The race everyone wants to win

2016 Tankard Rock The Country, Mathematician, Windigo

How they finished in 2016 – Rock The Country, Mathematician and Windigo…

Here we are again – getting set for the $50 000 Castle Tankard (Gr1) to be run over 2000m at Borrowdale Park on Saturday.  This is a race everyone would like to win and the  2017 field of 12 runners includes Zimbabwe’s champions plus three “South African” contenders….which makes life a bit more difficult.

As usual I haven’t a clue who will win – apprentice allowances may not be claimed – but I am excited, in advance, about the eventual outcome.

There are 8 races on the Borrowdale card, the first due off at 11.50 am, and the main race will be run at 16.00 pm.


MATHEMATICIAN – Drawn  2.  60 kgs  *C. Habib – Bridget Stidolph. 4-year-old  gelding by Black Minnaloushe (USA). 16 starts for 4 wins and 6 places.  At three years he won the Bloodstock SA 2000, the Zimbabwe Derby and the Republic Cup over 1900m. Has raced four times this season and  in his last two outings ran second to Windigo in the 1600m Ipi Tombe Stakes, and second to Comanche Brave, who was receiving plenty of weight, in the 2000m Breeders Champion Cup. Few would dispute that Mathematician is a class act but can he concede  weight to the rest of this field?  Cannot claim the apprentice allowance here.
WINDIGO – Drawn  4. 56.5 kgs  S. Brown – Kirk Swanson. 5-year-old  gelding by Windrush (USA). 16 starts for 6 wins and 5 places. In the 2016 Tankard Rock The Country, Mathematician and Windigo finished within a length, all carrying 52 kgs, with Eurakilon (55.5 kgs) further back. Windigo will receive 3.5 kgs from Mathematician this time, while giving  Rock The Country 2 kgs. Windigo has won two of his three starts this season, over 1450m and the 1600m Ipi Tombe Stakes, and last time out in the 1600m Independence Trophy he went down by half a length to Duffi’s Call, conceding 1.5 kgs. At his best Windigo definitely in with a shout but may prefer slightly shorter.
ASHTON PARK  – Drawn 7.  56 kgs  A. Mgudlwa – Penny Fisher.  8-year-old  gelding by Battersea Park out of a Jetmaster mare. 8 wins and 18 places from 48 starts. Wins in Western Cape and Gauteng, all over 1400m.  In his day has run decent races over 1600m behind the likes of Futura, Legal Eagle and Legislate. Last start on July 31 at Greyville.  Ex C.L. Bass-Robinson.  First outing at Borrowdale Park.

DUFFI’S CALL – Drawn 12.  56 kgs  B. McNaughton –  Bridget Stidolph. 4-year-old  filly by AP Answer (USA). 7 wins and 5 places from 15 starts.  Zimbabwe’s Triple Tiara  winner at three, and also won the 1800m OK Grand Challenge, beating Windigo, who was conceding  2kgs, by one length.  On March 19 finished third behind Comanche Brave and Mathematician in the 2000m Breeders Champion Cup. That day Comanche Brave received 3.5 kgs from Duffi’s Call and gets 4 kgs from the filly on Saturday. Notwithstanding Duffi’s Call must be considered  formidable. She won the 1600m Independence Trophy last time out, beating Windigo and Eurakilon.

EURAKILON – Drawn 3.  54.5 kgs  M.Thackeray –  Amy Bronkhorst. 7-y-o gelding by Classic Flag. 34 starts for 7 wins and 15 places.  Experienced runner who has taken on the best both in South Africa and Zimbabwe and is more often than not thereabouts.  Well drawn on Sunday and will no doubt make the most of what is, for him, a relatively light weight. Last win came in the 2016 Independence Trophy but Eurakilon cannot be overlooked. One for the exotics.

ROCK THE COUNTRY – Drawn 10.  54.5 kgs  J. Greyling –  Penny Fisher. 8-y-o  gelding by Western Winter (USA). 47 starts for 7 wins and 15 places.  A veteran worthy of respect.  Ran fourth behind Yer-Maan in the 2015 Castle Tankard, then won this race in 2016. Back to back wins in the 2000m Breeders Champions Cup in 2014 and 2015, so 2000m is his game.  Has raced twice this season without distinction, but likely to strip fitter on Saturday.

LAVA FLOW – Drawn 11. 52.5 kgs C. Storey – Penny Fisher. 5-year-old gelding by Western Winter (USA out of an Elliodor (FR) mare. 4 wins and 9 places from 28 starts. Winner of two races over 1400m and 1800m in Gauteng, and two races over 1600m and 1800m at Borrowdale.  Recently returned from another sojourn in Gauteng. Last start on April 18 over 1700m when 7.60 lengths off Yer-Maan at the Vaal. Carries a good galloping weight here and has in the past run well over 2000m at Turffontein.

WYLDE STYLE (ZIM) – Drawn 6. 52 kgs *S. Moodley – Amy Bronkhorst. 3-year-old filly by West Man (USA). 7 wins and 5 places from 12 starts. Champion two-year-old  and winner of the 1600m Tote Free Handicap, the 1600m Fillies Classic and second to Flasher On The Run in the Zimbabwe Guineas.  Won her last start over 1100m on April 16, beating stable companion, Comanche Brave, by half a length.  Has not raced further than 1600m, but should be considered nevertheless.

ROYAL HONOUR – Drawn 1. 52 kgs  J. Penny – Paul Matchett. 4-year-old  gelding by Archipenko (USA). 5 wins and 7 places from 22 starts. Has won  races from 1600m to 2450m, including  a win over 2000m in MR 72 Handicap on February 18, beating Skynight.  This was followed by a win over 2450m when he narrowly beat Save The Rhino at Turffontein in very soft going. Last start, unplaced, was on April 1 in the 2850m Caradoc Gold Cup. No doubts about the Tankard distance. Royal Honour  is a newcomer to Borrowdale but his trainer is not.

COMANCHE BRAVE – Drawn 5. 52 kgs  S.Veale – Amy Bronkhorst. 4-year-old gelding by Kahal (GB). 4 wins and 7 places from 14 starts. On March 19 won the 2000m Breeders Champions Cup with all of Mathematician (0.75 lengths back), Duffi;s Call, Eurakilon and Rock The Country behind him.  Next time out a close second to Wylde Style over 1100m. Seems to defy weight and distance and a big runner here.  Tune in to Tellytrack on Saturday morning to hear what part-owner Adrian  Nydam says.

COOL SOLUTION – Drawn 9. 52 kgs.  K. de Melo – Kirk Swanson. 4-year-old gelding by Mullins Bay (GB) out of a Tilden (IRE) mare. 4 wins and 6 places from 12 starts. From in form stable but Cool Solution is stepping into the big league here. Has won from 1100m to 1600m and on April 2, carrying 61 kgs, finished third to Barbarian in a 1800m MR 75 Handicap. Hard to assess but I will be holding thumbs.

ROMAN  DISCENT – Drawn 8. 52 kgs S. Chambers +1.5  – Bridget Stidolph. 4-year-old gelding by Dynasty. 3 wins and 4 places from 25 starts. Ex G. W. Ennion and winner over 1600m, 2000m and 2400m in the Western Cape. Last start, unplaced, was over 2000m at Kenilworth on April 18.  Distance suited and  a son of Dynasty  deserves respect.

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