With weight a constant concern in their professional lives, jockeys have learnt all the tricks to ensure that all-important weigh-in session is in hand before a race! But now and again, even the most dedicated sportsman has to let it all hang out, and that was the scene at Avontuur Estate on Monday, when three of SA’s best known racing jockeys visited the farm.
After a wine tasting with winemaker Jan van Rooyen the three, Greg Cheyne, MJ Byleveld and newly crowned Champion Apprentice Jockey of the Year Callan Murray, had no problem choosing their favourites.
Greg is an old hand with Avontuur wines as he’s been sponsored by the Thoroughbred Stud Farm for many years. He even used to have his Avontuur Baccarat delivered to his home in Hong Kong when riding there professionally a few years ago. So, it was no surprise to see that the 2010 flagship Bordeaux-style red blend made inroads again.
MJ is one of South Africa’s hardest working jockeys, although he has just had an operation on his knee which is keeping him out of action for a while. He consoled himself easily with a few bottles of the Avontuur Dominion Royale Shiraz Reserve 2011 and said it was as smooth and elegant as he remembered it!
Callan Murray is a new star on the horizon and a recent wine convert, but after an intensive tasting session most of which was new to him, he decided the Luna de Miel Chardonnay Reserve was a good fit, especially as the wood maturation results in a fruity, softer wine, which is easily accessible even for a novice wine consumer.
All three jockeys are sponsored by Avontuur Estate and wear their branded clothing with pride wherever they ride. After a long lunch in the Avontuur Restaurant, where the deep-fried ice cream made several appearances, it was time to head back home and get ready for the rest of the week’s racing coming up. Hitting the gym was surely high up on everyone’s agenda the next day, but it was all worth it.