A pair of recent winning doubles have served to boost the profile of a newcomer to New Zealand racing.
South African apprentice Triston Moodley posted his first career success at Ruakaka earlier this month aboard the Stephen Ralph-trained No Agenda Nigel and followed up later in the day with Silk ‘N’ Dale for Kylie Grass.
Moodley was back in the winners’ circle at Matamata on Sunday when he partnered Te Atatu Memphis to victory for Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott and again teamed up with Grass to salute with Tanner.
“I’m really happy with the way things are going now, I’m getting there slowly,” he said.
“I’ve been in New Zealand six months and I’m loving it, all the people in racing here are so nice to work with.”
Moodley, 21, accepted the invitation of fellow countryman Donovan Mansour to join the New Zealand Jockey Academy established by the former jockey at Byerley Park with complex founder Daniel Nakhle.
They were also instrumental in the arrival of senior South African jockeys Warren Kennedy and Craig Zackey, who have both ridden Group One winners in New Zealand before the latter returned home for personal reasons.
“Donovan contacted me when I was in South Africa and asked me to come over and race ride in New Zealand,” he said.
“It’s working out very well, I’m really enjoying it. Donovan and Warren have been really good mentors to me.”
From a racing background, Moodley hadn’t ridden on race day before his arrival here.
“My parents own horses and my older brother Serino is a jockey in South Africa,” he said.
“I had been riding for five years in South Africa, but just trackwork and not any trials or races,” he said.
“This is a brilliant opportunity for me and that’s why I grabbed it with both hands.”
Understandably, Moodley took some time to familiarise himself with New Zealand racing.
“It took a little while, but I’m used to it now and I’m getting the support and I really appreciate that and hopefully it continues to get better,” he said.
“I’ve got a work visa for four years, but I think I can stay longer if I wanted to. If I continue to do well I would like to.”
Able to ride at 54kg, Moodley will be hoping to add to his winning tally at the Cambridge meeting on Wednesday with five rides on the synthetic track.
He will partner Foodie Brothers, Deep Beauty, Chivalrous, Heart Of Gold and Champagne Lola.