Phumelela Publishing’s Patrick Nkosi had a chat to Champion work rider Samuel Oupa Mosia who is in pursuit of a third consecutive title this season. He gave insights into what made him become a jockey, his hopes, his dreams and future plans.
Name, any nickname: Samuel Oupa Mosia, I don’t really have a nickname, people call me Oupa.
Your current position on National Work Riders’ Log: I’m third right now with nine wins (to Monday) behind Goodman Dadamasi (11 wins) and Francis Semela (10 wins). I won the Work Riders’ Challenge for the third time this season, though.
Date, city of birth: 1 July 1974 (43) in QwaQwa.
Family: I have two children, a boy and a girl – Modise and Tibatsi - and I’m not yet married although I do live with my girlfriend, Ntomfuthi.
Tell us about your school days: I went to Phalang Primary school but couldn’t further my studies so I moved down to Johannesburg from QwaQwa where I was introduced to horseracing.
What attracted you to horseracing: I was unemployed so went to Johannesburg in the 1990s with my sister, who figured she could help get me a job. To cut a long story short I ended up learning to ride from James Maree and working for Craig Cunningham at Newmarket. At first I was scared of horses but knew I was hooked the first time I rode one.
Where are you based: I’m at Turffontein, no more than a couple of minutes away from the course.
How many career rides: I’ve had 762 rides for 86 wins and 275 places.
Tell us about your first ride: I shoot blanks and everyone I talk to finds this weird. I do, however, remember my first winner aboard Pure Desire at Gosforth Park in January 2001. It was a rush of excitement and a bit of fear. Nobody wants to fall off before even crossing the finish line. My next couple of races weren’t so good but I finally clinched a win on a horse named Sandhurst at Newmarket, maybe two-three weeks later.
Any outstanding experiences: I think winning the Work Riders’ Challenge for two years in a row is relevant and I won the Work Riders’ championship last season. I’d like to win in again, but let’s not go too deep into that topic. I don’t want to jinx it.
Are you superstitious: No not really, I just want to win and then talk about it because if I don’t, the statement lives forever.
Who is the best horse you are currently riding: I work of plenty talented horses in the mornings for the likes of Mr Ormond Ferraris, Weiho Marwing, Joe Soma and David Nieuwenhuizen, who has a horse named Golddust Woman. I won on her in 2016 and have that picture of the finish at home. The win was effortless. Her recent form isn’t the best and although she might not be the best horse I’ve ridden, she is my favourite win.
What was the greatest moment in your life: Most definitely winning the championship.
What is the hardest thing you ever had to do: I’ve got two kids - the hardest thing when you’re a dad is ensuring that your kids are happy, physically, emotionally and financially. That’s a battle every father fights. I win at the course so I believe I can win at this thing called life, too.
What are your hobbies: You know for a guy who rides horses I’m a sucker for pain - I don’t do much else physical. I do try to keep fit by jogging/running - and riding horses, of course.
What music do you like to listen to: This is going to be random but I love Disco and Gospel. My favourite singer is Sechaba, who I regard as one of the best voices we in have in the country.
Favourite food: Iphuto no bisi - pap and milk.
Favourite night out: I don’t drink or smoke. A great night out for me is spent with my kids.
Do you follow sport: I love soccer and Kaizer Chiefs is my favourite team, I’m an old head so my favourite player has to be Siyabonga Nomvete.
Do you read? If yes, what: I used to, not anymore
Do you watch TV: I love TV and “Uzalo” is my favourite drama series. My girlfriend enjoys it, too.
Best movie you have seen: I watch anything that’s on TV, really. I’m not big on going to the movies.
What car do you drive: I have an Opel Corsa. Maybe when I get a sponsor and a couple more championships under my belt I will be able to afford a Golf GTI. I need one!
Objectives for the next 10 years: I’m not growing any younger. I think I’d like a shot with the professionals. I’d love to ride in the same race as Piere Strydom. Fun fact: every little trick, tactic, style of riding and motivation for me, comes from that man.