Father-and-son Azzies team holds aces in Turffontein sprint
The father-and-son team of Michael and Adam Azzie hold a strong hand in a topliner at Turffontein, saddling three runners in the 10-horse field.
Thursday’s seventh race — with a gross stake of R130,000 — is a 1,000m sprint. The Azzies are represented by Rivarine (Piere Strydom), Isphan (Lyle Hewitson) and Splendid Garden (Craig Zackey).
With Strydom booked for the ride, Rivarine is likely to be the stable elect and the Var colt will be bidding for the fourth win of his career. The four-year-old ran unplaced behind Bull Valley in the Mercury Sprint in July but previously won over 1,160m at Turffontein and on Thursday races in much calmer waters.
Lyle Hewitson has experienced the ups and downs of racing in the past week — suffering a cut lip in a fall at Fairview last Friday and bouncing back with a double at the city track on Tuesday.
Isphan has an identical record to Rivarine, with three wins from 30 starts, and the son of Tiger Ridge receives 3kg from his stablemate on Thursday.
Splendid Garden lost a shoe in running when unplaced in the Computaform Sprint and rates an each-way shout on his third behind the useful Champagne Haze in the Senor Santa Stakes.
Thursday’s decent prize-money has attracted former champion sprinter Talktothestars, who has earned close to R2m in stake money for trainer Coenie de Beer.
The six-year-old has top-weight of 61.5kg in Thursday’s contest, yet he showed in his latest outing that he is no backnumber and is definitely on the short list of possible winners.
Wrecking Ball won his last start in good style but Gavin Lerena, who rode Grant Maroun’s sprinter on that occasion, now switches to African Ruler.
The Azzies have the chance of another winner in the sixth race in which their Oratorio filly, Mrs O, takes on some useful rivals including Mohallela, Shivering Sea, Twelve Oaks and Lawdy Miss Clawdy.
Australian-bred Mohallela opened her account at the Vaal in June and should go well in her third outing for the powerful Mike de Kock stable.
Dorrie Sham’s Lawdy Miss Clawdy has earned close to R120,000 in her home province of the Eastern Cape, but this is tougher company and the three-year-old may have to settle for a minor placing.