The weather may hold the key…
Former Kranje star Flax has to date won one race at Borrowdale Park, and that was the 1450m Breeders Sprint on July 31.
Bridget Stidolph’s charge steps out on Sunday in the Zimbabwe Challenge, also over 1450 m, where he is set to carry 59 kgs to stable mate Mathematician’s top weight of 60 kgs. Both these runners took part in the 1200m HRIB Gold Cup on December 3 and trailed in – a pipe opener for this race, perhaps.
Zimbabwe Horse of The Year, Mathematician, won his four races from 1300m to 2400m, but judging by their previous experience over this trip Flax probably has the edge.
Sheik’s Brashee from the Penny Fisher yard will carry 57 kgs this time but has yet to win beyond 1200m. He finished third in the HRIB, 2.60 lengths back and giving the winner 6 kgs.
The son of The Sheik was well beaten by Flax at level weights in the Breeders Sprint. Now he receives 2kgs and his recent form is excellent, but how will he handle the extra ground?
All of Windigo, Madigan, Call Me Earl, La Carmelita and Newton Power come in at 53,5 kgs or below.
Newton Power (52kgs) has won over Sunday’s distance both at Borrowdale and Turffontein, and also clocked up a 1400m victory at the Vaal. He was 1.75 lengths off Flax in the Breeders Sprint, at level weights, and last time out ran second to Road To Dubai in the HRIB. He has to be a real danger here.
As for the rest do not write them off. They will see out the trip and Madigan, for instance, has been placed several times in this particular race, carrying much more than he will on Sunday.
The outcome is probably going to depend on the conditions underfoot. At the last meeting I predicted a change in the going – which did not happen. Surely we have now had sufficient rain to shift the readings away from Firm?
Another particularly interesting race on Sunday’s card is the second, a 1260m MR 78 Handicap, where Comanche Brave takes on Tote Free Handicap winner, and stable companion, Wylde Style.
By Kahal (GB) the four-year-old gelding, Comanche Brave has won three of his seven Borrowdale starts, over 1200m and 1600m, and been placed second over 1200m and 1800m. He ran fourth in the recent HRIB and will be giving the three-year-old West Man (USA) filly, Wylde Style, 1,5 kgs on Sunday. The stable mates have not met previously and five-time winner Wylde Style has not raced in open company before. Comanche Brave has the outside draw.
Amy Bronkhorst’s pair will be giving weight to the rest of the field which includes the Kirk Swanson trio, Tamarind, Gotago and Cool Solution. Bridget Stidolph fields Super Good, El Gallo and Nimble Dancer. Super Good has got the better of Comanche Brave at level weights…and now receives 2,5 kgs. Tamarind is also one to follow, I think.
This smallish field could provide a worthwhile Quartet. Wish I knew what the weather was really going to do. There has been a good, soaking rain and weather fundis expect more.
Photograph: Flax heading for home in the 1450m Breeders Sprint on July 31. Followed by Newton Power and Eurakilon.