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Picture : Philas Mxoli’s first winner of a double at Turffontein Inside on Tuesday was aboard the Grant Maroun-trained 16/1 shot Circus Lights (Duke Of Marmalade) – Photo J.C Photographics cc

Philas Mxoli is a name to watch

Last week the bright young star landed another treble at the Vaal.
 
Mike Moon (The Citizen)
 
The path from “bush racing” to the mainstream game is not well-trodden, but Philasande Mxoli is one who has negotiated it.
 
The 23-year-old from Eastern Cape became a full-fledged jockey at the start of the current season on 1 August – and celebrated by winning the very first race of the new term at the Vaal racecourse.
 
Then he made sure people noticed his arrival by compiling a treble on the day for his “guv’nor”, Joburg trainer Paul Matchett – on horses propitiously named Inner Sense, Key Element and On Cue. He also notched his 100th career win, with the previous 99 coming during his five-year apprenticeship.
 
In case anyone thought that was a flash in the pan, Mxoli has since been a regular in the winner’s circle – and is nowadays taken seriously by punters in their calculation for Highveld meetings.
 
He has racked up 19 wins in the season so far after a double at Turffontein Inside on Tuesday and another win on the Hollywoodbets Greyville poly today.
 
From exactly 100 mounts his wins- to-rides rate is 19%, which is the highest in the national log’s top ten, and he lies in a heady sixth place in the national jockey championship.  That’s remarkable considering he’s not doing the cross-country travelling of some of his closest rivals on the log.
 
Last week he landed another treble at the Vaal.
 
Rising star
Philas, as he is known to the jockey room, hails from the King William’s Town area and got interested in horses and rural racing as a child. He had his first ride in the region’s amateur circuit when just 13 and quickly became something of a local star.
 
He started dreaming of becoming a professional jockey, so Lopez Magongo, a successful owner and trainer in Eastern Cape rural racing backed an application for the SA Jockey Academy. Philas cracked the nod for the Summerveld school and made an instant impression.
 

A bright future beckons.