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Posted 2019-12-09 20:02:24  
Apprentice of the week-Philasande Mxoli

SA Horseracing recently took time out to find out more about the up and coming Philasande Mxoli who is an apprentice from the South African Jockey Academy.

Do you have any family connections to racing? If yes, please elaborate.
No family connections at all.

How did you get involved in becoming an apprentice?
I have been competing in thoroughbred rural races in the Eastern Cape since the age of 13 and have ridden in excess of 90 winners. These winners include two victories in the biggest race on the Eastern Cape Rural Racing Calendar, the Berlin November, aboard Remember and Final Judgement! Lopez Magongo one of the Owners and Trainers in the Eastern Cape Rural Racing helped me to apply and join the Academy.

How long have you had aspirations to become a jockey?
Since of the age of 13 all I ever wanted to be was a professional jockey.

Are there any special traits or requirements one needs for the profession?
You must be able to learn new things all the time. Everyday riding work and in races you will learn something new. You also need to be able to learn from your mistakes so that you are able to improve and eliminate these mistakes.

How do you keep fit physically and mentally?
I ride as much work as possible in the mornings and I go to gym twice a week at the Academy.

Who, if anyone, has inspired you in racing?
Mr Lopez Magongo inspires me in racing, he is an Owner and Trainer in the Eastern Cape Rural Racing who has supported and encouraged me since I started riding for him in 2015. He helped me to join the Academy and supports me in everything I do.

Who is your favourite jockey and why?
S’Manga Khumalo is my favourite jockey, he is a strong rider who never gives up. He is a talented rider who works hard and has won big races like the Gauteng Summer Cup and the Vodacom Durban July.

What are the qualities or attributes that an apprentice needs to have in order to be successful in this game?
Hard Work, Ability to Learn and Communication Skills.

What race do you aspire to win, both locally and nationally?
The Vodacom Durban July and the Gauteng Summer Cup are the races I would like to win!

Where is your favourite racetrack?
The Greyville polytrack in Durban is my favourite racetrack because it has fast and exciting racing that suits my riding style.

What would you like to see changed in racing?
I would like to see horse racing grow at all levels, more people watching, taking bets and owning horses. I love the sport and want to see it growing in South Africa.

What advice would give someone keen in getting involved in becoming an apprentice?
They must be prepared to work hard, listen to the Riding Masters and realise that there will be challenges that they will need to overcome.

How many winners have you had to date?
I haven’t had my first winner yet, but I am confident that it will come soon.

Give us an example of what you have learnt about racing riding (or work riding) specific to your technique or weakness that you have worked on successfully?
When I came to the Academy I had to change my jockey seat and learn the style of pushing that professional jockeys use. I worked hard at it with the help of the Riding Masters and have managed to make the changes that I needed to.

Where do you see yourself in the future in this racing industry?
I see myself as a future top jockey just like my favourite jockey S’Manga Khumalo.

What do you think of the SAJA and the work they do for you?
I love the Academy, they have done so much for me, they have given me an opportunity to live my dream and become a jockey. They have taught me so much, especially the Riding Masters and my mentor Mrs Ngwenya. 

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