Heads up – the first race at Borrowdale Park on Sunday is due off at 11.30, and the feature event, the 1600m Independence Trophy, takes place at 14.20.
Juvenile Plate 1000m
First juvenile race of the season which includes two colts, three fillies from the Stidolph and Bronkhorst yards. They represent a variety of stallions –Justinianus by Imperial Stride (GB), Knuckleball by Curved Ball (AUS), Fearless Heart by AP Answer (USA), Hollywood On Set by Jay Peg, Queen of the River (ZIM) by Fencing Master (GB), and Sweet Tea by Antonius Pius (USA).
Hollywood On Set has had two previous starts in South Africa – last run in January at Scottsville and not too much can be gleaned from that. Experience tells, however. Another to consider, maybe, is Queen Of The River, while Callan Murray will be riding Fearless Heart for Amy Bronkhorst.
MR 53 Handicap 1200m
This field includes Gateway Gamble, Romantic Balladeer, Temple Run, the impressive three-year-old The Catcher, and Detente. Like most races on Sunday’s card it might pay to look beyond the obvious and concentrate on the turnaround in weights – where you find them. Gateway Gamble and Romantic Balladeer, both carry 60 kgs, which gives them more to do. Temple Run and The Catcher won their last starts but the The Catcher is an unknown quantity in this company. Detente finished two lengths off Cape Cod in his last race, and is lightly weighted on 53 kgs. Apprentice Calvin Habib rides.
MR 55 Handicap 2000m
Second leg of the Pick 6 and tricky. Baumgartner usually finishes in front of Bullion Bay but this time he will be giving the latter 5kgs. Last time they met over 2000m, on December 3, Baumgartner won and Bullion Bay finished fourth, 2,25 lengths back, receiving 1 kg. Sunday’s runner Valmont, Piece of Pizzaz, Chum and Rawedge finished further back. Since then Rawedge showed improvement in the wet but the going is firmer again. Also have a hard look at Betula Uber and Record Bid from the Fisher stable. Star Dance and Quick Glance, possibly, over this distance.
Graduation Plate 1600m
A field of nine one and two-time winners, where Cape Cod and Tierce try the turn for the first time. Newcomer to Harare, Life Is Good, by Var (USA), brings two wins and two places from 6 starts to the table, and previously raced at Scottsville, Vaal and Turffontein. Has won over 1200m and 1400m and is bound to have followers. Most of this field are in with a shout and it will be interesting to see how the three-year-old filly Golden Mystery fares. More often than not she is thereabouts.
Maiden Plate 1800m
One can’t trust maidens, in this case all three-year-olds, but I quietly fancy the Century Stand (AUS) pair, Delta and Master Stroke. Whatsnewpussycat has been placed in her last two starts, and Ariel can’t be ignored.
INDEPENDENCE TROPHY 16OOM
The main race fields some of Zimbabwe’s best, including Duffi’s Call, who is having her second start after returning from South Africa. The AP Answer (USA) filly ran third in the 2000m Breeders Champions Cup on March 17, behind Comanche Brave and Mathematician, while Sunday’s runners Eurakilon and Rock The Country were further back. Another race worth considering in this context is the 1600m Ipi Tombe Stakes run on February 19 which was won in heavy going by Windigo with Eurakilon (fourth), Newton Power, Madigan and Principled Man much further back. That day they all carried 60 kgs so study the weights here. We all know these runners can be dangerous on their day. Watch and learn….. Castle Tankard just around the corner, on May 6 in fact.
Pinnacle Plate 1100m
The good old get-out stakes with seven runners, including Sheik’s Brashee (who loves 1100m); Comanche Brave, who can defy both weight and distance; El Gallo (going for a hat-trick), and the ever popular Wylde Style.
Good luck with this one.
Photograph: Duffi’s Call runs in the Independence Trophy. Brendon McNaughton rides again.