Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Luyolo Mxothwa: Star of the Week

19 year old LUYOLO MXOTHWA or Louis as he is affectionately known matriculated in 2010 and joined the South African Jockey Academy at Summerveld, a year later. Whilst he has been a late starter compared to other apprentices, he is quickly making up for lost time as he has already booted home 17 career winners and is just 3 short of losing his 4kgs apprentice allowance. Louis has grown up in horseracing as his dad was a groom on popular owner Fred Crabbia’s farm. After having his first ride in May 2012, he took another four tries to notch up his maiden victory aboard the Snaith trained, African Alliance. His career has blossomed nicely since his move to the friendly city of Port Elizabeth and he has struck up some fine relationships with major yards such as Gavin Smith’s and Justin Snaith’s. He is one of only a handful of apprentice jockey’s to have secured a sponsor, a company called Mining Pressure Systems which is owned by Fred Crabbia. He has four rides at decent odds on this Friday’s Arlington card and he makes SILVERANO, the best of his quartet. He is a confident young man and WINNING FORM will be following his career with keen interest and wish him everything of the best for the future.




What is your name and age?
My name is Luyolo Mxothwa and I am 19 years old.

What is your star sign and birthdate?
Aries and I was born on 21 March 1993.

Where were you born?
Johannesburg.

Where do you live?
Durban.

Tell us about your family?
We are an average family consisting of my parents, elder sister and a younger brother.

Do you have a ‘nickname’?
Yes, Louis.

Favourite food?
I am not fussy.

Favourite drink?
Any cold drink.

Favourite music?
House music.

Favourite sport?
Horse racing then rugby.

Favourite soccer team?
Real Madrid.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I would like to go to Brazil.

Which school did you attend before going to the academy?
Stanger High School.

Which sports did you play at school?
Rugby and athletics.

Which did you excel at?
Rugby.

What tertiary education did you achieve?
I got my matric certificate.

Have any of your family members been involved in horses or horseracing?
My father was a groom on Mr. Fred Crabbia’s farm when I was a young boy.

Before you came to the academy, did you know anything about horse racing?
Yes, because my father was a groom.

How did you find out about the South African Jockey Academy?
I used to attend race meetings and therefore became interested in horse racing.

Who is the person that got you into the academy?
My father, Mr. Bennet Bulana and Mr. Crabbia.

Before you went to the academy, did you ever ride a horse?
Yes, at Mr. Mike Stewart’s stables in Noordhoek, Cape Town.

In which year did you join the academy?
2011.

What are the requirements you need to become an apprentice jockey?
You have to be a certain weight, be a certain height, have a certain shoe size and they look at your dedication.

Who were your fellow apprentices at that intake?
Heavelon Van der Hoven, Wayton Van Staden, Jose Barnes to name a few.

Briefly discuss your school days in terms of favourite subjects?
My favourite subject was Life Science and I was involved in sports.

What year did you matriculate?
2010.

Describe a typical day in your first year at the academy?
Very busy. Early morning stables, riding lessons, practicing riding techniques on the equicizer and equine management.

Who were your riding masters at the time?
Mr. Van Wyk, Mr. Welch and Mr. O’Donoghue.

How often did you get on the equicizer to practice your riding?
As soon as possible as you are keen to start race riding.

When did you start riding work and who were the trainers that helped you a lot?
I started riding work in my first year on 25th April and the trainers that helped me were Mr. Moore, Mr. Rivalland, Mr. Puller and others.

Which horses do you rate as the best horses you have ridden in work?
Capetown Noir, before he raced.

How good a judge are you as to how a horse galloped?
I think my judgement is quite good.

When did you sign your papers and what were your feelings when you signed them?
I signed my papers in my second year and I was over the moon.

When did you have your first ride and which horse did you ride?
It was on 30th May 2012. The horse was Rain Delayed and it was at Scottsville for Mr. Moore.

Tell us about the experience of your first race?
It went very quickly and I wanted to do it all over again. It was a 1000m race.

How long after your first ride did you have your first winner?
It was my 5th ride.

Who did you ride and where was it?
It was aboard a horse called African Alliance in Port Elizabeth.

You are now based in PE. Whose decision was it to send you to Port Elizabeth and were you happy with the decision?
The decision was made by Mr. O’Donoghue and Mr. Davie. Yes, I was very happy with the decision.

Who is the riding master that is currently helping you?
Mr. Davie.

Who are the trainers that you ride work for in PE?
Most of the trainers are helping me but especially Justin Snaith, Gavin Smith and Mitch Wiese.

You are currently doing a lot of work for trainer Gavin Smith. How did it come about that you struck up such a good partnership?
Mr. Smith supports us apprentices as long as we are prepared to work hard and he has helped me since I have been in Port Elizabeth.

Which is the best horse you have ridden in work or in a race for Gavin Smith?
Never Forever.

How ambitious are you to ride in as many feature races as possible?
I would like to ride in all feature races, given the opportunity.

Are you currently sponsored? If so, who is your sponsor and how did it happen?
Yes, I am. I am sponsored by Mr. Crabbia’s business, Mining Pressure Systems. My father worked for Mr. Crabbia, that’s how it came about.

What do you find to be the advantages of being sponsored?
It is a very big opportunity for me to further my career as a jockey.

What does the sponsor expect of you?
To perform at the best of my ability.

Have your expectations of being a jockey all come about?
At the moment yes. I still have three years to finish my apprenticeship.

Is there anything about being a jockey that you don’t like?
No.

What is your most comfortable riding mass?
54kgs.

How easy is it for you to maintain this mass?
I eat correctly and maintain my weight.

Do you do any extra physical activities in order to keep at top riding fitness?
Yes, I play squash and I cycle.

How many winners have you ridden to date?
17.

Have you won any feature races?
No, but when I get the chance to ride in a feature I will do my best.

How confident are you when riding against the ‘big’ name jockeys in South Africa?
It makes me want to ride better so that I can be competitive.

Which of the senior jockeys do you admire?
Anton Marcus and Brandon Lerena.

Do any of the senior jockeys take a particular interest in you and help you along the way?
Yes, senior jockeys always give me good advice.

Who is your favourite overseas jockey?
Frankie Dettori.

Did you meet any of the international jockeys when they came for the Jockeys Challenge?
Yes, I did.

Maxime Guyon rode on two race days in PE. Did you have a chance to have a one on one discussion with him?
We did chat a little bit.

What impressed you the most about Maxime?
He is a well-mannered, respectful person and he is very professional.

Has meeting him inspired you at all to ride overseas?
Yes, very much so.

As a young black man, what impression have your friends got of you now that you are in such a glamorous profession?
Quite an impression as they don’t know much about jockeys and horse racing.

Do you think any of your friends who have the physical attributes to be a jockey will want to follow in your footsteps?
Yes, I do think so.

What do you tell your friends when they want to know what the life of a jockey is like?
It is a hard and challenging career but it is well worth it.

What influence on your family has you becoming a jockey had?
They are very proud of me.

Do your parents, or any other family members, come to watch you racing?
Yes.

Tell us about your four rides at Arlington this Friday?

Race 1: BEDEFAY: She is a maiden but has fair form. I haven’t worked her but I think she has a fair chance.

Race 5: DARING DUCHESS: She is working well and judging by the way she won her maiden I give her a big chance.

Race 6: SILVERANO:  He won very well last time. His work has been good since then and I make him my best ride for the day.

Race 8: SPACONE: He is distance suited and is working well. He was a very easy maiden winner and ran a fair race next time out. I give him a big winning chance.

Do you take an interest in the breeding side of things?
I do but I am still learning.

Who are your favourite stallions?
Var and I liked Jet Master.

Have you ever been to a horse sale?
Yes I did at Suncoast casino.

Have you gone to any stud farms to see the foals being born?
Yes I have been to Scott Bros.

Which is your favourite track to race on?
Fairview.

How often do you watch South African racing on Tellytrack?
Almost daily.

If for any reason you didn’t become a jockey what would have been your alternate career option?
Probably a rugby player.

Outside of racing do you have anything else you are passionate about?
Rugby and music.

Do you think racing is well-policed? 
Yes I do.

Do you have a steady girlfriend or are you concentrating on your career?
I am concentrating on my career.





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