Legend jockey R.A Okine passes on

The late legend jockey - R.A Okai

The late legend jockey – R.A Okai

R.A. Okine, one of the greatest jockeys in Accra racing history, has died at the age of 83.

Described as a jockey with very forceful hands and heels-rider by experts, he rode several horses without going for any serious whip.

One of the most widely travelled Ghanaian riders of his generation; the late Okine produced El Cid for a thundering finish up the middle of the home straight to beat one of the best fields assembled including the famous Go Ahead, to win the Haige Challenge trophy over a distance of nine furlongs, on Easter Monday – March 27, 1967.

He again rode Earwig Oh to clinch the Second Republic Day Cup on October 1, 1970. A champion jockey as he was, Okine powered Tit-for-Tat to annex the Solomon Odamten Memorial trophy on January 2, 1971, before mounting the likes El Toro, Sly Mangoose, El Dorado and Good Idea for a series of derby wins.

Born on March 8, 1935, the former student of Accra Academy later owned Wish Me Luck – a horse he rode to win several other races until the Accra Race Course collapsed in the early 1990s.

R.A Okine spanned the greatest era for jockeys ever, quitting the saddle in 1993 – and having been champion jockey more than 10 times.

In an interview with him last year, R.A, as he was popularly known, told the Times Sports that his most memorable win was recorded in Nigeria, 1965, when he rode Malaria for a huge Derby win, over 10 furlongs.

“I have always looked back at that event with nostalgia. It was a moment I will always relish,” he recalled.

R.A. passed away on August 25 – barely two months ago.

His funeral mass is at 9am on Friday at the Holy Trinity Cathederal in Accra, followed by interment at the Amasaman Mausoleum.

The legend jockey left behind seven children including Ms Sophia Okai, Mrs Valentna Buckle, ADO II Winfred Okai (GNFS, Tema), Veronica Okai (GNFS, Dansoman), Mrs Milicent Sackey (Barclays Bank), Ms Juliet Okai and Cynthia Okai.

BY JOHN VIGAH

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