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Dave Mollett

In a sport with more than its fair share of drama and intrigue, it’s heart-warming to highlight the success of a trainer who has survived the ups-and-downs of the sport and – quite simply – been a credit to his profession.

Tyrone Zackey – or “Uncle Ty” as he is affectionately known – has always called a spade a spade.
In an old interview with the Sporting Post, the Turffontein trainer said: “It’s not difficult to train good horses, but it’s not an easy game training slow horses.”
“When you have ordinary horses you feel yourself trying tongue-ties, blinkers, different bits, different jockeys, work routines or do they need more ground. But we love it and we soldier on.”
That soldering on has seen Tyrone’s small stable nearly making history when Smanjemanje was narrowly beaten by Pomodoro (Piere Strydom) in the 2012 Durban July. No doubt the trainer still has nightmares about that close finish.
One of the reasons Tyrone has been a survivor is that – not having big-spending patrons – he had to find value-for-money horses who could win a few races.
For many years, he found those value-for-money horses at the Highdown Stud of Robin Scott in Nottingham Road. It was a tragedy when Robin lost his life to covid during the pandemic.
The Apache was one of the stallions at Highdown and it won’t have been lost on Tyrone that his recent winner, Flashy Apache, is a son of the horse who was controversially disqualified after winning the Arlington Million in Chicago.
Ridden by Ryan Munger, Flashy Apache won his third race when successful in a 96 Handicap at Turffontein last month and started the ball rolling for more successes for the stable.
Tyrone was beaming from ear to ear in his interview with Lyall Cooper at the Vaal last week when Otto Luyken – also ridden by Munger – left the maiden ranks when winning over 1800m.
Quite naturally, the biggest supporters of the stable have been Tyrone’s close family – his daughter, Nadine, and her husband, Kevin Bakos.
But what seems to have been a big influence in what Tyrone might call “better days” is the arrival of Willem Ackerman as a patron of the stable. He owns Otto Luyken in partnership with The Bakos’ and they went to R180 000 to acquire the Flower Alley colt from Wilgerbosdrift/Mauritzfontein.
A far more expensive purchase for Ackerman, whose filly Gilded Butterfly, trained by Stuart Pettigrew, won Saturday’s Gr 3 Yellowwod Handicap, is Boisterous who cost R775 000 when purchased from Maine Chance Farms.
Tyrone would have known within a few weeks that Boisterous – a son of Silvano – had ability and he opened his account at Turffontein at the end of July.
Following a second behind Pyromaniac in September, Tyrone and Willem Ackerman probably decided it was worth a go at the Gr 3 Graham Beck Stakes.
Unfortunately, Boisterous was never a serious factor behind Robert Maroun’s winner, Anfields Rocket, and beat only two home.
Expect the colt to bounce back and keep Tyrone’s yard on the boil. His belief is “if we don’t have a ticket – we don’t have a hope of glory.” You can’t fault the Turffontein conditioner’s aim to saddle as many winners as possible.