MINIBUS taxis barrelling down the unlovely streets of downtown Johannesburg isn’t promising material for promotion of a posh event. It might scare the horses — not to mention folk from beyond the Hottentots Holland.

But the “Jozi Jockeys” TV ad for next month’s Summer Cup at Turffontein is pretty cool. Taxis, with drivers decked out in jockey silks and caps, engage in a race through the Jozi traffic, with commentator Clyde Basel excitedly describing the shenanigans.

What appeals is the surreal juxtaposition of disparate things, neatly sewn together with a unifying thread — in South Africa we produce world-class jockeys and world-class road bandits.

Our warriors of the steering wheel would chow taxi drivers from anywhere in navigating from A to B with urgency. And our jockeys have shown they can run rings around any foreign “hoop”.

A new contest — the Longines World’s Best Jockey — should prove our riders’ mettle. But wait, the rules are biased against us.

This award was launched last month, with more than half the qualifying races for the 2013-14 title having been run and counted in retrospectively. But that’s not the absurdity.

The title is decided over the world’s “top 100” Grade 1 races — 26 in Australia, 20 in the US, 17 in England, 11 in France, nine in Japan and … one in South Africa.

Currently the leading South African on this list is Hong Kong-based “Durban Demon” Dougie Whyte in 29th spot. Anton Marcus is at 45 after his Hong Kong Mile win on Variety Club.

Okay, racing’s big Down Under, but this is hilariously out of whack. Perhaps the Bruces get preference because they’ve pumped up purses for Grade 1s — allegedly by giving smaller tracks a prize money “haircut”. One racing blogger has dubbed Australia “the Rodney Dangerfield of racing”.

Amazingly, the current leading jockeys are not Aussies, but Europeans.

Top of the log is Belgian Christophe Soumillon. Fair enough. But second is Irish rider Joseph O’Brien, who only gets big-race winners because his dad, Aidan, happens to train for the world’s biggest racehorse owners, Ballydoyle. This shows how silly the Longines ranking is.

Jockeyship makes a difference in a race between equally matched runners. But if a horse doesn’t have the ability or inclination to compete, no amount of gyrating in the irons will make a difference.

A trainer once said: “Plan A is the trainer’s plan, Plan B is the jockey’s plan and Plan C is the horse’s plan. Mostly we go with Plan C.”

Currently the leading South African on this list is Hong Kong-based “Durban Demon” Dougie Whyte in 29th spot. Anton Marcus is at 45 after his Hong Kong Mile win on Variety Club.

Glyn Schofield, now living in Oz, is 40th. All respect to this journeyman, but few would put him up with home-based aces such as Marcus, Weichong Marwing, S’Manga Khumalo, Richard Fourie and Muzi Yeni.

Many pundits make Pierre “Striker” Strydom the world’s best — Brazilian superstar Joao “Magic Man” Moreira notwithstanding. Striker is at No 50, thanks to victory aboard Copper Parade in our solitary “top 100” race, the Computaform Sprint.

It makes you want to get a hold of this Longines crowd, put them in a Johannesburg taxi and show them what being taken for a ride it really means to be taken for a ride.

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