Wednesday, 05 September 2018 21:09

Azzies run rule over their horses

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It is just over one season that Mike Azzie has had his son Adam as a joint trainer in the yard and, overall, both Azzies are delighted with the progress they have made.

They set themselves a few targets for the 2017/18 season and met all but one, so they are looking forward to building on a successful start in the new season.

Adam Azzie went through the horses he believed will be key for the stable this season and discussed some of their short-term plans. He also spoke about their support of the progeny of Potala Palace who was trained by Mike.

This son of Singspiel was one of the most expensive lots as a yearling but his career was cut short as a result of a number of niggles. “We always thought he was exceptionally good but the problems with his joints cut short his career,” said Adam. “He had a great pedigree and we really want to support his babies.

“If we can get some of these youngsters to win a couple of features it could get others to support him. Nothing should stop him from getting good babies as he is sent to top mares.

“I believe he will produce some good bread-and-butter horses. You won’t find many who are incapable of winning races.”

Here are their plans for some of their exposed horses:

GREEK FIRE: He started well and we had high expectations of him. Then for some reason he started to over-race and that set him back for his three-year-old career. We have given him time to physically mature and he seems to have settled down. The plan is to give him a run over 1400m but his ideal distance should be between 1800m and 2000m. If he can overcome his previous problems I believe the Summer Cup would be within his ambit. He has potential but he still has a lot to prove. But we believe he’s good enough.

THE ROCKETMAN: He won three of his first five starts and was narrowly beaten in another. He was running on ability but was not physically or mentally where we wanted him so we put him out to give him time to mature. We ran him in the SA Derby and he finished 6.90 lengths behind the winner. It wasn’t a shocker but we found it disappointing. He will come soon and we will start him over 1600m but he looks as though he will want ground. We believe he is capable of winning a feature but we would like to see how has come on before planning his four-year-old career.

ORPHEUS: He was coming off a very long rest so we were very happy with his run in the Assessment Plate when he finished second to Noble Secret. His previous run was in last year’s Graham Beck Stakes where he ended up with an abscess in his eye and he almost lost the eye. Pretty happy with the way he has matured and he could be a Charity Mile candidate if he improves. That would be a test for him and we could step him up for other features if he shapes.

FULL MAST: He has quietly been improving. He is a strong, big animal – all the qualities you need to be a nice horse. He’s the kind of horse who could have a long career and train on to be a decent six-year-old. His aim will be the Spring Challenge on 6 October and the Charity Mile. We might even step him up in distance because on pedigree he should see out 2000m. That gives us Summer Cup possibilities.

HAT PUNTANO: We went for the Queen’s Plate but he was not well in Cape Town. He will go out to defend his Charity Mile title but our main mission will be the Grade 1 Horse Chestnut in April next year. He is a lovely horse and our mission is to win a Grade 1 with him so he will have stud value for his owners.

RIVARINE: He has been out for quite a while because he’s suffered from suspensory issues. He is over that and right now he is moving better than ever before. He is a contender for the sprint features.

WILL PAYS: He was such a good horse to us last season. He is a genuine racehorse and a pleasure to train. We would like to try him over a mile and the Queen’s Plate is under consideration because he travels well. The Spring Challenge over 1450m will probably be his first run back. It’s a weight-for-age event which is right for him but he will need the run. The Horse Chestnut will be his main goal but the Grade 1 Hawaii Stakes (1400m) is another possibility. Hopefully he will do as well as last season.

DOWN TO ZERO: He is a nice sprinter and if he proves himself he could be a Mercury Sprint contender. He’s had a busy season but is sound.

MRS O: She’s a quality horse and can win from 1200m to 1600m. She will start on Saturday in the Spring Spree and is not without a chance if she runs to her best. Next year’s Empress Club Stakes will be her mission.

SAN FERMIN: She shows a lot and she’s got tons of ability but needs to put it together. She’s immature and needs to strengthen. She runs well when fresh and maybe that’s how we need to plan her future. She will be back in the Spring Fillies Challenge next month.

FREDERICO’S DREAM: Nice filly who could be competitive in fillies’ sprints. She could win a feature.

GUNS ‘N ROSES: She’s had a lot of issues so we’ve given her time off. If we can get her sound and have her stay sound, she has the ability to do well.

LOTS OF LOVE. Adam Azzie with Greek Fire, who he hopes will have made some good development after given a rest.

Jack Milner


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