Three-year-old gelding Abashiri thundered down the Turffontein straight on Saturday to claim the handsome old trophy for the R1-million Grade 2 Betting World Gauteng Guineas. If the connections were quiet beforehand, they sure opened up after Abashiri’s 2.50-length demolition job of the cream of young horses on the Highveld. Trainer Mike Azzie, after receiving a hearty round of applause from the amazingly large crowd, declared: “This horse makes me look better than I am. ”He added: “You wake up early every morning in the hope you’ll get a horse like this.” And then: “He’s a machine; a pleasure to work with. He’s the best I’ve had since National Currency. And when I say that I’m comparing him to something I thought I’d never see again.”
Jockey Karl Zechner enthused: “This horse gives you such a feel. He won’t stop here. He is such a calm horse he takes your butterflies away. He even corrects any mistake you might make in a race. “We had a nice draw and when I placed him as well as I did I knew we were in the right spot. After that he just showed me the way to go,” said the jockey, who has been in the form of his life in recent months. Owner Adriaan van Vuuren added to the torrent of adulation: “This is a special feeling. It’s something money can’t buy. From the first time I saw him win I knew we had something special. You can see it in his eyes, he takes racing seriously.” Abashiri looked a picture of health and fitness in the parade ring and was a clear favourite at 2-1 at the off, with Brazuca from the Johan Janse van Vuuren stable next on the boards at 33-10.
From the 1600 break, Anthony Delpech chased Mike de Kock charge Suyoof across from an outside gate to take up the running. New Predator, Le Clos, Celtic Captain, Muwaary and Abashiri were the chasing pack, with the latter some four lengths off the pace. Zechner gave Abashiri his head some distance out and, for a fleeting moment, the favourite’s backers were worried as the son of Go Deputy didn’t immediately accelerate away. But he gradually lengthened his stride and inched ahead, and then further ahead, and by the time the post came the thousands of racegoers in the stands were yelling their heads off in celebration of a notable victory. The way Abashiri galloped on relentlessly towards the end suggests he will handle the longer challenges to come in the next two legs of the Triple Crown – which he will surely attempt.
The remarkable Summerhill Stud bred Champagne Haze (5-1) ran on stoutly from well back to pip Malak El Moolook (75-1) for second place, with Brazuca nearly two lengths back in fourth. Abashiri has now won four times from six starts and amassed R940,000 in prize money. He was one of very few well-backed horses to prevail in the exotics races at Turffontein.
Extract from Tab News / JC Photos (p)