Mike Moon
Horse racing correspondent
2 minute read
7 Dec 2021
11:00 am

Can’t see a winner for the horses, but Kabelo is visible at the Vaal

Mike Moon

Matsunyane is at No 10 in the Highveld “Who’s Hot” list of leading riders over the past month.

Kabelo Matsunyane will certainly be one of the jockeys to keep a watchful eye on at the Vaal on Tuesday. Picture: iStock

Four of the nine races at the Vaal on Tuesday have a maximum complement of 20 horses – proof that there’s life in the old game yet.

There isn’t a preponderance of mega-rich owners, which is another cause for optimism. Racing is still – maybe only just – accessible to the hoi polloi, middle-class, call them what you will, and they’re buying horses and participating.

For the punter, though, it makes the task of picking winners much harder. The more runners, the more things there are to tease and taunt the analytical faculties.

Sometimes the way to go with tough cards is to seek out an individual who seems to have more than a couple of decent chances on the day and bias bets towards him or her. Trainer Mike de Kock is one of those on Tuesday, with the last three races on the programme well within his grasp.

One of De Kock’s jockey bookings, Kabelo Matsunyane, is another.

You must have something about you to win the trust of De Kock and Matsuyane has done that – riding regularly for the master conditioner and showing particular skills with problem horses.

He might not be among the championship hot shots, but Matsunyane is at No 10 in the Highveld “Who’s Hot” list of leading riders over the past month.

For De Kock, he rides mare Fire Flower, with whom he clearly has an affinity, partnering her 15 times in a 24-race career, delivering lots of prize money and winning twice – most recently last time out on 9 October. They go again in Race 8, over that winning trip of 1800m, and cannot be left out of any bets.

Earlier, Matsunyane does duty for Brett Crawford on the Cape trainer’s Highveld sojourner Goethe in Race 2. He steered the newly gelded three-year-old to a creditable third place in mid-November and one can see the duo improving on that.

In Race 3, it’s in-form Stuart Pettigrew who gives the young man a leg up on well-fancied Lemon Delight – who grabbed a third with the jock last time. Pettigrew saw enough that day to keep the riding arrangement.

Matsunyane has clear winning chances on all his other five rides, with perhaps Zuzan for Paul Matchett in the fourth race his next best.


1: 20 What A Honey, 1 Lazuli, 2 Stepintospring, 6 Picara

2: 13 Goethe, 1 General Hancock, 3 Portrayal, 19 Phantomoftheforest

3: 6 Lemon Delight, 3 Magical Flight, 1 Shivers, 5 Goodtime Guy

4: 1 River Doon, 5 Leading Lad, 4 Zuzan, 7 Mode

5: 5 No Time Is Taken, 3 Waqaas, 4 Ramchandani Road, 17 After Hours

6: 11 Go Dream Machine, 10 Western Dance, 7 Liverpool Legend, 2 The Sash

7: 9 Definitely Maybe, 4 Flame Flower, Eternal Life, 6 Last Cheer

8: 9 Fire Flower, 7 Aryaam, 2 Opera Glass, 1 Lady Amherst

9: 5 Right Choice, 2 Samuel Salt, 11 Midnight Badger, 14 True Brit

Pick 6: 1,5,7 x 3,5 x 1,2,3,7,10,11 x 4,6,7,9 x 1,2,7,9 x 2,5,11 (R1728)

PA: 3,6 x 1,5 x 5 x 7,10,11 x 4,9 x 2,7,9 x 5 (R72)