Hong Kong comes knocking for Domeyer

PUBLISHED: 23 April 2019

Aldo (Candiese Marnewick)

Bernard Fayd’Herbe, Keagan de Melo and Sandile Mbhele will be the main beneficiaries of Aldo Domeyer’s decision to leave for Hong Kong at the end of the week.

Candice Bass-Robinson, for whom Domeyer rode as first jockey, said at the weekend: “I will use Bernard for my heavyweights, I like Keagan’s riding and I will also use Sandile.”

Domeyer, 32,  had expected the Hong Kong call to come in June or July after his CV –submitted on the encouragement of his good friend Grant van Niekerk – received a positive response from the Jockey Club.

Aldo (Candiese Marnewick)
Aldo (Candiese Marnewick)

He said: “But they gave me a ring and told me ‘We think something is going to become available pretty soon. If you can come we would like to have you.’ I felt I should grab the opportunity.”

Domeyer is now concentrating on making a speedy recovery from the damage he received when After Glow fell with him at Kenilworth a week ago and he said on Saturday: “I hurt my back and there is a little chip in my hand but as soon as I think I am getting there it starts hurting again. It feels OK when I rest and I am not mobile but after a little while it becomes uncomfortable once more.”

His three replacements share five of the six Bass-Robinson rides at Kenilworth tomorrow – Greg Cheyne is retained by Ridgemont and so partners Silvery Heights – while Fayd’Herbe and De Melo both rode winners for the stable at Durbanville last Saturday.

De Melo dominated proceedings with a treble and attracted plenty of attention with his daring tactics on Lip Service in the Tellytrack.com Maiden. This was the filly on whom he was unable to get a clear run a week earlier and she was backed from 63-20 to 17-10 favourite to make amends.

Corne Orffer on Tuyuca, leading the field up the straight, cleverly left a gap between himself and the rails not quite wide enough for a horse to get through but big enough to tempt a jockey coming from behind to think it would probably open sufficiently.

De Melo sat like a cat waiting to pounce while those riding their own race in front of the television screens, particularly those whose money was down, began to fear that Lip Service was going to be unlucky for the second week running. Silently at first, and then increasingly verbally, they urged De Melo to act.

At the 200m mark he did just that. The leader, tiring and sensing the challenger coming, eased a few centimetres further away from the rails – despite Orffer swinging his whip in his right hand to stop her doing just that – and De Melo was through. The pair touched but not seriously enough to press the stipes into action.

De Melo related: “I had to wait until the gap was just big enough and, when I made my move, I had to really put my head down and get into it. Thank goodness I had a little bit of horse under me.”

By Michael Clower