Jack Milner: San Fermin has become an expensive filly to follow but perhaps the return to 1200m could make all the difference tomorrow at the Vaal Outside track when she contests a FM 84 Handicap over that distance.
One has to be fair to the Adam and Mike Azzie-trained runner in that she has been running against some strong opposition and last time, when she was beaten by Fish River in the Grade 3 Three Troikas Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein, the draws could well have decided the outcome.
From No 3 draw Fish River could be well placed by jockey Anthony Delpech while San Fermin, from No 9 draw, had to be dropped out by Grant van Niekerk and in a matter of strides more than five lengths separated them. Fish River got first run in the straight and San Fermin was left with the almost impossible task of making up the ground.
A run earlier, in the Listed Swallow Stakes over 1160m at Turffontein, San Fermin was slowly out of the starting stalls and then found a wall of horses in front of her and had to switch out for a clear run. Once through the gap she took off but was still 0.30 behind Covered In Snow at the line. This time she is drawn No 11 up the straight, has Weichong Marwing in the irons and deserves another chance.
The Azzies have a strong hand in the race with four runners, including the filly who finished a long-head in front of San Fermin in the Swallow Stakes, Frederico’s Dream. She has run well since fitted with blinkers and after that second place behind Covered In Snow, came out to beat Winter Watch over 1000m on the Vaal Classic track.
Frederico’s Dream is actually 2.5kg better off this time and on paper should confirm the form, but San Fermin was very unlucky in that race and is overdue a bit of good fortune. Callan Murray rides Frederico’s Dream.
The Azzies also saddle Ice Art who will be partnered by Piere Strydom. If one can find an excuse to ignore her last run she must have a chance but in that run she finished back in 13th spot, beaten 7.30 lengths by Frederico’s Dream.
She lost one length at the start but never raised a gallop. The vet examined her but nothing was found so perhaps it is best to just put a line through that run and hope she will improve.