Richard Fourie has not ridden this season so far.
He took the first week off and is currently serving a suspension that runs from August 8 until August 24.
However, apart from being the most sort after free lance rider in the country he has reportedly landed the plum position as first choice rider to Alan Greeff in Gqeberha.
This follows champion jockey Warren Kennedy’s pending move to New Zealand.
Fourie kept up a busy travel program last season and a repeat this season could well see him land a first national championship.
S’Manga Khumalo has filled in for Fourie this month and has already ridden eight winner for Greeff, a sign of just how prolific the position could be.
Muzi Yeni and Kabelo Matsunyane are the joint log leaders with eleven winners to date.
Yeni is currently suspended from August 12 until August 25.
The probable most sort after position in the land, the first choice rider to record-breaking reigning national champion trainer Paul Peter, is also up for grabs due to Kennedy’s pending emigration.
Yeni has got a shoe in the door of the Peter yard, having ridden six of the latter’s nine winners to date this season.
If he does land the position he will make a bold bid for the championship, especially considering his ability to keep up a relentless travelling campaign in multiple centres season after season.
Matsunyane is an ever-improving jockey who might well burst into the top echelon this season.
Keagan de Melo has been the most prolific current jockey in the country since January 1 this year, riding just two winners less than Kennedy.
If he keeps up that form he will also be a title contender. He was suspended for the first week of the season and took the second week off. He came back yesterday and rode one winner at both that meeting and today’s meeting.
His positions as first call rider to all of Dean Kannemeyer and owners Laurence Wernars and Ridgemont-Higlands have seen his fortunes burgeoning and it has had a snow ball effect as he has become much in demand.
S’Manga Khumalo will also have a shout. He is spending the first three weeks of the season holidaying and riding in Gqweberha and Cape Town. If he rides in three centres the whole season, the Highveld, KZN and either Gqwerberha or Cape Town, he will have a shout of landing a third title.
Twice SA Champion jockey Gavin Lerena has had seven winners to date this season and he was 6th on the log last year. However, he will have to travel more than he did last season to be a contender.
Calvin Habib is in third place on the log at present with nine winners and after a breakthrough season just past he should increase his standing again, but he might not yet have quite the fire power to challenge for the championship.
Rachel Venniker will be used by the Paul Peter yard and considering her advantageous 1.5kg female claim she is another who could make a title bid.
Aldo Domeyer has the ability to be a champion jockey and had the highest strike rate on the national log last season, but he would have to travel more to be a contender.
Grant van Niekerk also has the ability to do it, but will also have to be prepared to travel more than he did last season.
Craig Zackey and Luyolo Mxothwa are two others with the ability to be contenders.
The title race is going to be full of intrigue this season.
Picture: Richard Fourie comes off a halcyon season in which he rode nine Grade 1 winners (Candiese Lenferna).