Nicci Garner: Work riders’ log-leader for 2015-16 Samuel “Oupa” Mosia, one of the first graduates of the Work Riders’ Training Programme, celebrated his 75th career win at his greatest raceday to date on Saturday at Turffontein.
Mosia rode four winners at the final meeting in the 2015-16 three-fixture Work Riders’ Challenge, and took home a bonus of R25,000 for his efforts on the day: R20,000 for winning the challenge and R5,000 for being the leading rider at the meeting. He also notched a second and a third and his tally for the meeting was 52.
It is not the first time Mosia, who was born on 1 July 1974, has won the Work Riders’ Challenge. He took the bulk of the points in 2010-11 as well. He was the leading rider at the second leg of this season’s challenge on 2 February 2016 as well and ended up with 131 points, more than double the 72 scored by second-placed Francis Semela (winner of Leg 1 when Mosia was joint second). Third place in the challenge went the way of Chamu Mabaya on 59 points.
Mosia’s winning roll on Saturday started in Race 1 when he teamed up with Chris Erasmus-trained 2-1 favourite Hever Castle and continued 35 min later aboard that stable’s Cry Of the Toreador. Trainer Brian Wiid gave him his third win in Race 3 aboard Arpad (33-10 Tote favourite). He finished second in Race 4, when Erasmus-trained Capricious found New Delhi, ridden by Goodman Fundile Dadamasi, 1.10 lengths too good. His four-timer came aboard Sean Tarry-trained Aventurine, who beat Cranberry Crush in Race 5. Third aboard Desert Sunset for his long-time boss Weiho Marwing in Race 6, he finished fifth and 10th respectively in the last two races.
Mosia had Hever Castle disputing third place with Thewaywemakem (Mabaya) as Freely Forever (Tshepiso Moagi) set the pace from Time To Be Great in the 1000m opener. He became the filling in a sandwich between stablemates Freely Forever and Thewaywemakem at the 300m mark but then switched his mount round them towards the outside rail. Hever Castle got back into stride moments later and took off late to get up close home and win by 1.30 lengths from Freely Forever with Thewaywemakem another 1.70 lengths back in third and well clear of Starina (Madimong Isaac Duba). Time To Be Great faded in the final 200m to finish seventh.
In Race 2 over 1160m, Cry Ofthe Toreador disputed the lead with British Anthem, Jahunda and Newyorkstateofmind at the 800m marker but the middle two soon fell away, leaving Cry Ofthe Toreador with a one-length advantage over Newyorkstateofmind and way ahead of the others. Newyorkstateofmind got tired inside the final 200m and faded out to finish eighth, but Cry Ofthe Toreador kept going strongly to win by 3.25 lengths. Man The Fort (Joe Gwingwizha) ran on from third last to finish second, 0.75 lengths in front of Just A Gigolo (Beto Mundlovu) with Ashkenazi (Charles Ndlovu) fourth. Chamu Mabaya rode 22-10 favourite Blue Diamond Road but never got a blow in and finished 11th.
Race 3 was over 1400m and Sister Mary bolted off to the front after a stirrup strap snapped, giving Phelisile Mongqawa no chance at controlling his mount. Reventador was second with Mosia and Arpad, racing one wide, in third ahead of Aquabuoy. Matchmaker and Bubbly Reply were next ahead of Fangia. Arpad led 400m out and held on to beat Fangia (Tshepiso Matsoele) by a long neck with Aquabuoy another short head back in third and 0.70 lengths in front of Matchmaker (Semela).
At 1-4 Aventurine was the banker in most punters’ exotic bets in Race 5 over 2000m and Mosia did not disappoint. They disputed third place with Elegant Charm as Zoo Alley went off to set the pace from Game Plan. Aventurine moved into second turning for home and led over 400m out, going on to win by 1.10 lengths from strong-finishing Cranberry Crush (Duba). Rajen’s Babe (Sabelo Siphika) was third ahead of Island Bliss (Matsoele).
At Fairview on Friday, Port Elizabeth’s Polytrack champ Gogetthesheriff failed to win the World Sports Betting East Cape Poly Challenge 1600 and take the R250,000 bonus from the sponsor to a horse who could win all three legs of the challenge. The first two legs were over 1200m and 1400m respectively and Gogetthesheriff had won both.
Sadly the 15-20 favourite could only manage third behind Jet Explorer and Ochoncar after rearing in the stalls and starting slowly.
S’manga Khumalo, riding his 200th winner this season, had Jet Explorer in third behind leader Zoo Biscuit and Ochoncar, while Gogetthesheriff languished near the back, with only two horses behind him.
Jet Explorer led over 200m out from Ochoncar, with Gogetthesheriff running on, but although the favourite made up quite a few lengths in the straight, he came on too late. Zoo Biscuit stayed on for fourth, another neck behind the favourite.
* Phumelela, in conjunction with the Racing Association and the Racing Trust, stages three meetings a year at which every horse competing is ridden by a work rider. The riders are all paid riding fees and take home the jockeys’ portion of the stakes won in each race. The Work Riders’ Challenge is in addition to the work riders’ races staged by Phumelela about once a week. The work riders might not be quite as polished as the professional jockeys but all bar two of the favourites on Saturday finished in the first two.
Many of the programme’s graduates have shifted from being grooms to full-time work riders and six of them have gone on to join the ranks of professional jockeys, including a young man who recently became a special apprentice, Julius Mphanya.
Points are scored on the basis of 10 for first, seven for second, five for third and three for fourth and the rider who scores the most points at each of the meetings gets R5,000 in addition to the riding fees and stakes. The three top riders of the series are given cheques for R20,000, R10,000 and R5,000 respectively and the winner is presented with an award at the Racing Association’s Highveld Feature Season Awards ceremony held every May.
2016 Work Riders’ Challenge points:
|22 Oct 2015 – Vaal||2 Feb 2016 – Vaal||14 May 2016 – Turffontein||Total|