Monday, 05 November 2018 23:24

Azzie runner ready to fire

websize greek fire

There is still a hope that Greek Fire can get himself into the G-BETS Summer Cup at Turffontein on 1 December.

His merit rating of 101 puts him in contention but the organisers will still want to see he is fit enough to take his place in the R2-million Grade 1 race over 2000m.

In a recent stable tour with Adam Azzie, who is joint trainer with his dad Mike, the view was expressed that Greek Fire could be a Summer Cup contender.

“He started well and we had high expectations of him,” said Adam. “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.”

Greek Fire will be having that comeback run at the Vaal on Tuesday, but over 1700m, not 1400m. That seems to indicate the four-year-old might be a little further along than they expected and a good performance in this race would make the Summer Cup a very real possibility.

Greek Fire has a lot in his favour. Firstly, he will be racing in an Assessment Plate where he is between 6kg and 17.5kg better handicapped than his seven rivals.

During his recent break of 213 days he was gelded and that may have helped him to overcome his habit of over-racing. Finally, the Azzies have called on Weichong Marwing to take the ride and that indicates they mean business.

Once you look past him any of the opposition can win. The Dazzler from the Mike de Kock yard is the next best-weighted runner but he has not faced the strength of opponent who Greek Fire has come up against.

One runner who can improve is Top Rank, who has only run three times. He won on debut and has finished fourth in his last two starts behind some decent company. He also comes back from a 121-day rest during which he was gelded.

Scott Kenny’s Lone Survivor looks to have a touch of class but he will have to be at his best to get the better of What A Captain in Race 8, a MR 80 Handicap over 1200m. Lone Survivor has won three of his six starts and still looks to be better than his 76 merit rating suggests.

What A Captain is highly rated by the De Kock yard and has been gelded since his last run. He only gets 1.5kg from Lone Survivor and that might not be enough at this stage of his career.


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