French jockey Stephane Pasquier is set to ride at four race meetings in South Africa this month, including at the upcoming Sun Met.
Pasquier is set to arrive in the country on January 23 and will ride at the Turffontein race meeting on Tuesday, the Vaal on Thursday, Fairview on Friday and finally at Kenilworth, where the Sun Met will take place, on Saturday.
“The Sun Met meeting is very popular in France and having a French jockey riding in the meeting will help us promote the raceday,” explained Dudley Kotzen international sales manager for Phumelela.
“We have previously brought out Maxime Guyon, also from France, and Italian Umberto Rispoli who rides regularly in France, as well as a couple of younger French riders. This year we decided to bring a more experienced jockey. Stephane has ridden in Europe and the USA and was very keen to come to South Africa.
“In the past, trainers have always supported the visiting jockeys and we’re calling on them to do the same on this occasion,” said Kotzen.
Pasquier, who turns 39 on January 17, began as an apprentice for trainer Robert Collet, and rode in his first race on 6 December 1994, on Raspoutine at Saint-Cloud. His first victory was in his second race, riding Floris at Amiens on September 9 1995.
He is a turbulent and strong character and confesses to having lost his way in 1997 and needing guidance from Collet to help him back. Pasquier won his first Listed race in 1999 and his first Group 3 race in May 2001, riding Acceleration in the Prix Corrida.
During the winter of 2001-2002 he rode in Singapore and on returning to France won his first Group 2, the Prix Greffulhe. His first ride in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe followed in October 2002 when he finished eighth on Fair Mix.
After continued successes in Group races throughout 2003, in July 2004 his talent allowed him to join the prestigious Daniel Wildenstein stable as second jockey alongside No 1 choice Olivier Peslier.
On October 24 2004 Pasquier won the Prix Royal-Oak, his first Group 1 race, with Westerner.
The highlight of his career came in 2006 when he won the Arc de Triomphe on outsider Rail Link. He also won the 1000 Guineas in England on Special Duty in 2010 as well as the Group 1 Prince Of Wales Stakes on Manduaro in 2007.
In 2014, he rode Karakontie for Jonathan Pease to win the Grade 1 Breeder’s Cup Mile at Santa Anita in the USA.
Pasquier is also a passionate soccer fan and got so caught up in the 2006 World Cup in Germany that a freak accident almost put paid to his Arc de Triomphe victory. He got so upset when David Trézéguet’s penalty shot hit the crossbar that he broke a glass with his hands, cutting himself badly. He was expected to be out of racing for a while but managed to bounce back quickly.