A Jockey Challenge with 'Bling'

South African known as "Bling" makes British riding debut in Ascot's annual international jockey challenge Aug. 9.

After bursting on to the scene a few years ago, S'manga Khumalo, nicknamed "Bling" on account of his peroxide blond hair, has won a plethora of group I races in South Africa, notably the 2013 Durban July on Heavy Metal.

S'manga Khumalo - Photo Courtesy of Ascot Racecourse

In doing so, he made history by becoming the first black South African to ride the winner of the continent of Africa's premier race.
S'manga will ride in the Great Britain for the first time in the upcoming Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, set for Saturday, August 9 at Ascot, alongside Japanese legends Yutaka Take (captain) and Yuichi Fukunaga, on the Rest of the World team.
"Winning the Durban July was my career highlight and sent a message to all black South Africans that racing is a sport for all in the modern era," said S'manga.
"To be recognized globally and invited to ride in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup on the back of that victory is another very proud moment for me and I look forward to meeting and riding with the two Japanese legends in the Rest of the World Team."
Take, the 18-time Japanese champion, has partnered four winners at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, while Fukunaga has ridden just once in the competition back in 2006. Recently, the latter has struck a redoubtable partnership with Just A Way (the highest rated horse in the world in 2014), winning the Tenno Sho (Jpn-I) and the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) on Dubai World Cup night March 30, a victory which earned him an automatic invitation to the world's premier jockeys' competition on August 9.
On the Girls' team, Hayley Turner will make her eighth appearance in the competition having missed last year due to injury. Like Yutaka Take, she has ridden four winners at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.
Turner is joined by Canadian star, Emma-Jayne Wilson, who participated in the competition in 2006 and 2012, and Steffi Hofer from Germany, daughter of trainer Mario Hofer, making her Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut.


"I was absolutely thrilled to receive the invitation," Hofer said. 

"I have always followed the event with great interest, and even whilst being in the top six or seven jockeys riding, numerically, in Germany this year, I never thought I would get a chance to take part at this level; this has come as a huge endorsement.
"I hope that I can play my part in getting a good result for the girls!"
For Europe, Frankie Dettori and Andrea Atzeni, making his debut in the competition, will ride so long as they are not claimed to ride elsewhere by their retaining owners.
Their confirmed teammate, also making his debut in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, will be Dutch rider Adrie de Vries, who is based in Germany. He enjoyed success in the Preis von Europa (Ger-I) last year on Meandre and has also won at the top level in the Grosser Preis von Baden and the Italian Oaks. He triumphed at Royal Ascot on Energizer in the 2012 Tercentenary Stakes and leads the German jockeys' championship for 2014.
For Great Britain & Ireland, Tom Queally will captain the team and it is hoped he will be joined by Ryan Moore and Richard Hughes, who are keen to take part but may be subject to stable claims.
 "The 2014 renewal looks like being a fascinating contest bringing together some of the world's most accomplished riders," Dubai Duty Free executive vice chairman Colm McLoughlin said.
"We're delighted that the competition will provide some of them with their first experience of riding at this internationally renowned venue, and I am sure they will be eager to impress alongside the more experienced Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup contenders."
This year the value of the competition has risen by 33%, with all six races now £40,000 handicaps rather than £30,000 last year. Each jockey will get five rides as they bid to win the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup for their team and there is £3,000 for the Silver Saddle-winning jockey (the top jockey overall). Points are awarded 15, 10, 7, 5, 3 for the first five horses home with 4 points for a nonrunner.
There will be three reserves declared for each race this year (up from two), all of whose connections will receive £500 for travel costs if the horses are not required to run.

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