March 5, 2022

The Vogel Vlei Stud based Red Ray came up with his first G1 winner when his Joe Soma trained son Red Saxon captured the G1 WSB SA Classic (1800m) at Turffontein.

Runner up, to SA Classic favourite Safe Passage, in the G2 World Sports Betting Dingaans back in November, Red Saxon came into Saturday’s R1.5 million race off a sixth place, behind Safe Passage, in the G2 WSB Gauteng Guineas.

However, the colt reversed the form at a wet Turffontein on Saturday, with Red Saxon narrowly accounting for Safe Passage in a thrilling finish to the 2022 SA Classic.

Outsider Captain Lannister went out to make the running, as Pyromaniac lost ground at the start.

Favourite Safe Passage was ridden just off the pace, with jockey S’Manga Khumalo keeping his gelding just a few lengths off the front runner.

Captain Lannister kept galloping as the field turned for home, with the Ashley Fortune trained gelding skipping clear of his field.

However, Julius Mariba aboard Red Saxon and S’Manga Khumalo on Safe Passage bought their respective mounts with late runs down the inside of the track, as Red Saxon and Safe Passage went on to fight out a thrilling duel close home.

The race went the way of 25-1 shot Red Saxon, who prevailed by the favourite by a neck, with Safe Passage. The front running Captain Lannister ran a huge race back in third, with Super Excited finishing fourth, four and a half lengths off the winner.

It was a third SA Classic win in the past six years for the winning trainer.

A first G1 winner for his jockey, Red Saxon claimed his maiden G1 success in a time of 112.66 seconds.

Bred by Narrow Creek Stud, Red Saxon has now won twice from just six starts.

The Red Ray colt is out of the smart Casey Tibbs mare Rodeo Sioux (also trained by Soma), who won three times and who ran second in the G3 Racing Association Handicap and third in the G2 Gold Bowl.

Image: Candiese Lenferna Photography