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Rachel Venniker poised for big ride in the Durban July

By Jon Vine
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  • Rachel Venniker will become the first female jockey to ride in the Durban July
  • This year's Durban July will take place on Saturday 2nd July at Greyville racecourse
  • Venniker has been booked by Joey Soma to ride Red Saxon
south african horse racing durban july
Durban July. (Getty)
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History will be made at Greyville on July 2nd, where Rachel Venniker will become the first female rider to take part in the Durban July.

The days when female jockeys were shunned in favour of less-talented male jockeys are long gone, and the sport of horse racing is all the better for it.

Rachael Blackmore, Hollie Doyle, Bryony Frost and Hayley Turner have enjoyed consistent success at the biggest race meetings in the UK and Ireland. Michelle Payne and Jamie Kah have blazed a trail for female riders in Australia, with all six building on the foundations laid by legendary jockeys like Julie Krone and Emma Jayne Wilson.

A leading female jockey is something South African horse racing has been crying out for, and it seems like the continent may have found its answer in leading apprentice, Rachel Venniker.

The former show jumper made her race riding debut in June 2021. In the space of 12 months, Venniker's reputation has sky-rocketed and the 20-year-old now leads the Apprentice Jockey standings in South Africa.

Venniker's fine form over the past year was rewarded earlier this week, when trainer Joey Soma confirmed that he had booked the leading apprentice to ride Red Saxon in the 2022 Durban July.

At 53 kilos, Red Saxon will carry the joint-lowest weight into this year's Durban July. Joey Soma's three-year-old booked his spot in the field by winning the WSB SA Classic at Turffontein back in March, so Venniker's mount is certainly a capable outsider to look out for.

Red Saxon can currently be backed at 50.0 to win the Durban July. Safe Passage remains the favourite at 4.0, ahead of Linebacker and Sparkling Water. The full betting for the 2022 Durban July can be found here on our website...
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