TRAINER Mike Azzie has given his views on what was deemed a disappointing effort by his much-vaunted Argentine import Hat Puntano (photo) in a Pinnacle Plate over 1450m at Turffontein inside track, Saturday.
Hat Puntano (7-2 favourite), raced up handy from a wide draw, but faded tamely after the turn for home and finished 11.75-lengths behind the winner, Amazing Strike.
Azzie said that Hat Puntano’s followers can “draw a line through the run” and explained: “There are a number of factors to consider, first of all the fact that, as stated, Hat Puntano was in natural need of his run after a long lay-off.
“When he won in Argentina, Hat Puntano was placed off the pace early and he rattled home late. That’s what we wanted on Saturday, but jockey Piere Strydom found himself wide and racing handy. I’m not blaming Piere, he wanted to come from off the clip but that’s just the way the race unfolded and it didn’t exactly play into our hands.
“Hat Puntano was pecked coming around the bend and he spread a shoe, so he wasn’t galloping freely. When we pulled the shoe off after the race he was sound as can be, however, and the veterinarian remarked that he looked like a dressage horse trotting up.
“So all these things played a role in what was really a comedy of errors, and Hat Puntano deserves another chance. To put things in perspective, Hat Puntano annihilated his stablemate Will Pays in a gallop before Saturday’s race. When Will Pays won two weeks ago he had Saturday’s winner Amazing Strike almost four lengths behind him,” Azzie noted.