Mike and Adam Azzie’s 2017/18 Equus Champion Sprinter Will Pays bids to defend his title in Saturday’s R400 000 Gr2 Hawaii Stakes.
The son of Imperial Stride is no spring chicken and will have to be at the top of his game to take on the up-and-coming Cape Guineas winner, Soqrat.
Now a 7yo, Will Pays secured the national sprinting accolade in a season considered ‘relatively weak’ by certain sections of the racing media. That is after the four open Gr1 sprints were won by different horses and ultimately left the wise men on the panel with a headache. But that’s all history now and the Northfields gelding is looking for a ‘lucky’ thirteenth victory when he steps out on the Turffontein standside 1400m under top weight on Saturday.
The SP top-rated Soqrat looks a tough customer to stop. The son of Epaulette followed his Cape Guineas victory with a dazzling effort in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate where he was only collared late by jockeyship on the July winner Do It Again. Randall Simons takes the ride again on Saturday and from a 4 draw, the Australian-bred colt must be a massive runner as he is aimed for a tilt at the HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes later this term.
The Woodruff trio of the consistent Al Danza, Zouaves and New Caledonia would all have chances at best. Preference is for the sadly widely drawn Zouaves, who never runs a poor race and with a bit of luck in running, could challenge.
Soqrat’s stablemate Cascapedia was not disgraced when showing pace and running a four length third to Oh Susanna in the Paddock Stakes. Prior to that she ran a gutsy third in the Summer Cup. From a favourable draw, she is not without a chance.
The 2016 winner of this event, the evergreen Captain Aldo has continued to maintain his form but has to contend with a wide draw and there are some promising younger sorts in the line-up.
Infamous Fox returned from a good handicap win in the Cape to stretch Tilbury Fort over the course and distance at his last start.
Doosra enjoyed a patient and settled ride by Anton Marcus to win the Wolf Power 1600 on Guineas day at his last start and on form, the son of Captain Al may prove a popular PA banker with his improved maturity and fitness.
The well drawn Captain And Master has proven something of an in-and-out sort at times and disappointed last time behind his Summer Cup winning stablemate Tilbury Fort.
A tough little weight-for-age plus penalties contest where the talented Soqrat looks to confirm his ability as the only 3yo in the field.