Isn’t it time one of our ‘top’ horses fought back?
It may not come as a surprise to anyone that I am ready to be amazed by the result of the 2018 Republic Cup.
The stake for Saturday’s 1900m event has been boosted to $60 000 – making this the richest race in Zimbabwe’s racing calendar. You can bet your life this is a race everyone wants to win. However, that said, I would hesitate to bet my house, let alone my life, on anything else.
The field includes Roman Discent, the 66/1 shot who won the 2018 Castle Tankard (GR1), beating Simona by a whisker over 2000m when both carried 52 kgs. Simona went on to win the 1800m OK Grand Challenge (GR2) a month later.
The Gimmethegreenlight filly carried 53.5 kgs in the OK and finished two lengths clear of Peggson (52kgs). Roman Discent, on 54 kgs was 5.50 lengths back.
It is tempting to conclude that the winner of the 1900m Republic Cup (GR3) will come from one of the lightweights – and there is a rash of runners to choose from. Peggson will carry 53 kgs, Kevin Barry 52.5 kgs, and all of Heir Line, newcomer Bush Pilot and Lava Flow are on 52 kgs.
Zimbabwe Derby winner Knuckleball is a Card Scratching, and this well-performed three-year-old would have received plenty of support when carrying 52 kgs.
Weight counts but it is sad to see the better-rated runners constantly missing out on the pound seats. It is time for one of our ‘top’ horses to fight back.
Saturday’s runner Comanche Brave won the 2017 Castle Tankard with 52 kgs, fluffed his lines in the 2017 OK Grand Challenge, but scored in the 2017 Republic Cup, carrying 59 kgs. He runs off a Merit Rating of 95 and is set to carry 60 kgs on Saturday.
Perhaps he can get back to winning ways. The son of Kahal (GB) was giving Roman Discent and Simona 6.5 kgs each in the Tankard, and finished third, 3.30 lengths behind. Simona is 2.5 kgs worse off here.
Comanche Brave fluffed it again in the 2018 OK Grand Challenge, but that is exactly what he did last year.
Master Switch, fourth in this year’s Tankard, and third in the OK, could also put his best hoof forward on Saturday. He will be giving Simona 1.5 kgs, compared with the 3.5 kgs she received from him in the OK – when Master Switch finished about two lengths behind.
Although I haven’t made a case for Amsterdam I don’t believe we have seen him at his best yet. He too meets Simona on better terms.
It seems I have made Simona my ‘line’ horse, and why not? The four-year-old finished a very close second in the Castle Tankard, and won the OK Grand Challenge comfortably. The handicapper may or may not be catching up with her, but on Saturday we shall see.