It’s back to basics at Borrowdale Park on Sunday with all the main feature races behind us. However the memories linger and add some spice to this eight-race card.
Equina, Super Trouper, Thriller In Manila, Two Gun Kid and Gentle Brook are among the 10 runners in the 1400m Breeders Sprint and my guess is that whoever beats Super Trouper wins.
The seven-year-old West Man (USA) gelding won this race last year, with Sunday’s runner Alula Borealis placed fourth, 2.55 lengths back. Once I would have insisted 1400m was Super Trouper’s best game but his close second to Equina in the 1900m Republic Cup denies that. However, back up the straight and meeting his closest rivals, Thriller In Manilla and Alula Borealis at level weights, the race should be in the bag.
Equina and Gentle Brook, the two mares here, have their 2.5 kgs weight advantage plus, in Gentle’s Brooke’s case, an apprentice aboard claiming 4kgs. Weight counts but both horses probably prefer more ground. Two Gun Kid, with Apprentice Diego da Gouveia up, will only carry 56 kgs but seems well held by others, and I would include Quick Glance and Prince Fireball in that category when they are lumbered with 60 kgs.
In addition to Super Trouper Gokhan Terzi saddles the five-year-old Classic Flag gelding, Eurakilon. His five wins were over 1600m and 1800m and this will be his first start at Borrowdale.
Last, but maybe significant, is the three-year-old Gharir (IRE) filly, Picalilly, who was rested after a disappointing performance in the 1800m Silver Slipper on March 8. She ran second to Print The Pounds in both the 1600m Fillies Classic and the Zimbabwe Guineas. Prior to that Picalilly was a demon up the straight, earning the title of Champion Two-Year-Old during the 2013/14 season. Set to carry 56.5 kgs, and with Quinton Riddle in the irons, this filly could surprise but takes on big guns now.
I suspect this may be the very last time we see a race run over 1400m at Borrowdale Park. In the latest racing programme the Zimbabwe Challenge, traditionally run over 1400m, is now shown at 1450m which involves racing around the home turn, and rumour has it there are other plans for part of our Borrowdale straight.
Only seven juveniles will turn out to contest the Breeders Fillies Mile. The Bridget Stidolph-trained Second Guessing won a 1600m Maiden Juvenile Plate on July 12, in what proved to be a dress rehearsal for the Fillies Mile. She was followed home by Sunday’s runners Betula Uber, Easy To Love, Absolute Horse, Julliard Genius and Swinging On A Star.
Princess Of Rock was not in that line-up and, ignoring natural improvement, Second Guessing and Betula Uber look to be the ones most likely.
Sixth race on the card, the 1800m Spotted Pig Stud Graduation Plate, includes some of the best performing three-year-olds. They are all winners and Kirk Swanson must have a strong hand with Young Diplomat, Nugget Effect and Zimbabwe Oaks winner, Fig Jam. Gokhan Terzi fields Principal Man (the only four-year-old), Fighting Force and River Waltz. Mica Point, Young Antwun and front-running Second Light make up the field.
One could make a case for most but we know Mica Point, Young Diplomat, Nugget Effect, Fig Jam and River Waltz will see out the trip. This will be Principal Man’s second outing in Harare. Apprentice Wesley Marwing rides and the Windrush (USA) gelding can’t be overlooked.
Main race of the day is the US$13 000 Thoroughbred Breeders Champagne Stakes run over 1200m. Only Zimbabwe two-year-olds, whose vendors and owners have conformed with conditions set down by the TBA, are eligible to run.
Of the 10 runners Rocky Road, Yesterday Man and Starry Notions are winners – over shorter distances. Maroochydore by Tamburlaine (IRE) is having his first start and, in this field of lightly raced juveniles, Slick and Yesterday Man are the most experienced.
It’s difficult to decide so maybe stick with the winners.
The next race meeting at Borrowdale Park is not until September 6th – ample time one would imagine to scarify the course at least twice.
Racing Awards for the 2014/15 Racing Season will be presented in the MOTA Bar after Sunday’s race meeting.
All Photographs: Gavin Macleod