed finisher is awarded three points.

All eight races are reserved for maidens.

While Mongqawa has secured five rides tomorrow, Mosia will be in action in seven of the eight races.

Obviously, the quality of the rides is important and Mongqawa is lucky enough to have has the support of Highveld Champion Trainer Paul Peter. He not only works in their yard but has very close ties to the Peter family.

Four of his rides are for Peter and they all have winning chances, but the best of the quartet looks to be Corapi in Race 4 over the straight 1400m.     

This Elusive Fort gelding has finished close-up in all three of his runs. And interestingly, the best of his three was when ridden by Mongqawa in his penultimate outing over 1600m on the Vaal Classic track, in which he was beaten 0.75 lengths by Invincible Wall.

Corapi has good early pace and should enjoy this straight 1400m.

His next best looks to be Tuuletaar in Race 8 over 2000m. This filly has been coming close recently and she could finally break her maiden in this event.

Mosia has a lot of mounts with chances but nothing obvious stands out. However, a few good places will keep him in contention if he is unable to find his way to the winner’s enclosure.

Last year’s Challenge was won by Joe Gwingwizha and he lies in fourth place on 17 points. He has his work cut out, but is a skilled rider and has the ability to close the gap on his two rivals.

Jack Milner’s selection

Race 1:  1 Verolina, 8 Hydrangea, 2 Risky Business, 6 La Banquiere

Race 2:  1 Indian War Dance, 2 Monsieur Chevelle, 6 Arizona Lady, 7 Vaguely Familiar

Race 3:  3 Black Burner, 5 Trust The Fire, 1 JP Two Thousand, 8 Orgetorix

Race 4:  4 Corapi, 5 Castle Of Glass, 3 Coming In Hot, 6 Soweto Spina

Race 5:  2 Country Flame, 9 Iphiko, 10 Mix The Magic, 1 Destiny Rules

Race 6:  7 Jaipur Jewel, 4 Absolute Value, 1 Global Approach, 5 Spring Will Come

Race 7:  8 Rule Book, 1 Broadway, 3 Viceroy, 6 Apache Gold

Race 8:  1 Tuuletar, 6 Cape Bouquet, 5 Twice A Miracle, 2 Kissed By Fire


Race 1 No 1 Verolina


Race 3 No 3 Black Burner


Race 4 4×5 – Jack Milner