Can Gentle Brook pull off a Champion Fillies Stakes Double?
Gentle Brook won the Champion Fillies Stakes in 2014 and should go very close when this 1600m feature is run at Borrowdale Park on Sunday.
Andrew Fortune rides the six-year-old Windrush mare for Amy Bronkhorst, who also saddles the classy Equina, winner of the 2014 OK Grand Challenge (GR2) and Castle Tankard (GR 1), and the 2015 Republic Cup (GR 3).
Quinton Riddle rides Equina, who will be conceding masses of weight to the rest of the field, and I am not convinced she will enjoy this. The daughter of Silvano has, in the past, won over shorter distances, but is at her best over 1800m and further, which is another reason why I prefer Gentle Brook this time.
Bridget Stidolph’s charge, Print The Pounds, appears to be the main danger. As a three-year-old this AP Answer filly won the 1600m Fillies Classic and the Zimbabwe Guineas. She took on some big guns in the 1800m ZNA Charity Stakes in October, and won convincingly, beating Rock The Country by 1.50 lengths. Sunday’s runner Tallie Two also ran well here, finishing third.
Alyson Wright fields Tallie Two, while the Oaks winner, Fig Jam, and Diversify represent the Swanson stable. Any of this trio could spring a surprise, providing they get their act together soon enough.
Two one-time winners, Pretty Special and Second Guessing, complete the line-up. They will have weight on their side but should still be out of their depth.
Racing gets underway at 12 05 with an 1100m Merit Rated 75 Handicap. Nimble Dancer and Brendon McNaughton are going for a hat-trick and must be respected . They meet up with Fortune’s mount, Carla The Rebel, who ran third behind Road To Dubai, giving half a kg, at the last meeting.
Nimble Dancer beat Road To Dubai over 1100m on October 4, when receiving 7.5 kgs. However he is an improving sort and keeps finding that little bit more. An interesting race and if you are looking for trouble think about Chestnut Girl and Changa.
The next two races on the card, a 1300m MR 55 Handicap and a 1600m MR 60 Handicap, require some thought. In the 1300m event Gokhan Terzi sends out the in-form Princeton Tiger (Fortune again), together with Sido, Princess Kate and Fashion World. Pente’s Daughter, Yesterday Man, Royal Revenge and Lake Nakuru also catch the eye.
Kirk Swanson has quite a strong hand in the 1600m handicap with Nugget Effect and Confabulate. Another one to consider is Scarlett Ice from the Terzi yard who won both her starts in Harare.
Then there is Sword Of Truth, Jean’s Dancer, Arrowfield and Maturin – all with form – so one has to go wide.
I like Sky, Flaming Phoenix, Expensive and, possibly Domboshava, for the 1700m Maiden Plate. There are nine runners and I am assuming Sky, who is by Warm White Night out of a Jallad (USA) mare, will appreciate her first attempt at the mile.
Madigan goes for his hat-trick in the 1800m MR 85 Handicap and will once again have Norbert Takawira in the irons. As Takawira no longer claims an apprentice allowance all of Rock The Country, Got A Hold On Me and Say So Tiger will be harder to subdue this time.
The last race, an 1100m Maiden Plate, will be the get-out stakes for some – but!
Master Of The Sky and Go Galaxy have some Borrowdale form and we are waiting for Portsalon to do something.
Bridget Stidolph’s pair, Detente and Mathematician, will be racing for the first time in Harare; Kirk Swanson will saddle the unraced Cool Solution, and Gokhan Terzi has entered two first-timers, Copper Sky and Magnificent Mile.
So, the best of British luck to those still in the Exotics at the start of this race.
Temperature-wise the heat has been on in Harare for the last couple of weeks. At the November 1st race meeting the penetrometer reading was 15. It would be great to have some soaking rain.
The next Borrowdale Park race meeting is on Saturday, November 28, and features Zimbabwe’s top sprint, the prestigious HRIB Gold Cup (GR 3).