Philasande Mxoli, also known as Philas, is a talented apprentice jockey who is currently in his fifth and final year at the South African Jockey Academy in Johannesburg. Philasande grew up in a rural area of King Williamstown in the Eastern Cape where he developed a passion for horse riding at the age of 12. He spent all his spare time after school building strong bonds with horses, and eventually became a champion in the sport of Bush Racing.
Despite his love for horses and horse racing, the former Josi Marela High School learner, did not play any other sports. He knew from an early age that he wanted to become a professional jockey, and he worked hard to achieve his dream. Lopez Magongo who he used to ride horses with him back home, told him about the South African Jockey Academy because of his interest in becoming a professional jockey.
Since joining the academy, Philasande has learned many new things and has been able to develop his skills as an apprentice jockey. His ultimate goal is to become the best, and he is working hard towards achieving that goal. Last season was a challenging one for him, as he struggled to get enough rides and could not get enough winners. However, he was able to get two Grade 3 winners in one month, which was a significant achievement.
Philasande has had the support of many people throughout his career, including Mr. Pettigrew, who has given him 90% of his winners, Mr. Maroun, who has given him many chances to achieve, Mr. Moore, who has taught him well, and Mr. Peter, Mr. Matchett, and Mr. Z Oosthuizen. He also credits his mother and Lopez Magongo for always giving him confidence in himself, as well as the Riding masters at the South African Jockey Academy. When asked for advice for aspiring jockeys, Philasande stresses the importance of being humble and working hard. He also warns against drugs and the temptation to prioritise fun over hard work. Philasande is grateful for the support he has received throughout his career, including the Hollywood Foundation, which has provided him with bursaries that have made it possible for him to achieve his dreams. He expresses his appreciation to everyone involved in the Foundation for their support and assistance over the years