The Summerhill Stud-bred Brave Tin Soldier colt Rabada maintained his unbeaten record and registered his third straight win with a gutsy showing to go all the way in the R600 000 Gr1 Premiers Champion Stakes at Greyville on Saturday. He also enjoyed the distinction of being a first Gr1 winner for his beautifully bred sire.
Trainer Mike Azzie has a great record in this race and saddled a powerful three pronged attack. He ended up with the popularly supported winner and also had the satisfaction of watching his recent debut winner Abashiri run a cracking third, under a length off the winner.
But the race was all about Ingrid and Markus Joostes’ smashing colt Rabada, who had stepped into the limelight with a fluent victory in the Listed Gatecrasher Stakes at the same venue on 6 June.
Starting in the red on Saturday, he was a popular exotic banker – but there were some sweaty moments in the final 250m as the promising Gauteng raider Prospect Strike and Azzie support troop Abashiri threatened to upset the favourite’s party with sustained challenges down the outside.
With the runners spread wide apart, things probably looked closer than they were in the end, but Rabada maintained his lead to score by 0,75 lengths in a time of 97,85 secs.
From a wide draw, Prospect Strike ran a top-class race to hold Abashiri by a short head for the runner-up berth.
Winning jockey Anton Marcus said that he was happy to take up the running on Rabada quite early after the Azzie pacemaker High Game had done his job. He was stalked by Prospect Strike for a long way.
Marcus said that despite his mount running green, he had always felt confident and was very happy with the performance.
A typically emotional Mike Azzie said that his team had been ‘devastated’ after a disappointing Vodacom Durban July day.
“We had Melliflora run a cracking second in the Gr1 Thekwini earlier. So this was much better. As far as this race went, at this time the Rabada was the right horse and I felt he would win. But wait till November and keep an eye on Abashiri. He is only going to get better,” he said.
Rabada maintained his 100% record from 3 starts and took his earnings to R512 500.
A R300 000 2014 CTS Johannesburg Ready To Run Sale graduate, the son of Brave Tin Soldier was bred by Summerhill Stud and is out of the one-time winning Fard mare, Jordie.
A record-breaking $3-million USD weanling, the Summerhill based Brave Tin Soldier, is a stunning bay stallion with a beautiful head and is clearly passing his good looks onto his progeny. He carries an immaculate pedigree which reflects his good looks – being by world champion sire Storm Cat out of Bless by Mr Prospector – his dam is a full-sister to Kentucky Derby winner and sire, Fusaichi Pegasus.
Gr1 Premier Champions Stakes (SAf-Gr1)
Greyville, South Africa, August 1, R600k, 1600m, turf, soft, 1.37.85
1 – RABADA (SAF), 60.0, b c 3, Brave Tin Soldier (USA) – Jordie (SAF) by Fard (IRE). Owner Mrs I Jooste & Mr M J Jooste; Breeder Summerhill Stud; trainer MG Azzie; jockey A Marcus
2 – Prospect Strike (SAF), 60.0, b g 3, Toreador (IRE) – Prospect Fever (USA) by Mr Prospector (USA)
3 – Abashiri (SAF), 60.0, b c 3, Go Deputy (USA) – Donya (SAF) by Elliodor (FR)
Margins: 0.75, 0.05, 1.75