Sheela (JC Photos)
S’manga Khumalo has ridden Sheela in her past four starts
David Mollett (Business Day)
Before they send runners to Maritzburg for Saturday’s big meeting at Hollywoodbets Scottsville, the father and son team of Michael and Adam Azzie have business to attend to at Turffontein on Thursday. They will be hoping their speedy filly, Sheela, can notch her sixth win by winning the sixth race.
The Azzies will run Gimme A Shot against Princess Calla in the SA Fillies Sprint on Saturday, but perhaps their best chance of securing prize money is with their sprinters, Supreme Warrior (S’manga Khumalo) and Bartholdi (Craig Zackey) in the Golden Horse Sprint.
Khumalo has ridden Sheela in her past four starts and was in the saddle when the daughter of The United States finished fourth in the grade 1 Computaform Sprint.
That form suggests the four-year-old will be tough to beat at the city track and bookmakers have priced up the filly as the 15-10 favourite.
However, it might not be a stroll in the park for Sheela as she is opposed by two useful rivals in Rollwiththepunches and Mover And Shaker.
Roy Magner has done a first-class job with Rollwiththepunches who presumably has had his issues as he didn’t race between July 2022 and February 2023. When he did reappear he showed tremendous speed to win the Harry Hotspur Handicap and followed that with a second behind Princess Calla in the Senor Santa Stakes.
There has followed another 12-week absence (he was scratched at the start of the Computaform Sprint when injuring his head in the stall), but the son of Act Of War can add to his bankroll which is close to R600,000.
With young Donald Geerthsen claiming his apprentice allowance, Mover And Shaker comes firmly in the picture for trainer Fabian Habib. The son of Rafeef is another quick horse so expect a fast time for this 1,000m dash.
The Azzies send five runners to Turffontein and it will be particularly interesting to see how their two-year-old, Ready To Charge, fares against Jerusalema Rain and Sandringham Summit in the second race.
While Ready To Charge — a R300,000 son of Gimmethegreenlight — was seriously impressive when winning on debut at the Vaal in April, Jerusalema Rain ran second to Lucky Lad in the SA Nursery and Sean Tarry’s youngster is favourite for Saturday’s Gold Medallion at Scottsville.
Sandringham Summit cost six times more than Ready To Charge and it could be money well spent as David Nieuwenhuizen’s got within a neck of Lucky Lad on debut and followed that with a comfortable first win over Thursday’s course and distance last month.
So this is a cracking contest and perhaps exactas coupling the Azzie runner with Jerusalema Rain and Sandringham Summit could be the way to go.
Keagan De Melo has been booked to ride the Azzies three-year-old, Breeze Over, in the seventh race and the gelding is weighted to turn the tables on Jet Dynasty.
Breeze Over is unproven over 2,400m whereas a number of his opponents including Positive Attitude, Mambo Come Tesio and Absolute Value have done well over this distance. In a competitive affair, the lightly raced Mambo Come Tesio should go well in the hands of Kabelo Matsunyane.
Mary Slack’s decision not to sell Red Maple proved a good move and the daughter of Silvano will bid to win her fourth race when she lines up against 10 rivals in the last leg of the Pick Six.