Michael Azzie has announced that his stable star, Abashiri has changed hands.
In a statement to the Sporting Post on Thursday, 2 February 2017, Mr Azzie confirmed that Abashiri, who previously raced in the orange and black silks of Adriaan and Rika van Vuuren, has been sold to clients who race as the Cornerstone Trust. “The nominee has had horses with me in the past and is a close friend of mine,” he said.
After his tough 2016 Triple Crown campaign, the decision to run Abashiri under a welterweight 59kgs in the Vodacom Durban July as a 3yo courted much speculation and criticism in both the press and social media.
Mr Azzie, who has been the focus of intense media speculation throughout the horse’s career, today told the Sporting Post that he had advised the Van Vuurens against running their horse in the July. However, as Adriaan van Vuuren had a long-standing desire to win the race, the decision was made to run. “I did give them my opinion that I felt running in the July was not in the best interest of the horse, but Adriaan wanted to run and I had to respect that. After all, he is the owner.”
The public attention intensified after the horse finished 13th in the July and was vanned off the course to investigate a suspected injury. The experience caused the Van Vuurens to announce their intention to withdraw from racing. They later sold the bulk of their stock at a dispersal sale last November, retaining Abashiri and a select number of additional horses.
The son of Go Deputy has had a disappointing 4yo campaign to date, finishing 14.75 lengths behind Trip To Heaven in a 1160m Pinnacle Stakes at Turffontein last November. He then travelled to Cape Town for the Cape Summer of Champions, finishing 9 lengths off in the Green Point Stakes and crossing the line last in the 2017 Queen’s Plate. When he returned to the paddock after his Queen’s Plate run, Abashiri was found to be not striding out and was immediately scratched from his Met engagement.
Abashiri was subsequently sold to the Cornerstone Trust and will be given an extended break at Lammerskraal Stud in Ceres where he was born. Plans for his future are currently under discussion and will be announced in due course.