Borrowdale Park’s end-of-season race meeting on Sunday, July 26, appeared to go off well but has now become mired in controversy due to the reported failure of the photo finish equipment.
This is a land plagued by constant power outages and power surges. The Mashonaland Turf Club’s generator is always on standby so racing continues. This time, however, there was a major hitch, possibly due to a power cut. An investigation will be conducted into the why and wherefores and, as luck would have it, there were several very close finishes during the afternoon.
Although the main race of the day was the TBA Champagne Stakes the focus was also on the outcome of the 1400m Breeders Sprint where distance specialist Super Trooper seemed almost sure to succeed. The seven-year-old West Man (USA) gelding produced his customary late challenge, gaining on Equina with every stride, but he was beaten by 0.05 lengths while conceding 6.5 kgs.
Equina’s increased weight advantage came about when J.P. van der Merwe missed the early flight to Harare, and arrived on the course after the race. Claiming Apprentice Serino Moodley picked up the ride. Eurakilon, first time out at Borrowdale, was a close third, with the three-year-old filly, Picalilly not far behind.
Equina is owned by Peter Moor, trained by Amy Bronkhorst, and bred by Cheveley Stud. Both Equina and Super Trouper were rewarded for their stout efforts during the 2014/15 season at the Annual Racing Awards Presentation which took place after the final race.
The Moor/Bronkhorst combination featured again when the Horse Chestnut filly, Chestnut Girl, ran out an easy winner of the Sunmark Thoroughbreds MR 64 Handicap, three lengths clear of Jean’s Dancer. Francois Herholdt was in the irons, his second winner, and the three-year-old filly was bred by Summerhill Stud (Pty) Ltd.
Although I wasn’t expecting much from the 1200m TBA Champagne Stakes (L) the 10 locally bred two-year-olds turned up trumps. The first four past the post came within a length of each other, with only a whisker separating the winner, Rocky Road, from Cherry Brook. Vaya Con Dios and Starry Notions filled the other placings.
Bridget Stidolph took the training honours here, saddling the first three horses. Rocky Road, a colt by Soar With Eagles (USA) was ridden by Apprentice Wesley Marwing, is owned by The Sunmark Syndicate and bred by Sunmark Thoroughbreds.
The Stidolph yard also won the next race, the Sarahdane Stud MR 55 Handicap, when a fast finishing Maturin headed the Swanson-trained trio, Stirling Road, Confabulate and Delta Special. The Quartet paid R17 719 – mostly thanks to Delta Special’s starting price of 66/1. Fourteen horses ran in what the betting made a very open race.
Maturin is a four-year-old gelding by Casey Tibbs (Ire). He is owned by Newbury Racing (Pty) Ltd and bred by Milkwood Stud.
The recent Zimbabwe Oaks winner, Fig Jam, was expected to do well in the Spotted Pig Stud Graduation Plate, and duly obliged, breezing through to beat stable mate Young Diplomat by 2.25 lengths, with Mica Point and Principled Man behind.
Trained by Kirk Swanson and ridden by Francois Herholdt, Fig Jam is owned by Colin Bird and bred by Mauritzfontein Stud. She is by the promising new sire, Ideal World (USA), and earlier another of his daughters, Betula Uber, with Apprentice Marwing aboard, won the Breeders Fillies Mile (L).
Prior to that Betula Uber’s trainer, Gokhan Terzi, was experiencing a somewhat frustrating afternoon.
In the first race, the 1200m Golden Acres Maiden Plate, first-timer Bankers Blues was beaten 0.05 lengths by the Corne Spies-trained Burg’s Overture with Kevin Derere up. Then Super Trouper was pipped by Equina.
Burg’s Overture, a three-year-old filly by St Petersburg (AUS), is owned by Mr T. Spies and bred by Dr A. Aldous. The Spies satellite yard has now closed at Borrowdale Park. Corne Spies was the Champion Trainer for the 2014-15 season.
Seb d’Aquino’s stable has bounced back into form recently and he sent out Romantic Balladeer who was involved in a tight finish with Gotago in the 1200m Rumbavu Park MR 60 Handicap. The five-year-old gelding by Trippi (USA) has now won four races and last raced at the Vaal in May. Owned by the Equisynd Syndicate, Brendon McNaughton was in the irons and Summerhill Stud (Pty) Ltd the breeders.
Borrowdale Park racing will resume on September 6, after the annual break for scarification of the course and general maintenance.
PHOTOGRAPHS: Gavin Macleod