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Picture: The Grade 1 Thekwini Stakes victory sash being fitted to the rightful horse, Canadian Summer (Oratorio), with a beaming Jason Gates aboard, having initially been put on the runner up Rock The Fox (Candiese Lenferna). 


International Racing Club

Jason Gates’ career started in 2014 when John The Butcher, from South Africa’s West Rand, noted out of the blue that a youngster standing in front of him looked like he’d make a good jockey.
Jason recalls: “I didn’t know a single thing about horseracing when John, the butcher from Goldman Street in Florida, saw me in his shop one day, dressed in my school uniform. John is not a punter, his interest was not about betting. I was just a small kid who happened to walk into his business. I was quite fit, maybe I looked a sporty type, so I struck him as someone who should be a jockey. My parents also had no knowledge and in fact no interest in racing but they helped me to apply.”
Eight years and some rocky roads later, Jason is a fully fledged and promising, natural light weight jockey who rode his first G1 winner, Canadian Summer, on Gold Cup Day last Saturday. He still gets messages of support from Butcher John, and also counts the IRC’s Joao Da Mata and racehorse owner Preggie Somasandrum as friends and mentors.
Recently married, Jason joked in the winner’s box that his wife may have gone into labour after the nail-biting finish. He is growing as an individual, aligning his temperament with his obvious talent and making good progress because he is also a fighter, he doesn’t give up and has absorbed some of life’s punches and gone on with his career and his ambition to get right up there with the log-leaders. He also gets help and support from Richard Fourie, one of the best in the business, and we can expect to see more winners, more often. This is what Jason Gates is working ever so hard for, and deserves!
Here is our snap Q&A with Jason Gates:
1. Full name?  Jason Gates.
2. Date of Birth? 2000/05/10.
3. Steak or sushi? Steak.
4. Superstitions? Speaking things into the universe comes true.
5. Fav Holiday Destination? Kosi Bay.
6. Which: BMW or Merc? BMW.
7. Who inspires you the most? Mr Garth Puller.
8. Big night out or quiet night in? Quiet night in.
9. Left-handed or right-handed? Right.
10. Biggest ambition for the future? To do better in my racing career.
11. What annoys you the most? Not getting enough or good enough rides on scratchings day.
12. Best advice for aspiring young jockeys? Just keep working and eventually you’ll get lucky somewhere.
13. Funniest person you have ever met? My father-in-law.
14. The Cape Met, Summer Cup or Durban July? Durban July.
15. Strict whip rules or no whip at all? Strict.
16. What is your biggest phobia? Spiders.
17. Most embarrassing moment? Forgetting my wallet on a first date!
18. Colts or fillies? Fillies.
19. Best dresser in weighing room? Calvin Habib.
20. Proudest Achievement? Winning my first Group 1 (for now).
21. Favourite course? Greyville (Turf).
22. One thing to make racing better for everyone? More effective advertising and marketing in the industry.
23. Economy or business class? Business.
24. Your star sign? Taurus
25. Hardest rival jockey to ride against? Richard Fourie.
26. Bath or shower? Bath.
27. Read or Netflix? Netflix.
28. Would you rather ask for permission or ask for forgiveness? Forgiveness.
29. Nominate someone for our Q&A next? Darryl Moore.
Nominate two horses to follow for the rest of this season?
Famous and Rich and Canadian Summer.
Chosen charity for readers to donate to: Child Welfare. – IRC.