The 1600m Guineas Trial, scheduled main race at Borrowdale Park on January 17, will inevitably set some of us snarling – again.
The beef being, how can this be a Guineas Trial when the race conditions are so different? The Zimbabwe Guineas for all three-year-olds takes place at the end of February and will be run over 1600m at set weights (C & G 58kgs, F 55kgs) with No Apprentice Allowance.
Apprentice Allowances can be claimed in the Guineas Trial (also restricted to three-year-olds) but this is a Merit Rated Handicap, top weight 61 kgs.
At the time of writing 9 horses are nominated for the Guineas Trial. Bridget Stidolph has entered Super Good (MR 83), Bullion Bay (MR 69), Detente (MR 69), Rocky Road (MR 69) and Al Salaam (MR 56). Gokhan Terzi’s nominations are Tandava (MR 72) and Betula Uber (MR 60), while Amy Bronkhorst has gone with Slick (MR 63) and Kirk Swanson with Cool Solution (MR 66).
Hopefully most will stand their ground in order to make a race of it. Quite a few likely Guineas candidates are not part of this line-up.
However, having said this Trial is not really a trial, let’s take a look at what happened last year.
The 2015 Guineas Trial was won by Mica Point (52kgs) above, followed three lengths back by Tallie Two (57.5 kgs), Eversolucky (56.5kgs) and Supa Challenge (58.5 kgs).
Mica Point then ran sixth in the 2015 Zimbabwe Guineas, where all of Picalilly, Zita, Eversolucky and Merhaba were ahead of him.
The actual Guineas winner, Print The Pounds, had skipped the Guineas Trial but in the meantime won the 1600m Fillies Classic with Tallie Two and Eversolucky behind her.
After that Print The Pounds only ran in the Classic races for fillies. She came third behind Eversolucky and Tallie Two in the 1800m TBA Silver Slipper, and second to Fig Jam in the 2000m Zimbabwe Oaks, chased by Tallie Two.
Mica Point’s connections, undismayed by the disappointing run in the Guineas, decided to go for the remaining two legs of Zimbabwe’s Triple Crown, and it paid off. The son of West Man (USA) was always up there, finishing second to Merhaba in both the SA Bloodstock 2000 and the 2400m Zimbabwe Derby. Tallie Two and Eversolucky finished third and fourth in the SA.Bloodstock 2000, but only Tallie Two ran (unplaced) in the Derby.
Unfortunately Eversolucky, the filly who ran so consistently in the Classics, has not raced since due to an injury, but the others mentioned are still racing – and most are winning.
So, it would probably be foolish to write off the Guineas Trial as a non-event. It can be a pointer towards things to come.
The Weights and Draws for this race have now been published:
8 SUPER GOOD (3G) 61.0 83 A Bridget Stidolph
7 TANDAVA (ZIM) (3C) 55.5 72 A Gokhan Terzi
1 BULLION BAY (ZIM) (3G) 54.0 69 BS Bridget Stidolph
6 DETENTE (3G) 54.0 69 S Bridget Stidolph
3 ROCKY ROAD (ZIM) (3G) 54.0 69 S Bridget Stidolph
2 #COOL SOLUTION (3C) 52.5 66 S Kirk Swanson
5 SLICK (ZIM) (3C) 51.0 63 S Amy Bronkhorst
9 AL SALAAM (3G) 47.5 56 S Bridget Stidolph
4 BETULA UBER (3F) 47.5 56 S Gokhan Terzi
FLASHBACK (above) to when Mica Point won the Guineas Trial in 2015. He is seen with his trainer Bridget Stidolph, Karen Tselentis and part-owner Rosie Dorward. Denicious Smith is in the irons.
Photograph by Gavin Macleod.