AFZ Borrowdale Chairty Sprint run on September 10 NO 2

Photograph by Andrew Philip: Finish of the AFZ Charity Borrowdale Sprint in September, 2016.

…reach for a pin and pray…

Once upon a time there were no computers, or super websites like Formgrids, where one can find all the form at the click of a mouse. Unfortunately the Formgrids website is down.

It is back to basics, which involves peering at 6pt text taken from the back of race cards and scribbling on pieces of paper, immediately mislaid.

Add that Saturday’s Borrowdale Park meeting is the first since July 22, and finding likely winners become difficult. A mission impossible, actually.

The main race is the 1000m AFZ Charity Borrowdale Sprint and four of Saturday’s runners took part in this race in 2016. It was won by Approval Rating (60 kgs), followed by Nimble Dancer (52kgs), Sheik’s Brashee (57.5.5 kgs), Newton Power (55.5kgs), Road To Dubai (56kgs) and El Gallo (52 kgs). Only half a length separated the first five horses, with El Gallo 5.50 lengths back.

This time Approval Rating and Nimble Dancer are not in the line up. Sheik’s Brashee will carry 60.5 kgs; Road To Dubai 59.5, while El Gallo and Newton Power are on 53.5kgs. Racing for the first time in this event are Coachella (55.5) and Cabinda, ridden by Apprentice Habib who is expected to weigh in at 53 kgs.

The next step was to check on how these runners had fared recently over 1000m and the short answer is they have not. Since the 2016 running of the AFZ Charity Borrowdale Sprint, not counting Maiden Plates and races for juveniles, there have been five 1000m sprints comprising one MR 49 Handicap, three MR 50 Handicaps, and one MR 60 Handicap. The Merit Ratings of Saturday’s runners range from 75 to 96.

At his best Sheik’s Brashee has plenty of early toe, and from the outside draw could make light work of 60 kgs. Dual HRIB winner, Road to Dubai, may prefer a bit further. Newton Power, however, has a lot going for him here.

In the 2016 AFZ Newton Power finished 0.10 lengths behind Sheik’s Brashee, and 0.05 lengths in front of Road To Dubai. That day he was receiving 2 kgs from Sheik’s Brashee, and 0.5 kgs from Road To Dubai. On Saturday Sheik’s Brashee will concede 7 kgs, and Road To Dubai 6 kgs, to Newton Power, who has won 8 races and been placed 28 times from 61 starts. Morgan Nyamagwete has the ride.

Although I find it hard to look beyond these older horses, Bridget’s Stidolph’s trio – El Gallo, Coachella and Cabinda – should be considered. El Gallo has improved since his last start in the AFZ, while Coachella and Cabinda are unknown quantities in this company.

The first race on the card – a 1000m Maiden Plate – is due off at 11.45 am and Business Jet should go close. Sail From Sibaya, Eurozone and Detente catch my eye in the 1200m MR 50 Handicap.

Third race on the card – a 1450m MR 61 Handicap – has plenty of likely candidates, including a newcomer to Borrowdale, Big Chief, and Banker’s Blues who has returned to the fold after campaigning in Gauteng. I think I might go with Gateway Gamble and Romantic Balladeer here – just because.

Misterioso, Rebellious Queen and Cathayness seem most attractive in the 1600m Maiden Plate. There are only four runners in the 1600m MR 74 Handicap where I expect Lava Flow will make Haga Haga, Betula Uber and Perfect Grace work hard for some money.

Wee Doch ‘n Dorris, going for a double, steps out in the 1700m MR 55 Handicap, carrying 61 kgs. In my view this is the trickiest race on the card…reach for that pin and pray.

The results should be interesting and, if you want to watch the races, better high tail it to Borrowdale Park, because who knows what Tellytrack will do.


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