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Azzie strikes in Highveld opener

Posted 2 September 2017 at 18:15

SPRING SPREE STAKES (GRADE 3) - R250,000 - 1200m - Turffontein

1st R156,250, 2nd R50,000, 3rd R25,000 - September 2


Will Pays led home an Azzie one-two in the opening graded stakes of the Highveld Spring.

Settled on the rail, some lengths off the pace early on, he was given his head in the straight and surged past Sporting Monarch (Rebel King) to take the lead a furlong from home. Having gained the advantage, the six-year-old ran on resolutely to score by a length from stable companion and last year’s runner-up, Angel’s Power (Miesque’s Approval), who had a half length to spare over Sporting Monarch.

Gr.2-placed last season, Will Pays finally opened his stakes account at age six. He has certainly come good of late, boasting two wins and a third from as many starts since returning off a three-month break in July. Now a nine-time winner, the gelding is inching ever closer to the magical million mark, this career high pushing his earnings to R826,650.

Bred by Robin Bruss’ Northfields Stud, Will Pays is the first South African stakes winner for his under-rated sire Imperial Stride. By Indian Ridge and closely related to Count Dubois, the Gr.2 Scottish Derby winner had previously sired multiple Zimbabwean stakes winner Lucky Sam. In addition to Will Pays, he has also sired South African graded stakes performers Eddie Sweat and Nice Stride.

Rattlebag, the dam of Will Pays, is probably one of the better, if not best-performed mares to have visited Imperial Stride. A triple stakes winner, the daughter of Jallad won the Gr.3 Azalea Handicap and was runner-up in three classics, notably the Gr.1 SA Fillies Guineas and Gr.2 Oaks. In addition to Will Pays, she is also the dam of Chastity (Tamburlaine), a stakes-placed juvenile winner in Zimbabwe, while her daughter Rattled (Alami) produced Gr.2 Umkhomazi hero Harry Lime (Var). - AvdB

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