It happens at the movies – and in story books – but not so often at a racecourse.
Cool Solution, an eight-year-old son of Mullins Bay (GB), lined up with nine other runners in the 1800m MR 65 Handicap at Borrowdale on Saturday – and won. This was his 60th start and seventh victory.
Well done Cool Solution, trainer Kirk Swanson, and owners Dr Ronald Mhizha, Messrs Z R Lusengo, S P Gorringe, D K Ward, D Swanson, G Carter, and Ms P J Lewis, and Mr P D and Mrs U A Gorringe. Apprentice Rodgers Satombo had the winning ride.
What an achievement. I am lost in admiration when owners and trainers persevere and have faith!
This was one of the best finishes that afternoon. The first four horses – Cool Solution, Hold The Biscuit, Crown Brewed, and Centre Stage – finished within less than half a length, and the whole field within 3.05 lengths.
Preparations for tomorrow’s Borrowdale Park race meeting continue.
The feature race is the 1200m Jacaranda Free Handicap and the trees are in bloom. A bit of rain followed by some sunshine has put the finishing touches to the course – and the MTC was mowing on Thursday.
Unfortunately, most of the closed doors conditions still apply, but the race meeting will be covered by SandSportLive – and can be accessed via various Facebook pages, as usual.
It’s been quite a while since Noeleen Peech sent out a runner at Borrowdale Park, but she has rejoined the trainers’ ranks and it’s good to have her back.
On Saturday Noelene will be represented by Belle Epoque (ex-Swanson) in the 1260m MR 70 Handicap. Belle Epoque, by Seventh Rock (AUS) out of a Kitalpha (USA) mare, also returns after a long layoff. Her last outing was in July 2018, and she takes on Action Jackson, Fire To The Rein, Varnica, Titelist and Dunas Douradas.
This race is due off at 14.40. Belle Epoque won the 2017 Sable Flyers over 1260, so is distance suited.
The first two runners for the Amy Bronkhorst/Mike Mallet combo are new to Borrowdale.
First up are Count Alley and Veseo in the 1200m Maiden Plate at on Saturday. Daniel Frank rides Count Alley, a 3-year-old gelding by Flower Alley(USA) out of a Var (USA) mare. He had one run at Turffontein on September 3.
Powder Puff (the chestnut), with Kevin Derere in the irons, races in the Jacaranda Free Handicap, due off at 16 30. The first race on Saturday is at 12 55.
Mike is currently registered as stable employee. Here’s hoping its a good day for both of you.
Racing comes bouncing back to Borrowdale Park on Saturday and the feature is the 1200m Jacaranda Free Handicap. The course is looking good – and it rained – so it is all systems go.
Seven runners have stood their ground for the main event. Bridget Stidolph saddles top weight Willfull Path; Kirk Swanson sends out Dindingwe and True Beauty, while Gokhan Terzi is represented by Mind Master, Mazikeen and VainLikeThat.
And… trainer Amy Bronkhorst picks up the cudgels again after quite a lengthy absence, with a newcomer to Borrowdale, Powder Puff.
At one time the 1200m Jacaranda Free and the 1600m Tote Free Handicaps were considered pointers towards the three-year-old Classics. Being handicaps this wasn’t always the case. Last year Love To Bluff won the Jacaranda Free, and Wantage was second. As for the Classics, the class of 2019 had Lily Blue to contend with and she contested neither the Jacaranda Free nor the Tote Free.
However, Wantage went on to win the Tote Free, and the Zimbabwe 2000, and ran well behind Lily Blue when she was collecting her laurels.
This year the 2020 Borrowdale three-year-olds have had COVID interruptions to contend with and are coming back on Saturday after the annual racing break.
Two fillies, Willfull Path and Dindingwe (winner of the 2020 Champion Juvenile Stakes), are probably the main contenders, having dealt with most of the other runners before, but they have never met up with each other. This will be interesting and Dindingwe will have weight on her side. Both have their regular riders, Morgan Nyamagwete and Apprentice Rodgers Satombo, in the irons.
Powder Puff, ex the Azzie yard, is by Judpot out of a Fort Wood mare and her last outing was over 1450m at Turffontein. She has raced 8 times from 1000m to 1600m and finished just over 8 lengths behind rising star Anything Goes. Amy’s charge remains the dark horse here.
Presumably, we are still racing behind closed doors with the same conditions which applied at the last Borrowdale Park race meeting on August 28. In any event it will be good to be back in action.
Prepare for some anxious moments around 4pm this afternoon (Saturday) when Lily Blue races in the 1600m MR 95 Handicap (F&M) at Turffontein.
Formerly trained at Borrowdale Park by Bridget Stidolph, as a three-year-old Lily Blue had no equal. The daughter of Black Minnaloushe (USA) is now in Paul Matchett’s yard in Gauteng, and this is her first outing Down South.Paul is enjoying a purple patch at present, but this is a new ballgame for Lily Blue. Her enthusiastic owners, The Gin’ll FixIt Syndicate, and Zimbabwe racing fans, will be on tenterhooks. Muzi Yeni is riding,
Go well Lily Blue. Enjoy the race and come back safely.
A while ago Stewart Ramsay, writing in the Sporting Post Mailbag, suggested betting was too complicated for novices, and he is right about that.
Much has been written about attracting newcomers to racing and Mr Ramsay says: “To overcome horseracing’s barriers to point of entry one needs a concept that provides anyone and everyone the opportunity to participate in horseracing, without having an in-depth knowledge of form studying and betting. “There is such a concept.”
At every race meeting, designate one race for ‘lucky cellphones’, and to enter one would simply have to send the MTC an sms with name and number. Names with ‘phone numbers would go into a draw, and winners of the draw would each have a horse running for them. Results of the draw to be announced on social media during the early evening preceding a race meeting.
In due course, the race would be run and the ‘owner’ of the winning horse would receive whatever the MTC decides on (iZWL of course, and in cash-strapped Zimbabwe that wouldn’t have to be much to start attracting new people to racing).
I know it’s easy to dream up schemes for other people to operate. When and if the MTC react to this one, I have more up my sleeve because we really need to drum up local interest in racing.
The Borrowdale Park maintenance crew report that the “growth is good”, and have taken pics all around the racetrack…which is good news as there are only about three weeks to go before we resume racing.
At this time, each year, I tend to become slightly hysterical – will we ever race again? However, I am sure it will be alright on the night. The growth is certainly a lot better than my lawn!