One Certainty In This Disappointing Year

This has been a disappointing year with enforced racing breaks, thanks to COVID-19, and constant changes.  However, one thing is certain.  Come what may the 2020/21 racing season in Southern Africa will end on the 31st July.

On 1st August all Thoroughbred horses foaled in the Southern Hemisphere officially become one year older. If the Borrowdale Park race meeting cannot take place before the end of this month that will put paid to the 2021 Zimbabwe Oaks (third leg of our Triple Tiara) and the 2021 Champion Juvenile Stakes.

The race meeting scheduled for July 18 had to be abandoned as permission was not forthcoming and, apparently, the Mashonaland Turf Club is not permitted to apply for permission to race until July 26. If the SRC gives the go-ahead then (and we know that seldom happens timeously), permission must then be sought from the ZRP and COH.

All going well this could mean an important race meeting (behind closed doors) having to be set up within two or three days. Difficult as this would be the MTC would do so as plans have already been made to run the 2021 Castle Tankard on July 31.

So that’s where we stand right now with everything up in the air. Meanwhile, racing continues around the rest of the world – and in many countries, spectators can now attend.

Watch this space.

Sunday’s Borrowdale Meeting Abandoned

The Mashonaland Turf Club has advised that they were unable to get the necessary clearances by the deadline on Tuesday, and therefore the race meeting scheduled for Sunday, July 18, has been abandoned.

With regard to the meeting to be held on the 31st of July 2021, a decision will be made in due course.

Running For Johnny

Seven of Zimbabwe’s top middle-distance horses will line up for the 1700m Johnny Dardagan Pinnacle Plate 100 at Borrowdale Park this Friday.

Sadly, Mr Dardagan passed away in Cape Town recently and he will be particularly remembered by family and friends at this race meeting, which we will all be watching from home.

In this top field finding the winner will not be easy although Mr Greenlight, Wantage and Three To Tango are first to catch the eye. The Swanson stable will saddle Three To Tango, Bugatti Blue and Horseplay, while the Terzi yards are represented by Mr Greenlight, Yarraman and Edward The Seventh.  Bridget Stidolph is pinning all her hopes on Wantage.

It should be a great race and a fitting tribute to one of Borrowdale’s ardent supporters who will be missed.

The first race on Friday is at 12.15 and the Pinnacle Plate is due off at 16.25. This an 8-race card and the Livestream will be shown by Clocking The Gallop on UTube.

Photographs by Jenny Stock, Gavin MacLeod and Andrew Philip.

Another Successful Day For Terzi Yards

The Gokhan Terzi yards hit the high spots again at Borrowdale Park on Wednesday, winning five of the seven carded races.

Veseo (shown here) was the winner of the 1200m MR 80 Handicap and is owned by the Brumby Syndicate (nominee: Grant Littleford). Diego De Gouveia in the irons.

The Terzi/ De Gouveia combo also scored with Seven Seas in the 1200m Graduation Plate and Karvani in the 1600m Maiden Plate.

Calvin Habib, riding for Terzi, won with Armstrong (1600m MR 85 Handicap), and Shesalegend (1700m MR 65 Handicap).

Congratulations to all the winning connections – very well done.

Photograph by Laurent Viguie.

Borrowdale Racing Tomorrow – Wednesday

Borrowdale Park is racing strictly behind closed doors tomorrow (Wednesday).

There are 7 races on the card and the first is due off at 12.15 and the last at 15 40.

The races will be televised on DSTV Channel 249 – or follow the Borrowdale livestream on UTube via ClockingTheGallop.

When available card changes will appear on this site, together with links to the online race card, tips and, hopefully, the livestream.

Photograph by Gavin MacLeod.

Just Carry On Punting – For Fun

The recent OK Grand Challenge race meeting at Borrowdale Park had significantly larger fields than we have become used to.

Personally, I am quite happy with 8 to 10 runners – less reason for bumping and boring – but owners want their horses to race, and punters enjoy the challenge.

Surprisingly, the nominations for the June 23rd meeting number 92, with 24 horses entered for the 1700m MR 65 Handicap. It remains to be seen how many will stand their ground, but assuming we end up with a field of 18, what could we learn from the 2021 OK Grand Challenge, run over 1800m on June 5, with a field of 18?

Prior to that race I agonised over wide draws – something I haven’t been too bothered about of late. However, on the day, the first 10 horses across the line were drawn 9, 1, 6,10, 20, 12, 13, 2, 19 and 3, respectively. Weight was also an issue, but really? Referring to the first 10 again, they carried 55.5, 59, 52, 54.5, 56.5, 56.5, 56,5, 54, 52 and 54.5 kgs.

The Tote favourite for the OK Grand Challenge was Holy Land, drawn 6, and only carrying 52 kgs – which ticked all the boxes – and he finished third – while Finchatton (9) and Peggson (1) finished in front of him giving away 3.5 and 7 kgs. Although Peggson was drawn 1 he lost two lengths at the start which cancelled that advantage.

So, what can we assume moving forward? Be pleased if the horse you fancy has a good galloping weight and is drawn well – but don’t despair when that doesn’t happen because ability also counts a great deal.

One can also put one’s faith in a lucky pin and just carry on punting for fun.

Photograph by Andrew Philip.

FINCHATTON – 2021 OK Grand Challenge (GR2) Champion

For the two Gokhan Terzi yards Saturday’s OK Grand Challenge race meeting was an unforgettable experience.

Apart from saddling the winner of the OK Grand Challenge – Finchatton – Terzi also sent out the winners of seven of the eight races on the Borrowdale Park card. Has that been equalled at a local race meeting before?

Finchatton is a nine-year-old gelding by Right Approach (GB) out of a Fort Wood (USA) mare.  This was his third outing at Borrowdale and in his previous start he was a close second to Daffiq in the 1600m Independence Trophy.  Finchatton has now won 8 races and was bred by Wilgersbosdrift.

Congratulations to the owner Gengiz Goksel and winning jockey Diego de Gouveia, as well as to Gokhan and Wilgersbosdrift. The minor places went to Peggson, Holy Land and Fareeq – and Terzi trains Holy Land and Fareeq. Winning margins 0.50 lengths, 0.50 lengths, 1.50 Lengths. TIME: 106.11sec.

The Bridget Stidolph-trained Peggson also rates special mention having lost about three lengths at the start but managing to finish within half a length of the winner who was receiving 3.5 kgs.  I still don’t know how he did this.

OK Zimbabwe sponsor this prestigious 1800m event and must also be congratulated for pressing ahead, regardless, in these difficult times. 

Photographs by Laurent Viguie

Most OK Fans Will Watch From Home

As COVID-19 restrictions remain in force in Zimbabwe most of us will be watching Saturday’s OK Grand Challenge race meeting at Borrowdale Park from home – and, if this cold snap continues, I will not complain about that!

There will be TV coverage on DSTV Channel 249 but this will probably be limited as there is so much going on in the racing world right now. In addition, I believe ZBC/ZTV will be covering racing from 3.00pm to 4.30pm on Saturday.

If you can, the best bet is to tune in on TV, but also go online with a laptop or PC and view the Borrowdale Livestream on U-Tube via Clocking The Gallop. Links to the Livestream will be posted here when available. This way one can keep tabs on everything that is going on.

The first race is due off at 12.05pm and the $70 000 OK Grand Challenge is at 16.00pm. There are 8 races on the card so make your plans and have a great day.

A Remarkable OK Grand Challenge Record

Bridget Stidolph has a remarkable record in the OK Grand Challenge (GR2) having trained the winner of this 1800m event in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.  She first won this race with Duffy’s Call, then Royal Honour, before Simona collected the OK Grand Challenge honours twice.

On Saturday Bridget will saddle Peggson, Wantage and Only Him – and possibly Fortuna Doro and Christofle – who will only get a run if there are late scratchings. At present Fortuna Doro and Christofle are listed as the Reserve Runners 1 and 2 respectively.

Will this yard do it again?

2 Drawn 1 PEGGSON 59kgs (MR98) PENNY

6 g Jay Peg – Pistol Dawn by Tara’s Halls (SNL).  Peggson has won 9 races from 1200m to 2000m, the most notable being the 1600m Ipi Tombe Stakes (L) and the 2000m Castle Tankard (Gr1) in 2019, and the 2000m Breeders Champions Cup (L) and the 1800m Borrowdale Challenge in 2020. Although he has not won the OK Grand Challenge, Peggson ran second to his stable companion Simona in 2018 and 2019.  He has proved he can carry weight and win and has a good draw for Saturday providing he gets off to a good start and doesn’t lose his position. His last outing was in the Independence Trophy on May 2.

6 Drawn 13 WANTAGE 56.5kgs (MR93) GOULD

4 g  Ato – Angora by Tamburlaine (IRE). Wantage has won 7 races from 1200m to 2000m, including the 1600m Tote Free Handicap and the Guineas Trial, as well as the 2020 Zimbabwe 2000, second leg of the Triple Crown.  He was second to Lily Blue in the other two legs of the Triple Crown, namely the Zimbabwe Guineas and the Zimbabwe Derby.  As a four-year-old Wantage has lived up to that early promise. He won the 1600m Ipi Tombe Stakes in March, beating Saturday’s runners Mr Greenlight, Three To Tango, Yarraman, Bugatti Blue, Fareeq and Peggson, at level weights. His next victory was in the 2000m Breeders Champions Cup (L) and once again Mr Greenlight, Yarraman and Three To Tango followed him across the line.   At the last race meeting Wantage was second to Love To Bluff over 1260m. He deserves respect and I wish he had a slightly better draw this time.

16 Drawn 19 ONLY HIM 52kgs (MR84) STEYN

3 g Mambo In Seattle (USA) – Only Emily by Captain Al. Only Him, having his second start at Borrowdale Park, made a name for himself when he held on to narrowly beat the more fancied Diesel And Dust in the 2400m Zimbabwe Derby on May 16. Prior to that this lightly raced three-year-old had won over 1400m at the Vaal. Hopefully, he will get a chance to prove his worth on Saturday – from a dreadful draw.

RESERVE RUNNERS

19 Drawn 18 FORTUNA DORO 52.5kgs (MR85)

5 m Pomodoro – Fortunes Hand by Elliodor (FR). Won at the Vaal over 1450m and 1600m, and at Borrowdale over 1450 and 1500m. Her last outing was in a 1500m Pinnacle Plate on May 2 when a length behind Holy Land who was receiving 1.5kgs.

20 Drawn 17 CHRISTOFLE 52kgs (MR84)

6 g Tiger Ridge (USA) – Malmaison (AUS) by French Deputy (USA).  Christofle won the 1100m Hachiman Sprint in 2020 and 7 of his other 8 wins have all been in sprints.  However, his last outing was on May 2 when 1.50 lengths off Holy Land over 1500m. Fareeq and Fortuna Doro were in front of him then but there wasn’t much in it. However, I have yet to be convinced that Christofle will shine over more ground.

Photographs by Zimbabwe Equine News

2021 Zimbabwe Derby winner – Only Him

Three To Tango And Dindingwe Have To Beat The Draw

Over the years the Swanson yard has had a fair share of big races successes. For the 2021 OK Grand Challenge to be run over 1800m at Borrowdale Park on Saturday they have thrown two seasoned campaigners, the 2019 Zimbabwe Derby winner, and two top-performing three-year-olds into the mix.

Three of the five Swanson entries have good draws but unfortunately Three to Tango and Borrowdale’s favourite filly, Dindingwe, have drawn wide, and at the time of writing only two jockeys have been declared.

These are the Swanson runners:

5 Drawn 20 THREE TO TANGO 56.5kgs (MR93) TAKAWIRA

5 h Greys Inn (USA) – Danseuse by Joshua Dancer (USA). A winner of 6 races, including the 1600m Tote Free Handicap and 2400m Zimbabwe Derby, consistently placed, and always an interesting runner. On December 20 he won a 1900m Pinnacle Plate in a tight finish with Wantage, who was receiving 1.5kgs. Yarraman was two lengths back (giving away 4.5kgs), and this trio meet at level weights on Saturday. Peggson and Fareeq followed. Three To Tango’s last race was in the Independence Trophy on May 2 when third to Daffiq. He has to cope with a wide draw here.

8 Drawn 5 WHAT A DANDY 56kgs (MR92) No jockey declared

6 g Just As Well (USA) – Leba (IRE) by King’s Best (USA). One of Borrowdale’s super troopers who has won 11 races from 1000m to 1800m. A versatile and consistent sort who has yet to crack a big one – and I would love to see him do it. He has a good draw for Saturday’s race so maybe.

12 Drawn 4 BUGATTI BLUE 54.5kgs (MR89) No jockey declared

6 g Traffic Guard (USA) – Vintage Event by Braashee (GB). Another reliable type who finishes in the money more often than not and has won seven races from 1700m to 2400m. Bugatti Blue will be comfortable in this company, has a nice draw and could go close on Saturday.

14 Drawn 2 DIESEL AND DUST 54kgs (MR92) DERERE

3 g Futura – Jalinga by Jallad (USA). Won his first start, a 1700m Maiden Plate on 24 February and his next outing was in the Zimbabwe 2000, second leg of the Triple Crown, which he won. On May 16, in the 2400m Zimbabwe Derby, Diesel And Dust was beaten 0.10 lengths by Only Him.  There is no doubt this lightly raced three-year-old has ability and on Saturday we will see just how good he is.

15 Drawn 16 DINDINGWE 53KGS (MR90) No jockey declared

3 f Futura – Miss Delish by Jallad (USA). Dindingwe’s seven wins include the 1200m Champion Juvenile Stakes (Gr3) and the Breeders Fillies Mile (L), the Fillies Classic (first leg of the Triple Tiara) and the second leg, the 1800m Silver Slipper (L), as well as the Zimbabwe Guineas (Gr3). Her last outing was on 18 April when third behind Diesel And Dust and Mazikeen in the Zimbabwe 2000. This outstanding filly has plenty of fans who will be hoping for another scintillating performance, but she has to overcome a wide draw on Saturday. 

Photographs by Jenny Stock, Gavin MacLeod and Andrew Philip.