Saturday’s OK Grand Challenge (GR1) is not short of Borrowdale Park stars – but the more I look at the 2023 OK field the more interesting some of the female contingent gets.
What a glorious bunch.
Together, Lily Blue, Dindingwe, True Beauty and latterly, Jacky Sparrow, have, since 2019, provided most of the excitement, locally, and may even be up for more of the same this week.
True Beauty, winner of the 2022 Castle Tankard had, unfortunately, to be scratched from the 2023 race, but she is set to run in the OK Grand Challenge, having run the closest of seconds to Seven Seas in this race last year. The daughter of Skitt Skizzle carried 55.5 kgs when she won the 2022 Tankard and, in this race, will shoulder 60 kgs, as will Mr Greenlight and Only Him.
This means True Beauty will be giving her old rival, Dindingwe, 3 kgs on Saturday – which is a tough ask given their performance in the three-year-old Classics at level weights. True Beauty came into her own at four, but that said I was impressed by Dindingwe’s second to Ideal View in the 2023 Tankard when Dindingwe went down by a quarter of a length, conceding 3 kgs.
Ideal View’s 2023 Tankard victory was impressive but his stablemate Down To Business (also on 52kgs) was only 0.35 lengths back, while Raining Again (54kgs) was 1.60 lengths behind. Raining Again has beaten both Down To Business and Jacky Sparrow before and will meet both Ideal View and Down To Business on better terms here.
I must admit to being surprised when Jacky Sparrow headed the OK opening betting, as winning the Fillies Classic is far from what she is likely to encounter in the OK Grand Challenge. However, Jacky Sparrow has won five of her six starts and could prove me wrong. It is not the filly’s fault she has lacked opportunities to shine.
And no, I haven’t forgotten Lily Blue – and I am aware that plenty of her fans fear she is “no longer interested and may not choose to race.” This may be true but watch out if this 6-year-old mare is in the mood. Carrying 56,5 kgs, Lily Blue was 3.60 lengths behind the 2023 Tankard winner, and here Ideal View will receive 1 kg from Lily Blue not 4.5 kgs as before.
One could drive oneself crazy comparing weights, and so on, but just admit any of the entrants could, on their day, win this race. Start making a case for one runner and another quickly puts his or her oar in.
Of course, I will be hoping one of our girls gets lucky one more time.
The connections of Ideal View were in fine form on Saturday when their Global View gelding won the prestigious 2000m Castle Tankard (GR1) at Borrowdale Park, beating stable companions, Dindingwe and Down To Business, to the wire.
The happy owners are Messrs C J Smith, P D Gorringe, S P Gorringe, V Patel, D K Ward, G Carter& M W Smith. Debra Swanson was the successful trainer and Nathan Klink was in the irons. Ideal View was bred by Riyo Stud.
It is with bitter disappointment that Tomcat Racing has announced that True Beauty will not be back to defend her Tankard title. “We had a set back over this long weekend and under veterinary advice it was concluded that it was best not to run her. We aim to be back for the OK Grand Challenge.”
Fifteen horses have accepted to run in the 2023 Castle Tankard at Borrowdale Park on the 6th May. Betting on Grand Warrior opened at evens 1-1. and last year’s Tankard winner, True Beauty, was 8-1. Down To Business was also 8-1, and Only Him 7-1.
The 1600m Independence Trophy takes place at Borrowdale Park on Friday, 21 April 2023, and is due off at15 25 pm.
This is something of an acid test for the three-year-old, Grand Warrior. The son of Global View is unbeaten but will have to dig deeper in order to succeed here. It is a strong field, with Holy Land possibly the main danger.
There is racing at Borrowdale Park this Friday, 21st April 2023, with the possibility of two features, but final declarations will only be made today.
So, with Weights & Draws on hand, let’s guess what might be going on. The dominant three-year-old, Grand Warrior, has been nominated for both the 1600m Independence Trophy and the Zimbabwe 2000, the second leg of Zimbabwe’s Triple Crown. Grand Warrior was a late scratching from the first leg, the Zimbabwe Guineas won by his stable companion Jacky Sparrow.
The Independence Trophy would be tougher for the unbeaten Grand Warrior, where he could meet most of Borrowdale’s best. Personally, I hope his connections decide to take this route – just how good is this son of Global View – but if I had a share in the colt, I might prefer the easier option.
The only problem is that all but one of the six three-year-olds nominated for the Zimbabwe 2000 are trained by Debra Swanson, so will the Bridget Stidolph-trained Etsa Moralo stand his ground? If not, there will not be a race.
If Grand Warrior takes part in the Zimbabwe 2000 he is likely to be the hottest of favourites, and he should account for Jacky Sparrow and Down To Business – and the rest of the field.
If he runs in the Independence Trophy, he will have some weight on his side – and he has won in open company. On the 14th of January, he beat Raining Again in a 1500m Progress Plate, which was his last start. However, it remains to be seen whether Grand Warrior can account for the likes of Holy Land, Wantage, Bugatti Blue etc etc – but it would be SO interesting.