Life Is Good won the 1450m Zimbabwe Challenge at Borrowdale Park in 2017 but has not picked up the gauntlet this year. Super Good, only half-a-length off the winner on that occasion, and distance suited, probably has more counting against than for him on Sunday.
In 2017 Life Is Good carried 52 kgs in good to firm going, while receiving 1 kg from Super Good – half a length back. This time Super Good hefts 61.5 kgs and if the rain continues it could well be heavy underfoot.
The Announce gelding will be conceding 7.5 kgs to Road to Dubai, opposed to receiving 1 kg from Road To Dubai, who finished two lengths behind Super Good, in the 2017 Challenge.
Then there is Twilight Trip, winner of the 1200m HRIB Gold Cup Sprint on December 3. The extra 250m should not be a problem and that day Sunday’s runners Road To Dubai, Butchie Boy, Edward The Seventh, Super Good and Kingston Passage were behind him.
Of course, there has been some adjustment in weights. For instance, in the HRIB Twilight Trip, Butchie Boy and Edward The Seventh all carried 52 kgs. Both Butchie Boy and Edward The Seventh are now 3 kgs better off.
Even without concerns about changes in conditions underfoot, finding the winner of the 2018 Zimbabwe Challenge would be tricky enough!
The first race on Sunday is due off at 12.50 pm.
2018 ZIMBABWE CHALLENGE – 1450m – 15.40 PM
Drawn 2 (61.5 kgs) MR96 – C Storey- Bridget Stidolph
6-y-o gelding by Announce out of a Dynasty mare.
Seven-time winner from 1000m to 1450m at Borrowdale. Generally consistent but has plenty to do here. Last victory was in the 1450m Breeders Sprint on July 29. Last start in the HRIB Gold Cup where he finished 4.50 lengths off the winner while conceding 8 kgs.
Drawn 3 (57 kgs) MR87 – S Brown – Kirk Swanson
5-y-o gelding by Western Winter (USA) out of a Horse Chestnut mare.
This will be Kingston Passage’s third start at Borrowdale and his first further than 1200m. He won three over 1000m at Kenilworth but has yet to find form at Borrowdale.
Drawn 5 (55 kgs) MR83 – C Habib – Bridget Stidolph
5-y-o gelding by Trippi (USA) out of a Jet Master mare.
Recent winner of the 1200 HRIB Gold Cup – his fourth start and first win in Harare. He won three races over a mile in the Cape and despite a turnaround in weights could still be worth following here.
ROAD TO DUBAI
Drawn 6 (54 kgs) MR81 – Wes Marwing – Kirk Swanson
7-y-o gelding by The Sheik out of a Model Man mare.
Ran second in the recent HRIB Gold Cup and might be able to turn the tables here but has not shone to date over 1450m. Road To Dubai has won 9 times from 1000m to 1260m, including the HRIB Gold Cup, twice.
Drawn 1 (52.5 kgs) MR78 – B McNaughton – Bridget Stidolph
4-y-o gelding by Crusade (USA) out of a Kahal (GB) mare.
Has won four races from 1200m to 1600m, including the Zimbabwe Guineas. His last start was in the HRIB Gold Cup, 2.60 lengths off Twilight Trip at level weights. May come to light here.
EDWARD THE SEVENTH
Drawn 4 (52 kgs) MR75 – M Thackeray – Kirk Swanson
4-y-o gelding by Seventh Rock (AUS) out of a Kitalpha (USA) mare.
Has won four races from 1200m – 1600m, including the 2017 Tote Free Handicap where he finished 2.50 lengths clear of Knuckleball when giving him 1 kg. His last start was in the HRIB Gold Cup where he was 4.35 lengths off the pace, but don’t entirely discount him here.
Drawn 7 (52 kgs) MR77 – J Penny – Penny Fisher
5-y-o gelding by Horse Chestnut out of a Sobieski (USA) mare
Kevin Barry’s last outing was in the Republic Cup on July 14. At his best he is a force to be reckoned with but will probably need this run. His last win was on June 3, 2017, over 1600m. He has the outside draw and his four wins include the 1200m Jacaranda Free Handicap in 2016.