Owners of staying horses often feel they are left out in the cold at Borrowdale Park, but they have been well looked after today (February 8). Main race is the US$9 500 Breeders Champions Cup (L) over 2000m which has attracted runners we can expect to see in major events later in the year.
(And wouldn’t it be nice if Gold Circle’s Tab Form woke up to the fact that we race for US$ at Borrowdale, not South African Rands. At the current exchange rate there is a huge difference between US$ 9500 and R9500.)
Earlier in the afternoon there is a Merit Rated 60 Handicap to be run over 2400m. Given a choice some have opted to race in this one, albeit at heavier weights. Finding this winner will be easier than in the Champions Cup where most could finish at least in the placings – and Dorrie Sham’s seven time winner, Two Gun Kid, makes his Harare debut.
Gokhan Terzi fields only one runner, Rock The Country, winner of the Breeders Champions Cup in 2014, and of his last start over 1600m on January 25. The six-year-old son of Western Winter will take on former Champions Cup rivals Captain’s Tiger, Forty One and Copper Bay. Captain’s Tiger (a close second last year) is no better off, Forty One will have a 1 kg advantage, while Copper Bay (off the boil recently) will still be giving away 1 kg.
In addition to Captain’s Tiger – an eight-year-old Century Stand gelding and winner of 11 races – the Alyson Wright stable also sends out A King Is Born and Orbit War. At these weights both have to be respected. A King Is Born ran second to Equina in the 2014 Castle Tankard, having won this prestigious event the year before.
Although Orbit War has no such claims to fame he has raced with the best, has shown signs of a return to form recently, and only carries 52 kgs on Sunday.
Gentle Brook’s trainer, Amy Bronkhorst, has, like Terzi, chosen to enter only one runner. This five-year-old Windrush mare has won 7 races and can be nifty up the straight and awesome around the bend. Regular jockey Karl Zechner has the ride and Gentle Brook can make light of 53,5 kgs but may prefer an 1800m trip to 2000m.
Madigan and Copper Bay represent the Kirk Swanson yard and on their day both could feature. The Zimbabwe Triple Crown winner in 2012, Madigan, is usually thereabouts but drawn 10 out of 12 here. He will carry 58 kgs, slightly less than he is used to.
Stidolph Racing’s four runners include Menacing, 2014 Zimbabwe Derby winner Demitasse, Forty One and Killa Man. Menacing won over 1900m in December and that day all of Orbit War, Rock The Country and Demitasse were further back. Quinton Riddle (56kgs) will be in the irons and the Go Deputy gelding is drawn 9.
Killa Man is a very interesting entrant. By Dynasty, no less, the five-year-old gelding had his first race after a break of 476 days on January 25. The long rest was on account of a tendon and he seemed to tire in his first race back.
Never forget, however, that Killa Man has raced 16 times, won four and been placed on nine occasions. He has proved himself up to 2400m, will carry 52 kgs on Sunday, is drawn 2, and if racing fit he and Denicious Smith have to be up there. In view of the long layoff it is probably wise to wish Killa Man well and watch him this time.
Both Forty One (Derrick David) and Demitasse will have supporters, particularly if the going is yielding to soft. Demitasse, with claiming apprentice Diego de Gouviea in the saddle, will shoulder 48kgs which should count for something if there’s mud.
Although the Borrowdale course drains well there has been rain this week, interspersed with sun, fortunately. At this time of year we can always expect the odd deluge or three…
Of the two long distance events the 2400m MR Handicap seems simpler. The Corne Spies trained Sin Latigo, by Silvano, comes into her own over 2000m and beyond, but will be challenged by Supa Dupa, Star Dance, and perhaps Princess Kate and Detective Casey. Of the rest Captain Grant and Splendid Princess might surprise.