DON’T be fooled by his late start due to a suspension – this could well be the big season for Cape Town-based jockey Luyolo Mxothwa.

With the backing of his sponsor Royal Aces, and after a very solid 2020/1 season, Mxothwa is set to make the new season a really big one.

“I told him he mustn’t waste this opportunity now. He is connected to the yard of trainer Brett Crawford which gives him a wonderful chance to make his mark.”

That is the message to Mxothwa from the prominent Nelson Mandela Bay businessman and race horse owner Kenny Govender, speaking at his Royal Aces Bistro restaurant, where one can enjoy some wonderful dishes, but can also visit the gaming area and have a bet with World Sports Betting.

Luyolo, or Louis as he is affectionately known, is quick to point out this is no ordinary sponsorship.

“The relationship with Kenny is far more than that. He is a mentor, a friend to me.

“Like this weekend. I’m serving my suspension and Kenny invited me here (Gqeberha) for the weekend.

“I have also sat in on some of his business meetings. I can’t be a jockey forever and he gives me the opportunities to develop other skills,” Louis explained.

Does that mean he will make the Eastern Cape his home again?

“No, no. I enjoyed my time in the Eastern Cape but Cape Town is such a fantastic place.

“I am very excited to be the stable jockey for the Brett Crawford yard – big stable, good horses.

“I will still be a regular visitor. The Fairview trainers have been very good to me – Sharon Kotzen and trainers like Juan Nel and Duncan McKenzie (who all rate Louis very highly) regularly give me good rides.

“If you look at my stats for the past season, I rode more winners at Fairview than in Cape Town. Fairview is very important to me.”

Mxothwa rode 97 winners last season, 61 of those were at Fairview.

“It was a good season and I sat on some very good horses. I am grateful to all the trainers that gave me chances to ride good horses.

“I will always do my best and try to make the most of every opportunity.”

At Fairview, Kotzen and Mxothwa form a very strong combination and the trainer feels Louis is only now getting the recognition he deserves.

“When he started riding for me I saw straight away that he has beautiful hands and natural ability,” Sharon said.

“He has always been highly underrated. He didn’t get the exposure and the opportunities that some of the bigger names did,” she added.

“It is only now that everyone sees what he is about.”

Louis is not afraid to travel around the country for those opportunities to ride winners.

How is he coping with injuries and is he keeping an eye on his weight?

“Injuries and weight issues are part of being a jockey. It is a high risk sport but I am confident I got it under control. If I really push it, I can probably ride regularly at a lower weight.”

Now we wait for that suspension to pass because Louis is ready to show that the time of underrating him is over, it is his time to shine.

Go Louis!

by Henk Steenkamp