The Breeders Champion Cup (L) will be run over 2000m at Borrowdale Park on Sunday and it has the hallmarks of a fascinating race.
Included in the field of 10 are Print The Pounds and Eurakilon, and many will remember that race on January 17, over 1800m, when Eurakilon was declared the winner, a decision later reversed in favour of Print The Pounds. Only 0.05 lengths separated these two contenders and Print The Pounds was receiving 2 kgs from Eurakilon. This time the AP Answer filly will receive 4.5 kgs from her former rival.
The 2015 Breeders Champion Cup winner, Rock The Country, ran third to Print The Pounds on January 17. He is now marginally better off with Eurakilon, but will give Print The Pounds an additional 2 kgs. Tallie Two, placed fourth, now carries 53,5 kgs rather than 57 kgs, and only 1.30 lengths separated the first four home . I wouldn’t be surprised to see yielding going on Sunday and, based on the above, Print The Pounds looks the likely winner, with some cheek from Tallie Two – maybe.
However, there’s more. Gentle Brook came fifth in the January 17 event, 2.55 lengths off the winner, receiving 0.5 kgs. She will be 3.5 kgs better off with Bridget Stidolph’s charge on Sunday which should bring her into contention.
And it doesn’t end there because Lucky Sam and Equina (below) make an appearance in the Breeders Cup and, at their best, could make mincemeat of this field.
Lucky Sam, in his first start this year, finished a commendable third to Principled Man on February 14 in the 1600m Ipi Tombe Stakes. That race will have brought him on and he will enjoy an extra 400m.
Equina ran about 5 lengths behind Lucky Sam in the Ipi Tombe but she too will prefer 2000m. Her last win, in November, was in the 1800m Champion Fillies Stakes where she vanquished her stable mate, Gentle Brook, as well as Print The Pounds, Diversify and Fig Jam. Her last three starts over 1450m, 1300m and 1600m have been unimpressive, but this is part of the run-up to the big three at Borrowdale – the Castle Tankard, OK Grand Challenge and Republic Cup – so it’s time for this well performed daughter of Silvano (GER) to show us something.
To sum up, Print The Pounds, seems in with a good shout, providing the big guns, Lucky Sam and Equina, are not quite ready.
A MATCH RACE?
Earlier in the afternoon the TBA Silver Slipper (second leg of the Triple Tiara) will also be run over 1800m and it is a “match” race between the Gokhan Terzi and Bridget Stidolph yards as the eight runners are shared equally between them.
The first leg of the Triple Tiara, the 1600m Fillies Classic, was won by Duffi’s Call (Stidolph) who finished a length in front of Pacifica (Terzi) at level weights, followed by Hunyani (Stidolph), and Second Guessing (Stidolph again).
At the last race meeting, in the 1600m Zimbabwe Guineas, Pacifica held off the fast finishing Stidolph charge, Super Good, a son of Announce, by a whisker, while Duffi’s Call, the only other filly in the Guineas, ran fourth, two lengths back. Surprisingly Call Me Earl, who had all the winning credentials, ran a disappointing fifth.
I find it hard to be enthusiastic about any race where only two stables are involved (if there were only two runners that would be different). On paper the Silver Slipper is between Pacifica and Duffi’s Call. The latter, a full sister to Print The Pounds, should see out the 1800m trip – Pacifica just managed to hold on in the Guineas so there might be stamina doubts. If so, Ladies First, by Silvano (GER) out of an Al Mufti mare, and Hunyani (by Horse Chestnut) will be waiting in the wings.
As the next race meeting at Borrowdale is on March 20, nominations for the Bloodstock 2000 (second leg of the Triple Crown) are already out. It concerns me that should Penny Fisher’s Call Me Earl not make the Final Field then, once again, we will be looking at a Terzi/Stidolph duel as the remaining 13 nominees represent their respective yards.
In my view this makes a mockery of the three-year-old Classics although it is a no-blame situation. Those who have sufficient suitable horses are going to nominate, while those who haven’t can only grin and bear it. Perhaps it is time for owners to consider spreading their horses around a bit more for the good of racing in the long term. Some will say the other yards must have three-year-olds with some ability, which they don’t choose to run. As we race so seldom at Borrowdale Park that is hard to accept.
Last month Phumelela axed a Durbanville meeting and switched to Port Elizabeth – a decision taken after 160 entries produced only 54 acceptors – and the smaller centre came up with 95 declarations for the substitute meeting. The Cape trainers were shocked and that matter is still not resolved.
Stan Elley, a recently retired trainer after 41 years, believes part of the problem lies with the 6 or so Cape Yards who have about 80 percent of the horses in training. Obviously Borrowdale, with its far smaller pool of horses, cannot be compared with the Western Cape but this clearly demonstrates that problems can and do arise when the playing field becomes seriously unbalanced.
I quote Stan Elley, completely out of context, but his remarks could be applied to Borrowdale in this instance. “Trainers have got to wake up. Owners have to as well and spread their horses around more, while I think there should be a limit on the number of horses each trainer is allowed.
“You cannot do anything about the trainers that have their own yards but you can with the rest. It has been done in P.E. and I believe in Durban too.”
This is a revolutionary idea as far as Borrowdale is concerned but today’s three-year-olds represent the future and we certainly do not need to end up with less training stables – they are too few and far between as it is.
The full report on the Cape story referred to above can be found athttp://www.sportingpost.co.za/20…/…/cape-horseracing-crisis/
It is well worth reading.
BELOW: Duffi’s Call won the 1600m Fillies Classic and then Pacifica (the grey) won the Zimbabwe Guineas. Which one will appreciate the extra 200m in Sunday’s TBA Silver Slipper?