Azzie Piles On

Azzie shoots at powers from the hip as Pylon runs cracking Emerald Cup prep

Sand Star. Pylon (Gavin Lerena) cruises in a perfect Emerald Cup prep (JC Photos)

Sand Star. Pylon (Gavin Lerena) cruises to win a perfect Emerald Cup prep (JC Photos)

Mike Azzie suffers no fools at the best of times and the straightshooting master trainer has plenty to look forward to in the forthcoming Emerald Cup.  Azzie also gave the racing operators some tasty food for thought in Pylon’s post race interview this afternoon. He suggested that ‘huge acceptance fees’ for Africa’s richest sand race prior to barrier draws, amounted to ‘stealing owner’s money’.

The charismatic  Azzie didn’t mince his words in the interview. He  confirmed that the Van Vuuren owned Pylon would take his chances in the Emerald  Cup on 28 September, but said that the draw was all important and that one might as well stay at home with a poor draw.

He referred to the acceptance fees payable prior to barrier draws and labelled the situation, a ‘disgrace.’

We can confirm that a non refundable entry fee of R 1368 and a non refundable declaration fee of R5472 are payable for a run in the Emerald Cup. The final field is at Phumelela’s discretion.

The gross Emerald Cup stake is R600 000, with R360 000 payable to the winner and a cheque payable all the way down to R3000 for an eighth finish.

The second race on the Vaal sand programme, a R100 000 Conditions Plate run over 1800m was reduced to just six runners, with Azzie saddling four of the contestants.

Gavin Lerena

Gavin Lerena. Rode the winner

He used Emperor Augustus as a pacemaker and the son of Kahal tired after about 800m as Pylon cruised into the lead as they came for home.

After a brief stride for stride tussle with Piere Strydom on Jet Jamboree at around the 700m marker, Gavin Lerena gave the Fort Wood gelding Pylon the office, and the talented fellow coasted home in facile fashion .

Pylon drew clear to win by 6,50 lengths in a time of 114,19 secs. He started at 7 to 10.

He beat Spectroscope, with Jet Jamboree doing his Emerald Cup claims little good with a pedestrian effort in third place, after shortening his stride and drifting in under pressure late.

Bred by Gavin Schafer from the Goldkeeper mare Golden Cell, Pylon has now won 9 races and run 6 places from his 20 starts and took his earnings to R634 350.

Pylon (MR 113) beat the year older Jet Jamboree (MR 113) by 7 lengths in receipt of 7kgs.

Azzie was quick to point out that he felt that Jet Jamboree was not a 113 on the sand, and said that he was a far better galloper on turf.

He said he was interested to see which horse the handicapper would use as his line horse in the race today.

“I am also interested to see what revised rating the men in the big white building give Pylon,” he said with a smile.

Azzie said that he felt that Pylon had few equals on the sand and that he would be staying on and running on strongly in the Emerald Cup.

The big race is run over 350m shorter. He said that he would let his charge tick over and bring him out fresh on the day.

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