STANLEY Amos (left) seen here with his brother ‘Cookie’, devoted 75 years of his life to horseracing. One of South Africa’s all-time great jockeys, Amos died in January 2006, aged 87.
Stanley rode competitively until he was 65. He was born on 1 October 1918, the youngest of nine children. Three of his brothers were involved in horseracing, Archie being the first as a jockey, introducing the others to the sport, followed by ‘Cookie’, Stanley himself, and ‘Boet’.
Stanley rode in his first race at the age of 12, in 1930, and joined the stable of top trainer Syd Garrett in 1935, winning his first Metropolitan Stakes at the tender age of 18 on the back of Moonlit, a horse he always rated the best he had ridden.
In 1987, Amos was quoted in Thoroughbred News, saying: “I rode plenty of good horses in my career as a jockey. The English horse Ranjit who, as a two-year-old, tested Petition and won seven Top division races here before becoming champion sire twice. The French horse Asbestos, who won the Met and was pipped on the post in the July before being champion sire five times. The English horse Fairthorn who annihilated a very strong Top division field at Greyville at his only South African start. He was champion sire five times. I rode Black Cap, Jerez, Renounce, Majorca, Sympathetic, King’s Pact, Feltos, Prince Florimund and many others.
“None of them or any other horse I’ve ever seen would have lived with Moonlit. He was the greatest of them all. He was a big, strong, majestic bay horse – extremely intelligent and full of character. He knew that he was the best. After winning a race he would come home to Roamer Lodge and as he entered the yard all the boys would shout ‘Nkosi!’ With that he would rear up and walk into the yard on his hind legs as if to say ‘yes, I know I’m the King!’ ”
After a highly successful career with Garrett, Amos joined his brother Cookie, who had weight problems and had hung up his riding boots prematurely to become a trainer. This partnership of brothers, similarly, resulted in great success, most notably via the exploits of star filly Renounce, whose victories included the Cape Fillies Guineas and the Paddock Stakes.
Over the years Stanley Amos won almost every big race in the country at least once, including the 1941 Durban July Handicap on Sadri II, six Mets, (including Moonlit, Feltos and Royal Chaplain twice), two Cape Guineas, two Gold Cups, three Queen’s Plates and the Cape Derby six times.
Despite spending most of his career in Cape Town – with only seven races a day, once a week – Amos rode over 2500 winners, breaking the previous record of 2455 winners held at the time by the great `Tiger’ Wright.