Donavan Mansour is an unfamiliar name set to appear in the riding ranks, but he is no stranger to New Zealand racing.
The 33-year-old launched his riding career with a year working for Lance Noble, who was then training in Matamata. He had one ride during that 2007-08 season before returning to South Africa and has now ridden almost 400 winners.
“I spent three years in Mauritius and was champion jockey there in 2016 and rode 20 winners in Zimbabwe and the rest in South Africa,” Mansour said.
Those wins include a couple of Group Twos and three Group Three victories in South Africa. He left South Africa in good form with five wins within the last month, having previously spent several months on the sideline following an operation.
“I got back riding in time to get fit to come here and I had a good run,” he said. “I had 20 rides and won five of them.”
Mansour, who can ride as low as 50 kilograms, arrived in New Zealand last Thursday and has joined Team Rogerson, for whom he will be riding this weekend at Pukekohe and Ruakaka.
“I got homesick when I was here last time, but now I’ve got a wife and two boys and it’s a great place to bring up a family,” he said. “I’m happy to be back.”