Approval Rating (nearest) Pegwell Bay

Approval Rating (nearest the camera) and Pegwell Bay involved in a tight finish over 1000m on September 6, 2015.

Finding winners after our Annual Racing break is never simple and this year there is the added complication of on course alterations, still ongoing. However Zimbabweans usually make a plan…I am sure the trainers have done so….and as everyone is stabled at the course we start with a level playing field.

Main race at Borrowdale Park on Saturday is the AFZ Charity Borrowdale Sprint which is run over 1000m. The Gokhan Terzi trained Approval Rating won this race last year and although he has not been in the Number One box since, a repeat performance would not surprise me. Andrew Fortune takes the ride again.

In 2015 Approval Rating carried 61.5 kgs, and Pegwell Bay, Picalilly and Thriller In Manila filled the minor places. On that occasion none of Saturday’s runners took part in the race, but in the interim Approval Rating has met up with main rivals Road To Dubai and Newton Power several times and has never been disgraced. The seven-year-old now meets this pair on better terms.

Kirk Swanson’s Road To Dubai, recently declared top sprinter for the 2015/16 racing season, definitely comes into the reckoning. However, the five-year-old has never raced over 1000m, although hard to beat from 1100m to 1200m. Keagan de Melo rides The Sheik’s son for the first time, as Francois Herholdt heads for Saudi.

Juan Paul van der Merwe rides Newton Power for Terzi and had they been racing over 1200m it would be hard to choose between Newton Power and Road To Dubai. Newton Power has headed Road To Dubai over this distance when in receipt of 1 kg. This time he will only receive 0.5 kg but has the advantage of an outside draw – always worth considering up the straight at Borrowdale.

Champion trainer Terzi’s third runner is The Mutineer who tends to pop into the minor money when least expected. From 13 starts at Borrowdale he has won once over 1200m, beating Porterhouse. Kevin Derere will be in the irons.

Bridget Stidolph fields Atso’s Scheme, El Gallo and Nimble Dancer, and of these Nimble Dancer has some appeal. By A P Answer (USA) he won four races up the straight in quick succession only to go off the boil. Since being gelded he has shown improvement so can’t be ignored. In October Nimble Dancer beat Road To Dubai over 1100m by 0.75 lengths, receiving 7.5 kgs. He receives 4 kgs here and his regular jockey Brendon McNaughton rides.

Atso’s Scheme will carry 59 kgs to Approval Rating’s 60 kgs, and I would really fancy his chances with less weight. He has won over 1000m and Fanie Chambers has the ride. The five-year-old gelding will jump from the number 8 stall.

Morgan Nyamagwete’s mount, El Gallo, a four-year-old Toreador (IRE) gelding, is making his Borrowdale Park debut. He shed his maiden at Greyville over 1000m. He was unplaced in his last start in KZN on November 6, but prior to that came second to Bunker Hill at Scottsville over 1200m.

Penny Fisher’s yard is represented by Sheik’s Brashee, also a bit of a dark horse. He won five races south of the Limpopo from 1000m to 1200m and I am drawing a line through his only start at Borrowdale. On July 31st this six-year-old son of The Sheik finished about 5 lengths behind Flax over 1450m. On Saturday he will be distance suited so watch out.

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