Skip to main content

Back In Business winning on debut in February last year (JC Photos)

Joe Soma has raised eyebrows before with some of his Gr 1 entries and has gone on to win with a couple of them, so his declaring of William Longsword four-year-old gelding Back In Business in the Gr 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes should not be sneered at.

His most notable shock victory was Lobo’s Legend in the Gr 1 SA Classic over 1800m in 2018 as the horse had never run beyond 1200m before and in five career starts had only won a maiden plate. However, at odds of 36/1 he downed none other than Surcharge, who went on to win the Gr 1 Daily News 2000 and two years later won a Gr 1 in Australia.

Joe recalled, “I always believed Lobo’s Legend was good enough to win it. Wagner also won the Summer Cup … when we entered him everybody told us we were mad.”

Back In Business is merit rated 90 and in his six starts his three wins have been from 1160m to 1200m, so there are shades of Lobo’s Legend in his entry in to Saturday’s Gr 1 weight for age mile event.

Back In Business won his first two starts impressively.

Joe said, “I thought he was given a poor ride in his third start and we then gelded him and he won very well at the Vaal (over 1200m). We then had that incident behind the starting stalls (he bolted back to the parade ring with the jockey still on under controversial circumstances) He lost his confidence after that and I feel his confidence is now back. I had initially had this race as a long term target. So I have stuck to my original plan of going for this race. It is more hope than anything. He has a low merit rating, but I like to rate my own horses and the ability is there. His times (at home) are phenomenal. He is not the soundest of horses and we might as well take our chances now, because we might not get this chance again. If the horse runs well then we know its a good sign and we know how to place him from there and if he runs badly we can always hopefully come back and go to a weaker race. It is my belief in him, but it is hope anyway at the end of the day. But I believe there is no doubt he’s got the ability to compete with the best of them. Obviously Princess Calla is the horse to beat but can a horse keep going like she’s been going for the last three seasons? Take her out the race … there’s Winchester Mansion whose won a July and this is too short. The rest have mostly achieved their ratings from being placed in these big races. So that is the way I’ve read it, I’m not saying we will definitely be right there or not, but it’s just my own rating of him. Hopefully he can show me the ability he’s always shown me … times don’t lie and his times have always been unbelievable. He hasn’t been given great rides in his last few starts, he’s looking for the ground, no doubt, and we hoping for him to not disgrace himself.”

He added, “I train my horses and I don’t really worry about what people have got to say. It is what I see in the mornings and what I know of my horses. So I take my chances.”

He revealed, “At first I was disappointed with his last start, but after watching the replay over and over it showed me he has lost some of his speed, he’s looking for the ground.”

He said, “I’ve made mistakes before but you don’t remember those mistakes you made, you remember the winners you’ve had.”

Joe concluded, “I have always lived by this saying, ‘Faint heart never won fair lady.’”

Small yards go seasons without having a feature runner, but the small Joe Soma yard is an outlier in that they never seem to go a season without having a good horse or two.