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Soma Explains July Jockey Switch

Hewitson and Yeni raise the needle bar for 25 July

vodacom durban july 2020

Dual SA Champion jockey Lyle Hewitson’s switch of Vodacom Durban July ride allegiances this week from Gr1 Daily News 2000 winner Got The Greenlight to the Tarry stable’s Shango has been accepted philosophically and in a sporting spirit by veteran trainer Joey Soma.

Speaking to the Sporting Post on Saturday morning from a freezing cold Turffontein, Joey said that he had been approached by the Drakenstein-sponsored jockey with a request to withdraw from his original engagement.

Deez Dyanand and Joey Soma lead Got The Greenlight (Bernard Fayd’herbe) in after the Gr1 Daily News 2000 (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

“I appreciate Lyle’s position. A large part of his success can be attributed to the powerful Tarry yard and major owners like Chris van Niekerk. And this is a sport. We are supposed to be sportsmen and behave in a sporting way. Believe me, I want to win the July – but more importantly, I want to enjoy it, too. These are rare great days for racing people. The last thing I, or my owners need, is a stressed out jockey or any tension or malice. The race is bloody hard enough to win, as it is!” he mused.

Joey  added that the replacement of Hewitson by a top-class rider like Muzi Yeni was a real bonus for the Soma Racing Team and the owners, and was a ‘like for like’ substitution.

“Ante-post players know the risks. This was not a malicious or contrived move and it is within the rules. Muzi is hungry, motivated, and so excited and thrilled to have gotten the chance to win his first July. He has done well for us at the top level with the likes of Happy Landing and Lobo’s Legend. While I have had a good few tries over the years, my last big chance to win the July was probably way back in the 90’s with Special Preview!”

Joey said that if his horse wins it would be a fairytale – if he got beaten a head by Shango or any other opponent,’then maybe he just wasn’t good enough’.

“It’s an honour to have a runner with a serious chance in the race. My team are excited and we will have him ready. I have always adopted the philosophy that we let the opposition worry about us rather than we about them!”

The unfolding soapie of the July jockey switch has some twisted dramatic irony attached to it.

Arch rivals Lyle Hewitson and Muzi Yeni – an interesting tussle looms (Pic – Pauline Herman Photography)

Last season the two top riders were involved in a head-for-head duel for the SA title and it was at the same venue on 27 July last year that Hewitson, riding Moon In June, was intimidated and interfered with by Yeni when the latter took his hand off his left side rein and placed it on his shoulder.

The Northern Cape Champion was given a three month holiday for the offence in a race where Shango ran second.

The irony is that Yeni’s mount that day was Mr Greenlight.

On 25 July he will ride Got The Greenlight.

There can’t be a jockey in the eighteen strong line-up who wants that trophy more than Muzi!

Hollywoodbets Patrick Bradley told the Sporting Post that the Vodacom Durban July ante-post market will close on Tuesday when the final field will be announced

“The biggest ante-post support has been for Belgarion, Vardy and Got The Greenlight. But to be realistic we have had a large cross section of interest in all 27 entries still in the race,” he added.

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22 comments on “Soma Explains July Jockey Switch

  1. Mike Frankham says:

    I am sure Joey Soma ‘will’ enjoy the 2020 Vodacom Durban July. A similar event occurred in the run up to the English Derby this year where Tom Marquand was jocked off English King in favour of Frankie Dettori (anti post favourite)…result, Marquand ran 2nd on a 50/1 shot, Dettori was unplaced. Tom Marquand, as did Joey Soma took the switch graciously and sportingly.
    All I can say is, Go Joey Soma, Go Muzi Yeni and Go Got The Greenlight.

  2. Jay August says:

    Presume this means Lyle is on Shango.

    1. Editor says:

      L HEWITSON (52 kg)

  3. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Mr Soma ?? you’re a Sport,?? with your horse in the big one. Mr Yeni, happy for you …

  4. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Still going strong Mr Soma……..SA racing is the best ! no problems…..

  5. Sanjay Manisunker says:

    Routing for Joey and Muzi

  6. Marlon Sing says:

    From my side joey your explanation is all ,,,,goodnyt

  7. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Hey GHJ, that’s the spirit, hope you made some bucks today. What is your early fancy for VDJ

  8. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    Jay your MR dropped 5 points..it was always going to be the case if Shango was to run in the July,,that Lyle would be forced to jump ship…I see my little Champion Luke Ferraris hasn’t got a ride,,trainers who are still deciding on jocks for their horses,, should crab this opportunity with both hands..

  9. donald bradshaw says:

    Thank you for that explanation Mr. Soma , it is much appreciated and the circumstances perfectly understandable.

    My belief was that the 3 y.o.s were not up winning the July this year but it is always amazing what happens when a rider switch occurs , somehow those switches always seems to play a part in the final outcome of that race one way or another !

  10. Raven 6 says:

    Muzi is a top jockey… Go for it muzi

    1. Editor says:

      Raven 6 – welcome
      Plse use your name and surname

  11. Harold Narainsamy says:

    I’d like to weigh in on the strength of this year’s 3 year olds. They may not seem to be as strong but they do have 4 weeks more this year than usual to mature. That extension may be telling.

  12. Joseph says:

    Hi muzi is time you win the Vodacom July good luck go muzi go

  13. Colin Sutton says:

    Won’t get influenced by all these side shows. Tarry won’t win so look elsewhere !!!!

  14. Daniel Peter says:

    Sportingpost: please shed some light on what happened to “FORRIES ON FRIDAY” during the running of the 3rd race at Fairview on Friday 10 July 2020. The betting was 3/10 and this horse ended up dead last.

  15. Devon says:

    Musi is HUNGRY. And a genuine Bloke.
    Will be taking all bets onto him. Each Way. ALL DAY.

  16. Saki Machaba says:

    I dont see any winner except for Belgarion….

  17. Simon Turner says:

    Frankie, Luke Ferraris won’t be riding in this years July because of NHRA’s decision that jockeys cannot travel. Jockeys had one chance to move before the beginning of the month.


    And Do It Again’s only chance of winning has now disappeared without Jubu Jacobs, Jospin Solomons or star jockey Thabiso Gumede in the saddle.

  19. Cyril fourie says:

    Do it Again ran second in the JMB met last year came from nowhere and won the July don’t write Do it Again off. Watch the space.

  20. Lance Rooplall says:

    It’s Muzi time, Waka Waka ye ye. It’s time for Muzi.

    Go you Beauty.

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