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Linebacker Call-Up For Zackey

L'Ormarins Queen's Plate and Met the target

The plum big race engagement by Milnerton trainer Vaughan Marshall for the top yard’s spearhead Linebacker will provide 26 year old Craig Zackey with a flying start to 2022.

Zackey told the Sporting Post on Tuesday that he was thrilled to get a ‘big horse’ for the season.

“It’s an honour to get the call-up for Linebacker, who is one of our top ranked gallopers and a horse who just doesn’t know how to run a bad race,” said Zackey.

Talented and motivated – Craig Zackey hallmarks (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

The dual Gr1 winning Klawervlei Stud-bred son of Captain Of All has proven to be one of South Africa’s most consistent gallopers over an extended period and rounded of the prep for his January Gr1 double assault with a gutsy third behind stablemate Seeking The Stars in the Gr2 Green Point Stakes on 4 January.

“With Linebacker’s regular rider Grant van Niekerk giving his notice and many of the other guys already committed, we were fortunate to get Craig Zackey. He has ridden his Gr1 winners and he arrives in the Cape next week for the month of January,” trainer Vaughan Marshall told the Sporting Post.

The outstanding Linebacker in action (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

He confirmed that his 2021 Cape Derby winner Linebacker would be aimed at the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate on 8 January and the WSB Cape Town Met three weeks later.

His stablemate, Green Point winner Seeking The Stars, will also likely be lining up in the royal weight-for-age mile, while there are hopes that another of the Marshall stars Rascallion will have recovered from an injury to be ready for the SA Champions Season on the East Coast.

January is a big month for the Zackey family. It was almost two years ago when Craig booted Vardy home to win the Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate. A month earlier he had captured the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas on the subsequently exported Missisippi Burning for Adam Marcus

Double thumbs up after winning the Queen’s Plate on Vardy (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

And four days after Vardy’s royal victory – 15 January, to be precise – Craig and his partner Sasha welcomed their daughter Sierra into the world.

And to round off a lifechanging dream three months, Craig crowned a Cape Summer Gr1 treble when Golden Ducat won the Cape Derby in February.

Fast forward to the present – a very different world – and the Zackeys’ beautiful bundle of joy is almost 2 and Dad’s on the hunt for his next Gr1 trophy!

The party yearn is gone and fatherhood and age has definitely mellowed the former SA Champion Apprentice.

“I will be travelling to the Cape as soon as possible after our Highveld New Year’s Day racemeeting and will spend the week there focussing on the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Festival,” added an excited Zackey.

In a relatively brief career, the Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein-sponsored jockey has always been a standout, and is a man for the big occasion, as his ten Gr1 winners bear out.

He has ridden his Gr1 winners in all three of our major provinces, including his most recent, Battle Force in the Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint at Hollywoodbets Scottsville in June 2021.

His first was aboard Arabian Beat in the Gr1 SA Nursery during his apprenticeship.

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3 comments on “Linebacker Call-Up For Zackey

  1. Graham Hurlstone Jones says:

    That actually changes my thinking, Zackey being one of those “pattern” jockeys…..he can make a big difference.

  2. Kiran Maharaj says:

    Snaith over Marshall? Easy choice for GVN

  3. Brian Fredericks says:

    Good ride zackey question why did grant really get of the horse ?

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