wayne kieswetter champion owner
Ridgemont Highlands Sponsored Callan Murray

South Africa looks set to lose another top-class jockey soon, with Callan Murray having recently announced plans to emigrate to Australia.

With nine G1 victories to his credit and having been awarded Champion Apprentice for the 2015/16 South African racing season, Murray’s move overseas has come at the right time of his career.

“I really love South Africa, and after all of my international travels overseas, I’ve always been super-excited to come back here and spend a bit of time here,” stated Murray.

“But I do think career wise, that a move to Australia will do a lot of good for me and that is why I’ve made that decision. It’s unfortunate to leave good friends and family behind, but as I said, I feel that the move to Australia will be the best thing for my career.”

Murray, who recently rode his last race in South Africa, will initially be based out of South Australia, the same Australian state that trainers Gary and Dean Alexander have recently emigrated to.

The almost 25 year-old, whose bachelor status has made it easier for him to leave South Africa, is no stranger to riding overseas.

Murray has already had a previous stint in all of Australia where he rode successfully for the David Hayes Stable, but has also spent time riding in Hong Kong and Singapore, with his international wins including a triumph on Lucky Year in the 2017 G3 Sha Tin Vase.

Callan Murray Partnering Hawwaam To G1 Victory

He had, however, been based in South Africa since 2019 and in September of that year partnered with Ridgemont Highlands. Under their sponsorship banner Murray rode Hawwaam to success in the G1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes and G1 World Sports Betting Premier’s Champions Challenge and also recorded victory aboard Warrior’s Rest in the G1 Tsogo Sun Sprint.

“I’m extremely grateful to the whole Kieswetter family as they’ve really supported me well, especially over the last two years. They’re really great people and didn’t put me under any pressure – it was an absolute pleasure to work with them.”

Born into a non-racing family in Johannesburg, Callan came into the Sport Of Kings through a connection of his father. The then chief stipe Dave Durant was friendly with Murray’s father and one day suggested to Callan he might consider a future as a jockey.

Enrolled at the Jockeys Academy in 2013, Callan’s very first start saw him finish third, and he went on to win 168 races before becoming a fully-fledged jockey.

Since then, Callan has enjoyed plenty of success but enjoyed perhaps his finest hour when booting home Mustaaqeem, Rafeef and Deo Juvente to victories in the G1 SA Nursery, G1 Computaform Sprint and G1 Premier’s Champions Challenge all on the same day!

Murray Riding Rafeef (Redoute’s Choice) To G1 Success

Callan partnered the blue blooded Rafeef (South Africa’s Leading First Season Sire of 2020-2021) on eight occasions for five wins including both the G1 Computaform Sprint and G2 Hawaii Stakes, and the Ridgemont Highlands-based stallion will always hold a high level of significance to his career.

“Rafeef was a special horse to me, especially with his family as Redoute’s Choice was one of my favourite stallions, so it’s really exciting to see him now standing at Ridgemont.”

“He was a great horse for my career, and I really hope that his progeny can continue on the upward path they’re on.”

Murray also rode the now Ridgemont Highlands broodmare Takingthepeace to win both the G1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic and G2 Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas in 2018. Having produced a sensational colt last season by Canford Cliffs last season, the high-class mare is once again in foal to the five-time G1 winner.

“It was extremely exciting for Ridgemont Highlands to have played a small part in Callan’s journey,” stated Ridgemont Highlands’ Craig Kieswetter. 

“He is the consummate professional and an excellent ambassador – he will no doubt be sorely missed in the South African Thoroughbred Industry.”

“His departure is a stark reminder to our Industry of the work we all need to do to make improvements for the betterment of what we offer in this country – we need to strive to be better, to offer an exciting product that attracts the worlds very best. We wish Callan well, no doubt he will make it a huge success.” 

Super Saturday For Ridgemont Highlands

Saturday proved another great day for leading Robertson nursery, Ridgemont Highlands. Not only was the farm responsible for breeding Saturday’s Listed Settlers Trophy winner One Way Traffic but their red hot young sire Rafeef provided an eye catching winner in Turffontein, while the Ridgemont bred pair of Whoa Whoa Whoa and Arctic Drift both won their respective races.

Champion To Champion

Ridgemont Highlands’ top-class sprinter Run Fox Run was covered recently by one of the world’s elite stallions. The daughter of Foxwedge paid a visit to Juddmonte Farms’ unbeaten superstar, and outstanding stallion, Frankel, for a mating to Southern Hemisphere time on Wednesday.

Going Up Wows On Debut

Ridgemont Highlands look to have an exciting prospect in the form of Going Up. The latter, a homebred daughter of Gimmethegreenlight, made a big impression when making an eye catching, winning debut at Kenilworth on Saturday afternoon.

Canford Cliffs Colts For Grade One Winners

Ridgemont Highlands are delighted to announce that the top-class racemares Front And Centre and Takingthepeace have both, on Thursday night, foaled colts by the farm’s resident stallion, and five time G1 winner, Canford Cliffs.

Ridgemont Highlands Stallions Dominate August 2YO Sale

Current and former Ridgemont Highlands stallions dominated proceedings at the recently concluded August Two Year Old Sale. Not only did former resident sire Dynasty provide the top lot sold at the two day auction, but Ridgemont Highlands’ current star stallion Rafeef proved all the rage, with Rafeef sired two-year-olds setting the sales ring alight.

A Sad Day To Say Goodbye

South Africa lost one of its fastest thoroughbred sons following the passing of the brilliant Tommy Hotspur. The gelding, who was 30 years old at the time of his death, was euthanised on Sunday.

Ridgemont Highlands Purchase Classy Stakes Winners

The Ridgemont Highlands’ broodmare band looks set to grow considerably in 2021, and the farm recently purchased two exciting new additions to their already formidable broodmare band, the top-class sprinter La Bella Mia and the durable Onesie.

Top Class Prospects Retire To Ridgemont Highlands

Ridgemont Highlands will be welcoming some very well-bred and highly talented racemares to their broodmare band in 2021, with no fewer than 13 fillies or mares are set to join the broodmare band this season.

Australian Success For Canford Cliffs

Ridgemont Highlands’ five-time G1 winning sire Canford Cliffs is no stranger to enjoying success in Australia, having supplied the Australian group winners Cliff’s Edge, La Falaise and Money Matters, and the son of Tagula looks to have come up with yet another potentially smart Australian runner in the form of Colsridge.

Exciting Times Ahead For Canford Cliffs

Stakes-placed Canford Cliffs filly Mystical View topped the Magic Millions Perth Winter Racehorse Sale after selling to Gold Front Thoroughbred Breeding and Racing for $160,000.