The Bloodstock Zimbabwe Oaks (L) over 2000m is the feature race at Borrowdale Park on Sunday and Zimbabwe Guineas winner Print The Pounds will be back in action.
The AP Answer (USA) filly disappointed when finishing third behind Eversolucky in the 1800m TBA Silver Slipper (L) on March 8, raising some stamina doubts. However Bridget Stidolph’s charge may have had an off day, she is the only four-time winner in the race, so has to be given another chance. Donavan Mansour rides Print The Pounds for the first time on Sunday.
Tallie Two appears to be the main danger as we know she is distance suited. She was 1.75 lengths ahead of Print The Pounds in the Silver Slipper and ran 1.75 lengths off Merhaba in the Bloodstock South Africa 2000 (GR3). This filly was expected to shine in the Zimbabwe Derby, also won by Merhaba, but finished down the field. Possibly 2400m was a step too far but her rider that day, Apprentice Callan Murray, reported something amiss during the race although, post race, nothing untoward was found.
Tallie Two is trained by Alyson Wright and she will be ridden this time by Ian Sturgeon. If she strips fit I expect this daughter of Soar With Eagles (USA) will be hard to beat. Both Print The Pounds and Tallie Two are drawn well in stalls 5 and 3 respectively.
Of course the chances are that this is going to be more than a two-horse race.
Judging by recent results the Kevin Derere/Corne Spies combination has to be respected and Derere has the ride on Second Light. Unless there is a massive turnaround in tactics this Second Empire (IRE) filly can be expected to set a cracking pace before dropping back in the home straight. However, she managed to hold on to fourth place, albeit a long way behind Merhaba, in the Zimbabwe Derby. The second Spies runner, the maiden Argodaba (Morgan Nyamagwete), has not shown us anything of late so this makes me wonder what the stable will gain if Second Light is the front runner.
Amy Bronkhorst sends out Chestnut Girl with Randall Simons in the irons, and Suave Singer, who will have claiming Apprentice Serino Moodley up.
Chestnut Girl won a 1000m Maiden Plate at Kenilworth and has only had one start in Harare, finishing 9.7 lengths behind Road To Dubai over 1200m. She has yet to go beyond 1400m but as this filly is by Horse Chestnut out of a Western Winter mare I am not going to suggest she will not see out the trip.
The second runner from the Bronkhorst yard, the Judpot (USA) filly Suave Singer, is also a one-time winner over 1000m. She ran 6.5 lengths behind Eversolucky in the 1800m Silver Slipper and 10.75 lengths back in the Bloodstock South Africa 2000. This time her rider will claim 4kgs, I believe weight counts so I cannot ignore her here.
Although I am not criticising anyone for going along with the conditions of this race I have to admit I would prefer any winner of the Zimbabwe Oaks to beat the rest of the field on equal terms.
Gokhan Terzi’s pair, Sema Sky and Latin Queen, are both daughters of the Irish sire, Latino Magic. Apprentice Wesley Marwing, claiming 1.5kgs, has the ride on Sema Sky and this filly has only raced four times, winning her first start over 1300m. Subsequently she has been strongly fancied but has not featured and has yet to race around the bend.
Quinton Riddle, fresh from his Castle Tankard victory on Yer-Maan, rides Latin Queen, also a one-time winner. Out of an Al Mufti mare, Latin Queen finished 9 lengths off Merhaba in the Bloodstock South Africa 2000 and in her last outing, over 1800m, was 7.65 lengths adrift of Nugget Effect who was receiving 2 kgs.
Last, but maybe not least, is the Ideal World (USA) filly, Fig Jam, a very recent addition to the Kirk Swanson yard. Still a maiden Fig Jam raced at Kenilworth and Turffontein, placing twice in five starts from 1600m to 1800m. Last time out, over 2000m at Turffontein, she was 6.7 lengths behind Jamming. It remains to be seen how she will react to her new environment with Francois Herholdt aboard.
The Zimbabwe Oaks is the fifth leg of the Borrowdale Park Pick 6 and if I was searching for a banker I would, despite the various dark horses, choose Tallie Two.
When looking back at past performances of these Oaks runners I was constantly reminded of Eversolucky, winner of the Zimbabwe Breeders Fillies Mile, the Jacaranda Handicap, the Tote Free Handicap, and the TBA Silver Slipper.
A few days after the much fancied Ashaawes filly ran fourth in the Bloodstock South Africa 2000 on March 22, her owner, Gary Jolliffe, said Eversolucky had injured a tendon, would require one year off, minimum, so would probably retire to stud. The good news is Jackie Joliffe told me last week that Eversolucky “is recovering well, and it appears the injury is not as severe as we first thought. She is on a slow recovery programme and we hope she will be back in the future.”