Andrew Fortune Riding On Sunday
In-form jockey Andrew Fortune will be riding at Borrowdale Park on Sunday when racing resumes after a six-week break. He will be on a Gokhan Terzi trained runner in each of the seven races. It will be great to have this popular horseman in Harare but his presence at this particular race meeting doesn’t make finding winners any easier – unless we throw caution completely out the window and rely on the magic Fortune touch throughout.
Having looked at the Final Fields – and walked away from them, often – it seems even winning the Place Accumulator may be quite a feat.
Firstly the horses are coming back from a long break, with some having been off the course far more than six weeks; several runners have changed stables; apprentices claiming 4 kgs have been strategically placed; the going will probably be very much on top, and where there is an obvious choice there are often queries about the trip.
Former Borrowdale Park favourite, Approval Rating, is back in Harare for the main race, the AFZ Charity Sprint over 1000m, which is due off at 16.10. This winner of the Zimbabwe Guineas and the 1200m HRIB Gold Cup in 2013, last raced at Borrowdale in July 2014. For the entire 2014/15 season the Miesque’s Approval gelding competed at the Vaal and Turffontein for one win (1160m) and five places from 11 starts.
Now a six-time winner, Approval Rating, carrying 61.5 kgs, will have Fortune aboard and, providing he has travelled well, should be fit having last run at Turffontein on August 15. However Terzi’s charge will have stable companion Super Trouper, as well as Picalilly and Thriller In Manila to contend with. Both Super Trouper and Thriller In Manila performed brilliantly in 2014/15, while Picalilly, returning from a rest on July 26, finished 1.30 lengths behind Equina in the 1400m Breeders Sprint where Super Trouper lost by a whisker. For Quartets look at Amas Amat and Gentle Bird (both ridden by apprentices claiming 4 kgs).
First race of the day, and the season, is a 1000m Maiden Plate where Gee Racing fields three locally bred first-timers, Almighty Hood, Geisha Grey and Flaming Fantastic, all three-year-olds. Fortune rides Nonewsisgoodnews, a Gharir filly having her second outing, but Francois Herholdt’s mount, Cherry Brook, has some decent form. There are 11 horses carded so watch the betting because I am prepared to be surprised.
At the last race meeting Burg’s Overture and Bankers Blue were involved in the closest of finishes in a 1200m Maiden Plate, with Burg’s Overture getting the verdict. Formerly trained by Corne Spies and now with Amy Bronkhorst, the consistent Burg’s Overture steps out in the 1200m MR 50 Handicap where she has to account for the rest of the field. Her former rival, Promising, will be receiving 5,5kgs. It will be interesting to see how the two three-year-olds, Yesterday Man and Starry Notions, shape here.
Meanwhile Bankers Blues, a four-year-old Grey’s Inn (USA) gelding (Andrew Fortune) tries his luck in the 1600m Maiden Plate where Bachata is probably the main danger.
There are three ex-Spies runners in the 1300m MR 65 Handicap – Prince Fireball, Sword Of Truth and Jean’s Dancer. They must all be considered but the Amy Bronkhorst-trained Chestnut Girl will surely have supporters and so will Wat’s Up Sarge. Sido looked to be coming back to his best towards the end of last season while Flamingo Lily (Apprentice Serino Moodley) will only carry 49 kgs.
One could make a case for most of the horses in the 1600m MR 75 Handicap where Menacing is a card scratching. Two Gun Kid and Madigan, who both ran in the OK Grand Challenge and the Republic Cup, could feature, and then you have a handful of likely candidates who didn’t take part in the big races but are distance suited with weight on their side such as Say So Tiger and Iron Lady.
Seb d’Aquino saddles five of the 13 runners in the sixth race on the card, a 1700m MR 65 Handicap, and most should be in with a chance. Sea Clipper and Temple Run will be ridden by claiming apprentices Diego de Garcia and Serino Moodley respectively, and at these weights could make their presence felt. Similarly Jewel Of The Stage, a three-time winner making his Borrowdale Park debut, will be ridden by Apprentice Marshal Bimausaru who claims 4 kgs. Marco van Rensburg has the ride on the Western Winter gelding, Ice -Pack, and Captain Grant (52kgs) will have Nikki Sibanda in the irons.
Gee Racing is sending out It’s By Jingo (last seen in January) and So Ruler (last run May 3). If racing fit, and with Quinton Riddle aboard, It’s By Jingo could go close. The Stidolph yard will be represented by Neptune’s Rock, and Swanson Racing by Stirling Road, neither of which can be discounted. Jannie Blignaut’s charge, Tail Wind, will be ridden by Morgan Nyamagwete, while Terzi has put Andrew Fortune on Walton Heath and Brendon McNaughton on Parade Prancer. Last but not least is top weighted Vice Admiral who will be ridden by Apprentice Callan Murray, claiming 1.5 kgs.
I suggest, with no real confidence, Sea Clipper, Temple Run, Stirling Road and It’s By Jingo.
Without a doubt we are in for a fascinating afternoon at Borrowdale…but if you are in it to win it follow your own hunches, not mine!