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As Anthony Delpech wrapped up his third South African Jockeys’ Championship perhaps the person most surprised by the feat was Delpech himself.

“I had no intention of going for the championship this season,” says the 48-year-old jockey. “It has been a sort of fresh start for me because it’s the first season I have been sponsored by Mary and Jessica Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein. I also split with Mike de Kock but there is obviously been an overlap as Mary has runners with Mike.

“The split also opened doors everywhere else although I still rode a lot of winners for Mike. When Callan Murray went to Hong Kong he still gave me lots of rides from the Sheikh and other owners.

“I also broke my collarbone and was out for two months so I thought that blew my chances. But then everything just fell into place for me. Gavin Lerena was leading the jockeys’ log but then decided to ride in the UK for the balance of the season. That also opened the door for me.”

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