Joey Soma is favouring the Vodacom Durban July as the chief target for Saturday’s Grade 1 SA Classic winner Got The Greenlight with the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 as the springboard, although he has not given the future of the now twice Grade 1-winning colt much thought yet and said there were many options.
He said Bernard Fayd’Herbe had got off on Saturday and said he was a top horse who had given him a really good feel and would definitely get the ground of the July.
Soma had stated last year, after Got The Greenlight had stormed home from off the pace to win the Grade 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes over 1600m at Hollywoodbets Greyville, that he felt he could be a July horse.
The Gimmethegreenlight colt was subsequently named Equus Champion two-year-old male. In the excitement of landing the SA Classic for the second time in three years, Soma is yet to watch the replays and analyse the race.
However, he does already have a few questions in mind for Fayd’Herbe. Got The Greenlight had not given Soma any reason to fit a first-time tongue tie and a first-time sheepskin noseband for Saturday’s race, as he has no breathing issues and has a lovely action, but he did go in with those two new pieces of equipment.
Soma said, “He had never really settled in either of his two previous races as a three-year-old so I thought I would put the tongue tie and the sheepskin noseband on. I believe in tongue ties, 99% of my horses wear them. The sheepskin noseband helps them keep their head dropped and balanced and as horses like to see their hooves it can help them extend their stride too. But he did still throw his head around a bit. They seemed to go quickly initially and it was then slowed down. I thought it was a very good ride from Marco van Rensburg in the front on Green Laser. So before I start panicking about him getting the July trip I will be asking Bernard whether he threw his head around because the pace had slowed or was he fighting.”
Durban-born Dayalan Chinsammy is a shareholder in Got The Greenlight and would likely want to see his horse in the July.
Soma added, “Dayalan is passionate about racing, he just loves the game and makes it fun, He has bought a lot of friends and family into horseracing too, which is what the game needs. He has put a lot of money in so deserves his success but at the same time he really loves every one of his horses from the maidens to the Group 1 winners, he is a very good man.”
Chinsammy is no stranger to big race success having also owned the like of Grade 1 SA Oaks winner Ash Cloud and Grade 2 Post Merchants winner Daring Dave.
The other two partners are Soma himself and the prolific Grade 1-winning owner Hassan Adams.
Soma pulled off a fine training feat as he had just four weeks to get his star colt ready after the latter had endured a difficult preparation for the CTS 1600 at Kenilworth.
Soma said, “He had a tough two-year-old campaign and had needed to fill out, so I always had it in mind not to go hard with him as an early three-year-old. He duly didn’t look like a whole horse throughout the second half of last year, but the carrot of the R5 million CTS 1600 was dangled in front of us. He gave Ikigai 7kg and was returning from a seven month rest when beaten 6,25 lengths in the Tony Ruffel. He then had to endure 14 to 16 days of vector protected quarantine where he was only allowed out at 10 a.m. to go and work, and then after a walk in the afternoon he had to be back in his stable by 3 p.m. He hated it. After the journey to Cape Town he still looked a bit ribby, but he still stayed on well in the CTS 1600 for sixth. So those were his first two runs as a three-year-old. After the journey back we gave him a week’s break and back in his own stable he began to thrive. He responded to whatever we gave him and his work was sparkling. In the parade ring on Saturday a number of people commented on how well he looked and said they couldn’t believe how much he had matured and filled out.”
Got The Greenlight stayed on resolutely from a covered up position just ahead of midfield to beat Green Laser by three-quarters of a length with Youcanthurrylove a head further back.
The first three past the post are all by Gimmethegreenlight.
Got The Greenlight’s classiest opposition on the day had stamina and fitness question marks hanging over their heads beforehand, so it would be easy for detractors to punch holes in the form, but in fact his time for the tough 1800m contest was quicker than the winning time of Summer Pudding in the SA Fillies Classic and she is being hailed a superstar.
The HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes and Premier’s Champions Challenge are two other options open to Got The Greenlight, but if he does go the Daisy Guineas, Daily News, VDJ route Soma might stable him at Summerveld.
Soma concluded, “My concern is he is at his happiest when in his own stable but on the other hand if he is at Summerveld for three months he might start thinking of it as home.”
By David Thiselton