Picture : Capsaicin shows off his big stride (JC Photos)
Capsaicin might not be the best horse in the Mike and Adam Azzie yard at present, but he is probably the most interesting.
He will be on the float down to Cape Town on Sunday together with other Azzie campaigners Bartholdi, Gimme A Shot, Kiss Me Captain, Supreme Warrior, Ready To Charge and Francine.
Had Capsaicin’s run down the Vaal straight the other day been on an athletics track he would have visited every lane.
He is clearly still learning.
Yet despite leading at a good clip from the off and being overtaken close to home, his jockey extracted a late leg change from him and he stormed home as if he had just been dropped in to the race.
Adam Azzie, asked whether he had been surprised to see him go off at 50/1 odds for that 1600m race down the straight, replied, “No because his last two runs were quite disappointing. Coming out of the maidens in a Graduation 1000m he was very aggressive after a layoff (was eventually not persevered with and beaten 11,50 lengths). Then we tried him over further (1450m) and gave him a chance and although he ran quite far back (beaten 10,35 lengths by the smart Tail Of The Comet), Diego said to me, and it might sound funny, that he was running on in the latter part of the race. So we made the decision to run him back up the straight (over a further increase in distance to 1600m) where we could just leave him alone where he is. We were hoping one would go and we could get cover, but nothing went. He ran at a very genuine pace, but he maintained it and he enjoyed it. He’s obviously got a good cruising speed and he can still quicken off it. But I do think once he learns to drop the bit a little bit he could be a very nice horse. I will start looking for races for him in Cape Town and we will just take it one step at a time.”
The Hollywood Syndicate-owned Canford Cliffs colt was bred by Ridgemont.
Adam is particularly excited about Gimme A Shot’s season.
The Gimmethegreenlight filly did not have much luck in her three-year-old season and on Saturday moved up well in the Gr 2 Betway Fillies And Mares Spring Challenge over 1450m before finding no extra late.
Adam said, “For me her run was super impressive for many reasons. Stuart Pettigrew told me Feather Boa (the winner) had had a gallop at Turffontein, whereas our filly was in the paddock for six weeks after Durban. I really brought her back slowly because I felt last season in April, May it looked like she had gone over the top. So my thinking was always to bring her back in the Spring races underdone. She had been having just one pace work per week for the last month. If the grass at Randtjes had been open I would have said she was ready for a grass gallop, but Saturday’s race turned into the equivalent of three grass gallops with the wear and tear of one, knowing she was going to be in desperate need of it. The fact she finished just 1,60 lengths off them was very, very pleasing to me and made me super excited for the rest of the season with her.”
Adam admitted the big mistake he made last year with Gimme A Shot, which he would have learned from, was to go for the HRH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes after her desperately unlucky run in the HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes.
Gimme A Shot’s best friend is Kiss Me Captain and they do everything together and benefit from it. They go to track together, they pull out at the same time, they work one after another, they go back to the stable together, stand next to each other, they travel together.
Adam added, “They love doing stuff together and it’s always a bonus if I can find a race for the two of them on the same day!”
Kiss Me Captain is a progressive sprinter whose obvious targets will be the like of the Gr 2 Southern Cross Stakes and Gr 2 Sceptre Stakes.
Bartholdi is a hard-knocking Gr 1 sprinter, but Adam believed this could be his last season. He hoped he could pick up a race of stature as he has in fact never earned bold black type.
Supreme Warrior is also capable over sprints, although his closest to achieving bold black type was over a mile in the Gr 2 WSB Mile at Hollywoodbets Greyville, when touched off by Zapatillas.
Adam thought Ready To Charge’s third place finish in the Gr 2 Betway Jo’Burg Spring Challenge was a “phenomenal run”, despite him being beaten 8,50 lengths by Main Defender.
He said, “It was his first time over 1450m, from a wide draw, taking on older horses, it was a great run. I don’t think he stays, we learnt that on Saturday, his class kept him there for third, he quickened up so well. So well probably be keeping him over the 1000s and 1200s for now and we will look at targeting the Sophomore Sprint (November 18) and then we will take it from there.”
Adam said about the Silvano filly Francine, who is out of the speedy Trippi mare Franny, “Her main aim is the (WSB) Cape Fillies Guineas. We haven’t seen the best of her. She is absolutely crying for a mile on a galloping track, but she hasn’t been able to run a mile on a galloping track and I think it is going to be right up her alley.”