Mike Azzie’s charge has been playing second fiddle to the stable’s more illustrious Abashiri but that was not the case last season. As a two-year-old this son of Brave Tin Soldier was undefeated and won the Grade 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes beating Prospect Strike and Abashiri. His comeback was in the R2.5 million Ready To Run Cup where he had to overcome a wide draw and finished a three-length second behind Champagne Haze.
He then went to Cape Town for the season but did not travel well and had all sorts of problems. He contested the Grade 3 Politician Stakes over 1800m and considering he had to give 5kg to winner Black Arthur and was far from his best, Rabada did well to finish 2.55 lengths back in fifth. He was running on at the finish and certainly gave an indication in that race that 2000m is within his grasp.
He took a while to get over that Cape Town jaunt and Rabada eventually returned to racing in a Progress Plate over 1400m at Turffontein. He ran on well to beat Machismo, to whom he was conceding 6.5kg, by 1.10 lengths.
His first run in KwaZulu-Natal was in the Canon Guineas but over 1600m you need a good draw and Rabada was badly positioned at No 11. Jockey Anton Marcus had to make a lot of use of him early on and he did remarkably well to finish just 0.50 lengths behind Black Arthur.
This time he jumps from No 8 draw but they have about 500m before they hit the turn and Marcus will have every chance to place him well without having to use him up.
“He is very well,” commented Azzie yesterday. “I don’t believe he will have a problem with the distance and I’m very, very confident of a massive run.”
Based on his performances he and New Predator stand out as the best two runners in this race but while Rabada has given every indication he will see out 2000m, New Predator has given every indication he will not. Johan Janse van Vuuren’s charge has loads of class as he indicated when running third to Legal Eagle in the Grade 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m but jockey Weichong Marwing will need him to settle early on if he is to have any chance of seeing out this distance.
Mambo Mime ran on well in the Guineas to run third behind Black Arthur but he has to overcome No 13 draw. Ten Gun Salute was fourth in the Guineas but had a good draw and should battle to beat Rabada.