Former SA Champion apprentice Craig Zackey leads the national championship log as the season passes the 40 day mark. He demonstrated his talent and competitive streak with a cracking ride on Candice Dawson’s Sylvan On Fire in the Turffontein top-liner on Saturday.
Simon and Debbie Zackey can be justly proud of their 22 year old son who got the better of his senior colleague Gavin Lerena in a thrilling finish to the R130 000 Pinnacle Stakes. Despite the blow, Lerena still walked off with two wins and the afternoon’s riding honours.
With the Sporting Post weekend cover star Myfunnyvalentine unseating Piere Strydom in the preliminaries and subsequently being withdrawn by the Vet, the field for the 1450m contest was cut to just four runners.
A fascinating tactical duel developed with Gavin Lerena dictating matters up front on the Azzie’s 16 to 10 favourite Shatoosh, who led Sylvan On Fire, Lady Starlett and Smokey Affair.
Lerena increased his lead into the run for home with the Trippi mare looking relaxed and racing well within herself.
At the 400m marker Marco Van Rensburg got to work on Lady Starlett, who was switched out and started kicking on well. But her effort was shortlived and it was left to Sylvan On Fire and Shatoosh to do battle.
The result was in the balance all the way to the wire but in a grandstand finish, the photo showed that Sylvan On Fire had gotten the verdict by the shortest of short heads in a time of 90.45 secs.
Lady Starlett was well beaten a further 3,60 lengths back in third, while former Cape based Smokey Affair failed to provide the De Kock-Team Valor reunion celebrations as she finished last of the quartet. While the stable had indicated that she could go close, her 26 week break meant that ring rustiness may have gotten the better of her.
The winner was prepped to the minute by Candice Dawson and was enjoying a hat-trick of wins. She has run 5 times for 3 wins and 2 places, with stakes of R231 625.
Bred by Vanessa Harrison, who also races the daughter of Silvano (Lomitas), the winner is out of the four-time winning Jet Flyer (Jet Master).
Sean Tarry’s Myfunnyvalentine may find herself facing a suspension after the same antics saw her being scratched from the For The Ladies Stakes a fortnight ago. A pity, as she is very talented.