Joe Soma must be pound for pound one of the best Grade 1 trainers in the country because he never has big numbers but often pops up in the big ones and incredibly he has now won three of the last five renewals of the WSB SA Classic.
His Narrow Creek Stud-bred Red Ray colt Red Saxon was shorter odds at 25/1 when winning today than Lobo’s Legend (Trippi) was when winning it at odds of 36/1 in 2018, whilst Got The Greenlight (Gimmethegreenlight) was 14/1 two years ago, a price which would have been ridiculous had punters known yet how good he was.
That is not to forget the Paul Lafferty-trained Love Struck (Kahal), who Soma took care of when he won at odds of 22/1 in 2013.
Red Saxon had the run of the race in midfield on the rail as he was relatively relaxed throughout, which can be contrasted with the favourite Safe Passage (Silvano) who was exposed for a long time down the back straight before finding cover one out and one back.
They both ran on well and came together in the final stages but it was Red Saxon who always looked to have a touch more in the tank and got up by a quarter-of-a-length.
It was a fine ride by Julius Mariba.
This first Grade 1 win might be the turning point in the career of a rider who has always had the potential but who has struggled since leaving the SA Jockeys Academy. The statistics on sahorseracing.co.za show him to have won 82 races as an apprentice and only 47 as a jockey. It was another feather in the cap of Soma to have stuck by him and given him this deserved opportunity after putting hours of work into the horse.
The pacemaker Captain Lannister (Captain Of All) did well to stay on for third ahead of Super Excited (Vercingetorix) and Aragosta (Rafeef).
Picture: Red Saxon touches off Safe Passage in the Grade 1 WSB SA Classic at Turffontein Standside today.