Horse Racing at Turfontein. Picture: RUSSEL ROBERTS/FINANCIAL MAIL
Horse Racing at Turfontein. Picture: RUSSEL ROBERTS/FINANCIAL MAIL

Five horses from one stable against one of the fastest horses in the land — that is an intriguing contest.

It is the situation in the fifth race at Turffontein on Saturday when five runners from the yard of Michael and Adam Azzie take on Lucky Houdalakis’s speedster Mr Flood.

For close on six decades, the Azzie name has been respected in the same way as that of O’Brien in Ireland. The achievements of Herbie and George Azzie in SA’s big races are well documented.

What would delight these two gentlemen is that the Azzie dynasty is in safe hands — Michael and his son Adam are ensuring that is the case.

In the era of George Azzie, stable information was kept close to the chest. The last people in the know were the media.

Happily, times have changed so the question from this old hack to Michael Azzie was a simple one — which of your five runners (Rivarine, Down To Zero, Oravar, Bohica and Russian Prince) do you fancy?

The answer was immediate. Azzie said: “You can tell your readers I think Bohica is best of my five. I’ve been running him over his wrong distance but now we’ve found the right one.”

This is important news for punters as Bohica, a son of Capetown Noir, has been priced up 5-1 in early betting. Mr Flood is odds-on favourite at 17-20 and Computaform Sprint winner Rivarine is quoted at 7-2.

“I am prepping Rivarine for the Mercury Sprint [August 29] but still expect him to run well on Saturday. But Bohica needed his run behind Marshall [in June] and I think he is weighted to win. If he does well, I might run him in the Mercury.”

Both Azzie and Mr Flood’s trainer, Houdalakis, will be decidedly unhappy when they see the barrier draws for the Greyville sprint. Rivarine is drawn 24 out of 26 and Mr Flood 26 out of 26. Bohica has drawn barrier 16.

The Azzie stable can provide Pick 6 backers with a banker bet in the first leg — Rapid Fire is expected to get her career back on track after a disappointing showing in the Allan Robertson at Scottsville.

“She didn’t travel well, didn’t eat up and the race was too much too soon after her third in the Fillies Nursery,” said Azzie.

Devin Habib has started the new campaign in good form and he rides Rapid Fire for the first time. It will be a surprise if the daughter of Querari does not beat Paul Peter’s filly Greens.

The Pick 6 might not be too difficult this time as there is another possible two bankers in the form of Golden Belle and Paul Matchett’s four-year-old Great Esteem.

Golden Belle, a daughter of Pomodoro, is chasing a hat-trick in the sixth race and will be at cramped odds to beat the July’s 35-1 Greyville winner Running Brave.

Yes, the ninth race is a maiden over 2,000m but the weights point to Great Esteem, the son of Jackson, as the likely winner. The gelding finished just behind Electra Flying last time out and is 5.5kg better off with Alec Laird’s runner.

Brett Webber’s four-year-old Quarari’s Valentyn was also in that race and is 4.5kg worse off with Great Esteem. It could leave Another Penny as the main threat to the selection.


1st Race: (3) Flashlight (1) Island Mistress (4) Tuscan Light (10) Galactico

2nd Race: (8) Al Qaqaa (13) Sea Ways (10) Domino Ruler (11) Funky Music

3rd Race: (1) Winter Smoke (4) Bowie (2) South East (3) Captain Morisco

4th Race: (1) Rapid Fire (2) Greens (3) Laetitia’s Angel (5) Raeesah

5th Race: (8) Bohica (2) Mr Flood (1) Rivarine (4) Down To Zero

6th Race: (1) Golden Belle (2) Running Brave (6) Pool Party (7) Ulla

7th Race: (7) Heart Of A Legend (8) Sultanah (6) Bella Rosa (1) Tahitian Orana

8th Race: (1) Charming Lass (10) Bold Fortune (3) Nabeela (4) Super Duper

9th Race: (2) Great Esteem (1) Another Penny (4) Electra Flying (3) Soldiers Song

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