Picture : Mike and Adam Azzie have big Cape Town ambitions
Up-and-coming trainer Adam Azzie will send 20 horses from Randjesfontein to compete in Cape Town this summer. He said the stable’s first 15 runners will leave Johannesburg on 17 September. Stables have been allocated for them at the Milnerton training centre.
Adam and his Dad, Michael, had their sights set on a satellite yard in the Western Cape since the first Cape Racing incentives were announced in 2022. Adam commented: “The latest series of incentives encouraged us to finalize our plans. We recently bought four horses at the August Two-Year-Old sale to participate in the latest syndicates incentives.”
The Azzie team’s interest in a Cape base was spiked last season when, due to quarantine restrictions, their raiding horse party had to travel in vector-protected trucks to Milnerton without stopping. Most of them arrived dehydrated and ran well below expectations.
“We have a string of 50 horses now. We had to start almost from scratch after losing our main patron, Adriaan van Vuuren. Still, we have quality in the string, and our numbers are growing thanks to staunch patrons like Drakenstein Stud, Brian Riley, Glen Morris, and Bruce Gardner, who have kept us competitive. Considering Cape Racing’s super initiatives and the travel problems, it makes sense to have a base in the Cape to race from. Aside from our existing owners, we’ve had interest from clients in the Cape, keen on buying for us.
“We’ll see how things go this season, how well we can do in the Cape summer. My dad will be back full-time to take care of the Randjesfontein stables. In time, and if 4Racing can catch up with the Cape, the ideal would be to have two strong stables in the two main centres. We want to see how our runners can shape against the best. We’re under no illusions. We’ll be taking on South Africa’s top horses in Cape Town, but if one doesn’t measure them at the top level, how will you know how good they are?”
At 36, Adam’s long-term objective is permanently settling in Cape Town. He said: “One must change and adapt, push the boundaries. The Cape will become South Africa’s premier racing centre and possibly a destination for international competitors. I have a young family; we’re keen on a healthier and safer lifestyle, and the Cape is just a great place to race. We have done so with significant results, raiding over the years.”
The stable’s top sprinter, Sheela, has been retired to stud, but Adam feels he has a Southern Cross Stakes and Sceptre Stakes hopeful in the four-time winner, Kiss Me Captain. “We haven’t got to the bottom of her yet; she is talented.” Also, among the raiders will be the well-performed Gimme A Shot, who has enjoyed time off after finishing fifth to Princess Calla in the G1 Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes, and juvenile Amber Rock, a highly-regarded individual who was beaten under half-length by Lucky Lad on her debut. Bartholdi will represent the older brigade, and Gauteng Fillies Guineas winner Lady of Power will join the Cape string after a run or two in Gauteng features.