Soma not rushing his 2019 Equus champion Got The Greenlight
DURBAN - Joe Soma has a number of options for last year's Equus Champion Three-year-old colt, Got The Greenlight, and the first choice would be to run him in the QE II Cup in Hong Kong in April.
However, that all depends on the export protocols changing, so his more likely program will be an August campaign in Johannesburg followed by the SA Champions Season in KZN, culminating in his ultimate target, the Vodacom Durban July.
A Cape Town campaign is also a possibility but that would depend on horses being allowed to travel freely and also on the stakes levels.
Any African Horse Sickness case within a 30km radius of the training centres means an automatic 40 day ban on travel down to Cape Town, which is part of the AHS Controlled Area.
However, there is an option under those circumstances for a horse to spend 14 days in the vector protected barn at Randjesfontein.
If they do take that option they are only allowed out between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Soma did choose that option last year and pointed out, "It is very hard on a horse having to live under those conditions and then get on a vector protected float and travel 1400km to Cape Town, he does not know where he is. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and the CTS 1600 was the only unplaced run of Got The Greenlight's career and he was beaten by E division horses!"
Soma said he would unlikely excercise that option again.
However, he hinted a Cape Town campaign would be a possibility if there were no more AHS cases within a 30km radius of Turffontein (there is currently a 40 day ban in place due to an AHS case in early October).
He said, "Raiding Cape Town in normal circumstances is fine. The horses get on the float on the Tuesday after a normal training regime and arrive there fresh."
However, he lamented, "It is amazing how an AHS case will always crop up just before the horses are due to leave for Cape Town. We are then expected to race down there on playing fields that are not level, then come back to Jo'burg and race here and then go down to Durban where we meet the Cape Town horses who have been kept fresh. We also have big races in Jo'burg but the Cape trainers do not come for them."
Soma admitted he would probably do the same if he trained out of Cape Town.
However, he pointed to the great Syd Laird and Politician to prove that it was possible to travel to Turffontein and still win in other centres. Politician traveled up to Johannesburg in the November of both 1977 and 1978 before winning the Met, Queen's Plate and July in the first of those seasons and he did the Met-Queen's Plate double the following season too.
Soma's life-long dream has been to win the Vodacom Durban July and he said if the likely Johannesburg Autumn and SA Champions Season route was followed Got The Greenlight will probably make his reappearance in January.
He said, "He is very well and there is no rush."