Richard Fourie

Jockey Richard Fourie created history when he booted home his 335th winner of the 2023/24 season at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday. Image: Chase Liebenberg

WATCH: Richard Fourie rewrites SA horseracing history books at Hollywoodbets Greyville

Jockey Richard Fourie created history when he booted home his 335th winner of the 2023/24 season at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday.

Richard Fourie

Jockey Richard Fourie created history when he booted home his 335th winner of the 2023/24 season at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday. Image: Chase Liebenberg

In recent months there had been such an air of inevitability about the outcome that Hollywoodbets were offering odds on when Richard Fourie would break the national jockey’s championship record, not if.

The magical number, which had stood for 25 years when Anthony Delpech rode 334 winners, was officially broken on Saturday, 8 June by Fourie when he rode Double Grand Slam to victory in the Grade 2 Tibouchina Stakes over 1 400m at Hollywoodbets Greyville.

It was the third winner of the day for him, after previous success on Whistle The Tune and Great Plains.

Double Grand Slam is co-owned by South African golfing great Gary Player, bred by Varsfontein Stud and trained by Justin Snaith.

The South African season finishes on 31 July and the 38-year-old Fourie is likely to extend the new record to a total that could stand for even longer than the quarter of a century that applied to Delpech.

After reaching the milestone, Richard Fourie said: “This is the moment we’ve been waiting for and to reach it with a win for Mr (Gary) Player and the lovely owners on Double Grand Slam is ironic, given the name.

“The race worked out fantastically and everything was perfect. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but a special thank you to everyone who has been involved. Thank you to my Mom, who was definitely watching and she’ll be crying. Thank you to Hollywoodbets Greyville and to all those doing the marketing and promoting, There are too many people to thank right now, but also a massive thanks to my sponsors Winning Form.”

Richard Fourie earned R1 million bonus

The jockey himself has earned a R1 million bonus from Hollywoodbets, who put up the financial incentive at the beginning of the 2023/24 season to inject interest into the jockey’s championship.

Many considered the target of 335 as improbable and the fact that Fourie only had 32 winners after the first two months of the season further suggested the record would be untouched for another year, at least.

However, the Cape rider responded to the challenge and put himself through an exhausting programme to rack up the winners around the country and surpass Delpech’s record with a full seven weeks of the season remaining.

Richard Fourie has ridden the most winners of his season at Fairview (105), while he has booted home 59 at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth and 23 at Hollywoodbets Durbanville.

The highest number of winners from any one trainer has been the 96 with Alan Greeff in Gqeberha.

The next most successful partnership he has had is with Gauteng trainer Sean Tarry (22).

The jockey’s seasonal tally includes five Grade 1 winners – Thunderstruck, Princess Calla, Silver Sanctuary, Proceed and Lucky Lad. Four have been trained by Tarry and one by Mike de Kock.

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Cape Racing’s Executive: Racing & Bloodstock, Justin Vermaak, said: “We wholeheartedly congratulate Richard for his historic achievement. There were many who doubted the possibility but he, and Hollywoodbets with their generous incentive, injected unprecedented interest into the jockeys’ championship.

“This is also the first time that Richard has won the South African title and to do so by breaking the mark set by Anthony Delpech in 1998/99 will go down as one of the great feats in South African racing history.”

Fourie’s most prolific months were in March and May when he had 44 winners in each.

However, his March total was trimmed down by one, to 43, when Mighty Mac was later disqualified, which meant that May will go into the books as to most official winners.

His daily travel routine for much of the year is laid bare when one drills down into the number of winners he has achieved at different courses in the country.

Fairview has those 105, as mentioned, while Hollywoodbets Kenilworth (59) is individually the course where he has had the most success.

Fairview’s tally is split between winners on the Poly surface (58) and Turf (47).

Richard Fourie has also ridden winners at Hollywoodbets Greyville (78) – 40 on the Poly and 38 on the Turf at that venue – Hollywoodbets Scottsville (34), and Gauteng courses Turffontein (34) and the Vaal (2).

In terms of the horse that he has had the most success on, it has been the star two-year-old filly Splicethemainbrace.

She has run five times at Fairview, and is unbeaten with trainer Alan Greeff.

There are four other horses he has won four times on during the season – all for Greeff at Fairview as well.

They are Fairy Knight, Global Ally, Luna Halo and United Express.

On three occasions Fourie has ridden five winners in a race meeting.

Those red letter days came at Hollywoodbets Greyville on 1 October, at Hollywoodbets Scottsville (29 November) and at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on 2 June.

There will be many people arguing, justifiably so, that Fourie should be considered for South African Sportsman of the Year at the annual SA Sports Awards.

This is based on the fact that his season spanned 12 months and the record was considered one of the most untouchable in South African sport.