On Sunday eight of Zimbabwe’s top horses will take part in the 1600m Ipi Tombe Stakes – an annual event run in honour of Zimbabwe’s great race mare Ipi Tombe. The weight-for-age conditions of the race must be considered and looking back until 2012 this seems to favour males and, with very few exceptions, veterans.
Captain’s Tiger won the Ipi Tombe in 2012 and 2013, Madagan came to the fore in 2014, followed by Super Trouper in 2015, Principled Man in 2016, Windigo in 2017, and last year Ashton Park scored.
The 2019 field includes the highly rated five-year-old mare, Simona, who will be receiving 2,5 kgs from the rest of the runners. However, it may not be all done and dusted because females, ageing or otherwise, have not done so well here.
Entries from the distaff side during the past seven years have been light, and only Equina (second to Madagan in 2014 when Approval Rating was third) managed a place. The following year Equina did not finish in the money.
Simona, won the 1800m OK Grand Challenge in 2018 and if she has not won she has been well placed in everything worth winning recently. There have been very few hiccups, but one came in last year’s Ipi Tombe Stakes won by Ashton Park – an eight-year-old at that time. Simona (13/1) did not feature.
The 2019 contenders are listed below:
1 TWILIGHT TRIP 60 kgs Drawn 1 (MR91) D Habib – Bridget Stidolph
5-y-o g TRIPPI (USA) x LOVE IS IN THE AIR by JET MASTER
Has won 5 races and been placed 13 times from 22 starts. Won three races over 1600m at Kenilworth earlier in his career. At the last Borrowdale meeting Twilight Trip won over 1260m, and triumphed in the 1200m HRIB Gold Cup in December. In both these sprints he carried 52 kgs.
2 MASTER SWITCH 60 kgs Drawn 2 (MR88) Greyling – Penny Fisher
7-y-o g JET MASTER x LADY WINDSOR by AL MUFTI (USA)
Won 5 times and was placed in 10 races from 31 starts. In July 2015, at the Vaal, Master Switch won his first start over 1600m but has performed best over more ground since then. The weight-for-age conditions of Sunday’s race are on his side.
3 AMSTERDAM 60 kgs Drawn 6 (MR84) Danielson – Kirk Swanson
7-y-o g WINDRUSH (USA) x KINDLY KAT (USA) by MACHIAVELLIAN (USA)
A winner of 6 races and placed 17 times from 38 starts. Won twice over Sunday’s trip, early in his career and ran third to Ashton Park in the 2018 Ipi Tombe Stakes when Simona was further back. Certainly in with a good chance.
4 PEGGSON 60 kgs Drawn 7 (MR83) McNaughton – Bridget Stidolph
4-y-o g JAY PEG x PISTOL DAWN by TARA’S HALLS
Has won 4 races and been placed 9 times from 19 starts. A winner at Borrowdale from 1200m to 1800m and distance suited. Beat Amsterdam over 1800m in January but had some weight on his side. Both Peggson and Edward The Seventh are the “youngsters” on Sunday and it will be interesting to see how they cope.
5 EDWARD THE SEVENTH 60 kgs Drawn 5 (MR81) W Marwing – Kirk Swanson
4-y-o g SEVENTH ROCK (AUS) x BEATRIX (ZIM) by KITALPHA (USA)
A five-time winner and placed 6 times in 14 starts. Has won from 1200m to 1600m at Borrowdale. In December he beat Twilight Tear in the 1450m Zimbabwe Challenge, when in receipt of 3 kgs. At three won the 1600m Tote Free Handicap and second to Knuckleball in the Zimbabwe Guineas. Another consistent four-year-old so let’s see.
6 PAMPAS 60 kgs Drawn 8 (MR81) Storey – Bridget Stidolph
6-y-o g SILVANO (GER) x PERU by CANDY STRIPES (USA)
Has won six races and been placed twice in 15 starts. Impressive winner of four of his five starts at Borrowdale, ranging from 1600m to 2200m. Slightly up in class in this one and it will be interesting to see how he compares with Simona. Lightly raced considering his age and very well bred.
7 KEVIN BARRY 60 kgs Drawn 3 (MR72) Munger – Penny Fisher
5-y-o g HORSE CHESTNUT x KEVINS’ GIRL (ZIM) by SOBIESKI (USA)
Has won four races and been placed 8 times from 20 starts. Won the 1600m Tote Free Handicap as a three -year-old but has had some issues. In his last outing finished a length off Philanthropy over 1600m. Kevin Barry was conceding 6.5 kgs and may be returning to form. If this is the case watch out.
8 SIMONA 57.5 kgs Drawn 4 (MR93) C Habib – Bridget Stidolph
5-y-o m GIMMETHEGREENLIGHT (AUS) x GINGER HILL by WESTERN WINTER (USA)
Winner of 9 races and placed 9 times from 24 starts. Her record is outstanding in the best company. Simona is taking on the boys and has the credentials to win this, if any girl can. What more can be said other than “Go for it, Simona”.
The first race at Borrowdale Park on Sunday is due off at 12 35 pm. The Ipi Tombe Stakes at 15 30.