Avontuur GM Pippa Mickleburgh announced today that nineteen year-old Callan Murray from Johannesburg will be sporting Avontuur branding from tomorrow when he participates in the Vaal race day, becoming the fourth jockey to be sponsored by the Western Cape based Stud farm and Wine Estate.
Callan currently leads the National Champion Apprentice log by 20 winners with six weeks left of the new season. He comes out of his time at the end of 2016. In April he rode his biggest winner to date when steering Fursa home for Mike de Kock in the Gr2 SA Fillies Nursery. He rode 16 winners in May and is looking to ride an average of 16 winners per month to crack the magical 100 winner mark this season.
“I love my career although my whole family has no background or previous experience with the sport,” says Callan. “A family friend recommended that I investigate this as a future prospect and in Grade 10 I went off to the Jockey Academy for training. Once I sat on a horse the first time, I knew this was for me!”
When asked about his family’s reaction to his new direction, he laughs and says his mom can’t watch the racing live, but records it and then watches later. “They always attend my big races though and are a huge support,” he says.
Avontuur’s branding, as well as that of their two highly rated stallions Var and Oratorio, is now worn proudly by Antony Delpech, Grey Cheyne, MJ Byleveld and Callan Murray, which gives the stud operation great exposure on race courses country wide.