Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread. That would probably be a fair word of caution to any South African jockey contemplating a Mauritius riding contract.
But the news that Randall Simons will not be taking up his engagements at the Vaal on Thursday and actually rode work this morning with the Preetam Daby string on the beautiful island has us wishing the Alberton father of two every success.
Piere Strydom and Karl Zechner, who rode for Daby, are two of the most recent top SA jockeys to return home from the racing-crazy country.
Daby went on his own in 2017 and registered 14 wins, including victory in the Gr2 Coupe des Presidents with Kingmambo’s Legacy. He improved to finish in 5th position in the Trainers’ Championship in 2018.
With three months left of the current season, he is in seventh position and has saddled 11 winners.
While we have not managed to obtain a comment from him, Simons has been chiefly deployed by the Mike de Kock yard and the recent return of Callan Murray from Singapore may well have swayed his decision to take his chances internationally – an ambition he expressed in a December 2018 interview with the Sporting Post.
His previous off-shore experience was in Dubai.
A talented rider, he steered his first Gr1 winner home on Let’s Rock ‘N Roll in the Golden Horse Casino Sprint in May 2006 for Paul Matchett.
His next big win came over 4 years later. It was for Mike de Kock on Flirtation in the 2010 Gr1 Summer Cup.
His next two big wins were also for De Kock – Randall won the Gr1 Premiers Champion Stakes on Soqrat on Super Saturday 2018 and then the Cape Guineas on the same explosive miler in December of the same year.
He rode a double for the Mike de Kock yard at Turffontein on Saturday – piloting the first-timer Marshall and Only To Win to victory. They were his first winners this month.
A relatively slow developer in his early years, Randall’s first winner came on Gun Salute for Tony Nassif at Turffontein on 20 March 2004. The 32 year old has, however, developed into a solid all-rounder, and not many jockeys rode two Gr1 winners last term.
We wish him well.