Almost every successful jockey will tell you they got their big career break when a trainer took a shine to a youngster and trusted him or her with good rides.
Apprentice jockey Philasande Mxoli might not be among the top rank of appies yet, but he has the confidence of trainer Stuart Pettigrew, who has booked him for three standout runners at the Vaal on Thursday, when racing is on the Classic track.
Mxoli has five winners to his name this season – now six months in – and four of them have been for Pettigrew. As a pairing, the two have a top-four-places-to-runners ratio above 50% – a stat to breed trust and loyalty.
Three of Mxoli’s five successes have come aboard Pettigrew-trained Alula’s Star – along with two seconds and a third. The youngster reunites with his favourite filly at the Vaal in Race 3, a FM90 Handicap over 1000m, and they are fancied to go close once more.
In the next race, an 1800m MR80 Apprentice Handicap, Pettigrew and Mxoli team up with Quiet Rebellion and a quick double is not a far-fetched notion.
(Indeed, Pettigrew could land a quick treble with Imperial Master, ridden by Diego de Gouveia, in the fifth race.)
But the Pettigrew-Mxoli duo’s best chance on the day comes in Race 7 with Cheringoma, a progressive-looking filly owned by Princess Charlene.
The three-year-old daughter of Flower Alley has shown good improvement over her three outings, breaking her maiden in facile fashion last time. That was a blinkers-strike over 1600m at Turffontein and she repeats the trip and headgear fitting.
The opposition is far from stellar and Cheringoma should see young Mxoli notch another victory.
1: 1 Montmerency, 10 Dawn Mission, 2 Sea Of Galilee, 7 Global Approach
2: 10 Allez Les Bleu, 5 Rozara, 8 Mercer Girl, 9 Princess Queen
3: 7 Big Eyed Girl, 3 Alula’s Star, 5 Seemyvision, 4 Naarah
4: 8 Quiet Rebellion, 4 Blue Moon City, 1 Twin Turbo, 6 Qunetra
5: 8 Flying Bull, 3 Imperial Master, 6 Raiseahallelujah, 4 Oyster King
6: 4 Motown Magic, 7 Sister Light, 2 Reunion, 5 My Master
7: 7 Cheringoma, 4 Full Royalty, 9 Letha, 2 Dark Travel
8: 8 Terra Time, 9 Dancing Arabian, 2 Roseprima, 3 Pin Up
Pick 6: 3,4,5,7 x 1,4,8 x 3,6,8 x 2,4,5,7 x 2,4,7,9 x 2,3,8,9 (R2304)
PA: 5,10 x 3,7 x 4,8 x 8 x 4,7 x 4,7 x 8 (R32)