At the age of 66, and training a string of just under 50 horses out of his Summerveld base these days , Cape Town-born Michael Roberts projects the same cucumber calm demeanor that saw him ride some of the greatest finishes internationally over two decades ago.

He was taken aback when we opened our chat and read him a message sent to us by his one-time colleague and good friend, Jeff Lloyd, who recently published his biography ‘The Guv- Overcoming The Odds’.

“In all sports you have people you look up to, and Michael Roberts was definitely that person for me in the South African racing fraternity. What he achieved throughout his career is exactly what any jockey would hope to emulate. Winning 11 jockey titles and then the UK title, which incidentally I was in the UK to witness, took great determination and commitment. These attributes are exactly why he was so admired.  In my eyes he was probably tactically the smartest and shrewdest competitor I rode against and definitely one of the hardest jockeys to beat in a finish. I wish him well on his special day,” said Jeff.

He is a South African jockey currently a trainer in South Africa. Roberts has had a successful career, winning many English and South African races multiple times.