michael_muis_robertsMichael “Muis” Roberts - South Africa Team Manager
(TAB/Summerhill Stud)

A long overdue honour has been bestowed upon arguably South Africa’s greatest former jockey, Michael “Muis” Roberts.

In Johannesburg last week, Michael Roberts was named manager of the South African team that will line up against the cream of the world’s top jockeys for Saturday’s International Jockeys’ Challenge at Turffontein. He was awarded his South African national colours along with the nation’s best jockey talent.

Michael Roberts,  the 11 time Champion jockey of South Africa and 1992 Champion jockey of Britain, is now a racehorse trainer in the Karkloof Kwa-Zulu Natal where he trains 65 horses for owners, including Fieldspring Racing and Sydney Cassell.

Michael Roberts has himself competed in a number of international jockey “Tests” staged in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. He has also managed international jockey teams in Royal Ascot’s Shergar Cup competition.

Frankie Dettori of Italy, captain of the international team is an old friend of Michael Roberts.

“When I was riding in the UK he was an apprentice, and too young to drive, so I often gave him a lift to the races,” recalls Michael Roberts. “He used to chow sweets in the back of the car with my daughters and practise his English on them.”

A neck injury resulting from a fall in the UK in 2001 led Michael Roberts to retire from riding at the age of 48. “I was still enjoying racing; if I hadn’t been injured I’d probably still be riding.” he said.

Summerhill wishes Michael Roberts and Team South Africa every success this weekend.