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Another Special Finish!

Thanks to Andrew Bon

Joe Soma and Special Preview

Joe Soma and his star, Special Preview

Sporting Post commentator Mighty Crystal suggested that our readers have made some great observations and reflections  in the ‘Great Finishes – We All Remember A Few’ editorial by William Milkovitch.

Mighty Crystal says that one finish that stands out for him was between National Emblem and Special Preview at Gosforth Park.

“They were young 3yo’s at that stage with big reputations…”, he writes.

Andrew Bon says that it doesn’t get much more nail biting than this clash. Two of the best 3yo horses we have seen in a very long time.

To quote Joe Soma, ” They say that I have not qualified to get into the Rothmans July, well there is no better way to prove your worthiness, than by beating the favourite for the July”

Our sincere thanks to top SA racing television media man, Andrew Bon for the clip!

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18 comments on “Another Special Finish!

  1. Gavin says:

    Rhys van wyk at his best

  2. Zietsman Oosthuizen says:

    Rhys van Wyk was brilliant !!!!! But still his best ever was on national emblem in the administrators when he rode him hands and heals only to beat tickets and tax by a head…. that is Rhys at his very very best. Maybe sporting post can put that one up…. they had doubts if national emblem will see out the tough 2000m at turffontein but Rhys had a plan …never allowed national emblem off the bit and just kept his head in front from 300m …. that was surely one of the best ever rides i have seen

  3. Tommyhotspur says:

    Though it was a brilliant finish, I feel for the 3rd place colt, Anarch, who got completely cleaned up when still going well. We may have been deprived of a 3 horse, mega titanic struggle to the wire?

  4. Seattle Slew says:

    I’d completely forgotten about this particular race, so thanks for posting – great memories.

    Interestingly, I associate both these horses’ finest performance with races that they ran in defeat.

    Special Preview’s narrow defeat in the Cape Guineas from an impossible draw – just unlucky as he had to cover so much extra ground. He was unbeaten up to that point but this was the race that showed me he was the real deal. He suffered a few setbacks later on and did not quite deliver on his early promise, but I still remember him as a top class racehorse at his best.

    National Emblem – I wrote him off under top weight in the 1996 July and I think he conceded 6kg to London News. In the end he finished fifth, beaten less than two lengths. At the weights, a superb effort. If memory is not letting me down, I think he proved a point a few weeks later by beating London News at WFA in the Champion Stakes?

  5. Graeme Hawkins says:

    Although obviously effective over further, if memory serves me correctly, National Emblem was undefeated in 7 starts from 1000 to 1400m – Ed perhaps you can check that?

  6. Brian says:

    Man! That was great! I wonder if Gavin van Zyl could give us some insight?

    1. Editor says:

      Good idea, Brian
      Still need to speak to the Candyman too about Free My Heart

  7. Pieta says:

    Then there was Over The Air…..

    1. Editor says:

      GP will talk!

  8. Pieta says:

    I think the only person that can tell us about OTA would be Gertjie Trekker…..👍

  9. Casey Clarke says:

    Great, thanks…. Special Preview was my favourite horse, the first 2yo to be crowned Highveld Horse of the Year, 1994.


    You know, what’s remarkable about this post is that Mr. Joe Soma must have been a real heart-breaker in the 1990’s.

    No wonder the racecourses were packed to the rafters back then, Wow, Special Preview wished he looked as good as Mr. Soma.

    I’m very disappointed with the Sporting Post readers and breeders for missing that!

  11. Joe Soma says:

    What a great chirp William 🙂
    Those were great days, a super horse, and still the best I have ever trained. Problems arose because he needed gelding badly.
    Enjoyed that outing thoroughly and remembered what a true gentleman Charles Laird is when he putt his arm around my shoulders after the race and said to me that it was a pity there had to be a loser and what a race!

    One thing I can say is that a lot of horses have benefitted from the mistakes I made with Special Preview. Amazing how education only teaches you to spell “experience”.
    Little did us racing purists know how fortunate we all were to be a part of that era.

    1. Editor says:

      Well said Joe


    I get you Sir, like Comrades in Arms.

    Indeed, You paid it forward.

    For us young men in the 80’s and 90’s, it’s as if we took too much for granted but on the other hand we had very volatile and polarized society.

    I was at the bottom of the heap, having been told by my late father to question the political path our country was on.

    The Saturday break-away to the racecourse/togetherness or the horse was almost like washing one soul clean even though just for a day.

    In the Transvaal, traveling on the bus to Turffontein, with Black & Coloured people at the back, when we saw that each had a race-card or whatever racing slips in our hands… just for a fleeting moment I felt we were closer or one.

    In the enclosures, where the Black punters were against the fence & betting over it into the Silver Ring, I used to take their R5, make sure the bookie got it and then went back to the fence with the ticket returned to Mr. Mangakola.

    Then, on Monday, back to the concentration camp, for the want of a better word.

    To relay those types of odd or extreme scenario’s to a 19 year old today would be brushed aside as trivial or petty.

    Never mind the race, just to see close up how minor tack adjustment was done, just before leaving the parade ring made me inquisitive 🧐🧐 🤔🤔

    Thanks for sharing with the Extra Special Special Preview, Sir.

  13. Nirshad Singh says:

    Thank you for tgese clips. They bring back a lot of memories. Please if Mr Bon or someone could search the archives abd give us clips of the fllowing horses… ELEVATION, SLEDGEHAMMER, SEA COTTAGE, IN FULL FLIGHT, YATAGHAN, GATECRASHER, FURIOUS, ETC. Thank you in advance.

  14. Siva says:

    I liked the horse Prince Florimund.I was in High School.I liked Jeff lloyd.The trainer I followed and always will is G.Woodruff

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