TRAINER Corne Spies has saddled 13 winners so far this season and occupies a Top 15 spot on the National Log. Ten of those have come from his satellite base in Port Elizabeth where, he says, the Fairview Polytrack has been a blessing to the stable.
On Tuesday, Spies and Craig Zackey won Race 1 over 1000m at Fairview with home-bred three-year-old Afgas and Race 7 over 1000m with five-year-old Fire Horse (headline photo), who got back to winning ways after a dry spell to record his fourth career win.
“We have a lot of sand horses in the stable, during the final sand season at the Vaal I think we had more winners there than champion trainer Sean Tarry so the closing of the sand track was a big setback. But the PE Polytrack has helped a lot, we were fortunate to get some stables there and this winter we raced a number of our better horses on the track as opposed to racing on the hard winter tracks in Gauteng.”
For the Spies yard, it’s always been a case of “have horses, will travel”, which they do all-year round for main patron Fito Englezakis, Rob Macnab and a few others. His main base is at the Vaal training centre, where his father Tobie and Charlene Tucker assist with a string of 70 horses and from where raids are conducted using the stable’s own float to Kimberley and Durban. Brother Erik manages 28 stables at Fairview, where the string numbers 22 horses.
The Spies stable is known for stepping out their fastest “babies” at more or less this time of year, every season, and it will be no exception this year. He tells: “There are a number of promising two-year-olds in the string. We’re waiting for rain and we’ll start stepping them out. It’s an exciting time always, there are a few young horses here showing us plenty of ability at home and we’re hoping they can reproduce that when they get to the track!”