Richard Fourie ended another memorable season on a high, winning the second Gold Cup of his career on Future Pearl and also winning two Gr 1’s and a Gr 2 on the day. (Candiese Lenferna Photography).
Anthony Delpech spoke about the difficulties of riding 334 winners in one season, which looks to be one of the safest records in South African sport.
However, Hollywoodbets have dangled a carrot of R1 million to any jockey able to beat Delpech’s record, which he set in the 1998/1999 season.
Delpech rode for the big owner Len Salzman that season.
Salzman had about 150 horses around the country with the like of Alan Greeff in the East Cape, David Ferraris on the Highveld and Herman Brown in KZN.
Being attached to that big owner and those big yards gave him plenty of good rides.
However, he pointed out that the more one rode the bigger the chance of sustaining an injury and also the bigger the chance of copping a suspension.
He said that fate was not only due to the numerical increase in chances, but also due to the mental exhaustion which can set in when keeping up such a taxing riding and travelling schedule.
He actually did not manage to avoid injury that season and recalled having to often ride on painkillers.
He did not avoid suspension either.
Knowing what he went through to reach that unbelievable number of wins, he reckoned the record was pretty safe.
However, having said that, he felt Richard Fourie had all the necessary credentials to make a bid.
Firstly, he is a top rider and secondly he is attached to top yards.
He rides for Greeff in the East Cape and is attached to the powerful Sean Tarry Highveld yard.
He also rides in KZN regularly where he gets good rides from many yards.
He was, of course, also attached to Justin Snaith’s yard in Cape Town and this enabled him to ride 88 wins in the Western Cape last season.
Delpech believed the current “divorce” between Snaith and Fourie was unlikely to last long as there are not many top echelon jockeys around.
The latter point was another reason he believed Fourie could do it.
In the season Anthony did it he was up against some of the best riders in SA history, the like of Piere Strydom, Jeff Lloyd, Weichong Marwing, Robbie Fradd, Anton Marcus, Rhys van Wyk, Kevin Shea, Mark Khan, Karl Neisius etc.
Fourie’s competition in getting rides, and in race-riding on the track itself, will not be as stiff.
However, he will need to keep up a steady, taxing schedule and avoid injury and suspension at all costs.
Keagan de Melo’s last season provides an example of how hard the record chase will be.
He was actually on track at some stages, but towards the end of the season went through one particularly notable slump in which he mustered just one win in nine meetings.
So having been on track for the first half of the season he ended on 275 wins, a big number but still a whopping 60 short of a new record.