The ‘Z factor’ is an integral thread in the colourful fabric of Gauteng horseracing. It is difficult to pass a raceday without a Zackey, or a Zaki, making the news. The passionate clan steps out in numbers at the Vaal today, when the aptly named course and distance specialist Bad Boy Buddy Boy takes on seven opponents in a tightly contested handicap.
Ironically the reference to ‘I haven’t got a zack’ indicates that one is broke – the ‘zack’ being the old Australian sixpence.
While stone broke and racehorses are known to go hand in hand at times, it is difficult to find anybody who has troubled his bank manager when backing the energetic Dominic Zaki trained Bad Boy Buddy Boy.
The Gary Player Stud bred son of Captain Al is four out of four on the Vaal 1000m turf surface, since cracking his maiden on 17 March in the hands of S’manga Khumalo.
He will be ridden by another Zackey on Tuesday – young SA champion apprentice Craig – and has plenty in his favour.
The sole recent blot on his copybook was an ill-conceived (in hindsight, that is) trip to Greyville on July day. He jumped fancied at 5 to 2 there but was never in the hunt and ran some 8 lengths behind Tiger Territory in a strong race on foreign soil.
His return run to home at the end of August showed that he suffered no side effects from that road trip.
Bad Boy Buddy Boy easily beat Greasepaint at their last clash but Roy Magner’s hyper consistent son of Kahal could be his biggest threat at the weights.
Greasepaint enjoys a 3,5kg pull for a 3,40 length defeat and this will bring them closer together.
Greasepaint will be ridden again by Gavin Lerena and goes for a hat-trick of wins.
His only recent non-earning effort was in the Gr1 Computaform Sprint, where he may have been outclassed against the best in the land.
Mike Azzie has a decent coupling, comprising the enigmatic Isphan and the lightly exposed, Splendid Garden.
Piere Strydom jumps aboard the Tiger Ridge 4yo Isphan, who showed improved enthusiasm last time when going second to Roman Carnival in the August Stakes.
On his best turf form to the likes of the top-class Trip Tease, and assuming he is back to himself again, he is worth including in calculations.
Splendid Garden returns from a 20 week break after winning two of his first five runs in good fashion.
He may need this outing and steps up in class after disposing of Kapitan in a lower handicap in April. JP van der Merwe has ridden him at all of his five starts and knows him well. It may be best to monitor the betting as far as this fellow goes.
The Paul Peter trained Mod Barley chased Bad Boy Buddy Boy home last time and meets the Zaki runner on 2kgs better terms for a 1,20 length beating.
The son of Antonius Pius is very fast and Weichong Marwing will know him a little better as he jumps aboard for the second time.
Johan Janse van Vuuren’s Gasoline carries no weight with the capable youngster Callan Murray’s claim and this son of Teofilo could escape a margin of lack of fitness over the minimum trip after a 26 week break.
Corne Spies’ pacy Sarge filly Sarve has it all do with topweight and returns to turf after a short spell on sand and the all-weather.
She was cut into when running a dismal race last time and has some ground to find on the boys.
Leon Erasmus’ Mogok’s Desire is a course and distance winner but is not in the brightest of form as he steps out for his 49th career start. He has a quartet kicker place prospect at best.
So a tough little handicap with the top three close together.
They will be shouting down the rafters though and Bad Boy Buddy Boy is the narrow selection to beat Greasepaint and Isphan.