After bursting on to the scene a few years ago, S’manga Khumalo, known at home as “Bling” on account of his peroxide blond hair, has won a plethora of Group 1 races in South Africa, notably last year’s Durban July on Heavy Metal.
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 UK for the first time in next month’s Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, alongside captain Craig Williams from Australia and Japanese rider 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’managa.
“To be recognised 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 Rest of the World Team.”
On the Girls’ team, Hayley Turner will make her eighth appearance in the competition having missed last year due to injury. She has ridden four winners in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.
She 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 British debut.
Steffi commented: “I was absolutely thrilled to receive the invitation. 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 will make his debut in the competition, and will ride alongside Dutch rider Adrie de Vries and French legend Olivier Peslier, who has over 100 Group 1 winners to his name including four Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe successes.
De Vries, who is based in Germany, will also make his debut and won the Group 1 Preis Von Europa last year on Meandre. He also won the Grosser Preis von Baden and the Italian Oaks and leads the German jockeys’ championship for 2014.
For Great Britain & Ireland, Tom Queally will captain the team and he will be joined by Jimmy Fortune and Richard Hughes.
Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice-Chairman Colm McLoughlin said, “The 2014 renewal looks like being a fascinating contest bringing together some of the world’s most accomplished riders.
“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 non-runner.
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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