(David Thistleton of Gold Circle has been chatting to Alyson and Kevin Wright….)
Summerveld trainer Alyson Wright had her big Western Winter gelding Warcraft on a float to her home country of Zimbabwe a day or two after he had galloped the field into the ground under apprentice Tristan Godden in a handicap over 1900m on the Greyville polytrack on Saturday, and on May 16 he will attempt to land a third Castle Tankard trophy for the yard in the space of four years.
The Gr 1 US$50,000 Castle Tankard over 2000m, run at Harare’s world class Borrowdale racecourse, is Zimbabwe’s most prestigious horserace and the Wright’s went within 0,5 lengths of claiming hattrick of wins in the big race last year. They won it with Code Rock, ridden by Francois Herholdt, in 2012 and A King Is Born, by a facile four lengths under Deon Sampson, in 2013. A King Is Born failed by half-a-length to repeat his win last year.
A feature of all three of the aforementioned runs was that the horse came in with bottom weight of 52kg and of them only Code Rock was under sufferance and then only by 1kg. The Wrights have gone one better this year as the weights were published before Warcraft’s win on Saturday and according to the official merit ratings he should be carrying 1,5kg more than his bottom weight of 52kg.
Borrowdale is at high altitude, so a lot will depend on how well Warcraft travels. He followed the same travel plan as Code Rock did in 2012 and arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday (Wednesday).
He will be taken care of by Alyson’s mother Penny Fisher, a fine trainer in her own right, and her brother Alistair Fisher.
Alyson’s husband and assistant trainer Kevin, a many-times Zimbabwean champion jockey, said, “Too many cooks spoil the broth so we leave it to Penny and Alistair.”
Kevin is happy with the draw of nine, “It’s a big course and has a long back straight, so there is a lot of time to get over and Athandiwe (Mgudlwa) knows how to ride him.”
Warcraft is a galloping type and Kevin said he should love the course, “as long as he’s handy.”