The six three-year-olds nominated to run in Sunday’s 2400m Zimbabwe Derby have all stood their ground so it’s all system’s go for Sygone. The son of ATO has already won the first two legs of Zimbabwe’s Triple Crown.

C John Smith has been associated with two Zimbabwe Triple Crown winners – and he sends his thoughts and good wishes from Yorkshire:

“For the reasons most people know, I believe the Derby is the pinnacle of racing excellence. It takes a proper horse, an experienced and skilled trainer and a gifted and talented jockey to pull off a Derby win.

“I have been racing for over 40 years and through all that time, my mission has been to buy horses to win this Classic race. On four occasions I have been lucky enough to be associated with a winner – starting with The Toff in 1980 – in Centaur Syndicate colours, then came Glen Monarch in 2006 – also in Centaur colours.

“A year later it was the turn of Earl of Surrey in my own colours and then in 2017 Solinski came in for the Dixie Chicks and me.

“I can’t say one winner was any more exciting or satisfying than another – each was very special indeed – but on two occasions the wins also sealed the Triple Crown – Glen and The Earl.

“The Triple Crown adds a further dimension to any racing CV – there will always be a Derby winner each year but trying to win over 8, 10 and then 12 furlongs with one three-year-old takes a bit of doing.

“Perhaps my wins were not as difficult as would have been the case in the early 80s – but I take great pride in the Earl because he was a sprinter miler – 2400m was way beyond his compass really – but his success is down to Lisa (for President!) Harris and the great sense of pace shown by Dewi Williams. He knew precisely how much pedal to use, and when, in order to get his mount that far and win.

“And how do I take Lisa’s quip at the time? “The Earl is very far from good looking, he has a funny way of standing and a strange way of walking, he is arrogant, full of sh*t but he is highly talented —- mmm a lot like you cj !”

“Sygone has a chance to pull off a special feat in this year’s Derby and Triple Crown decider – and for me it would be entirely appropriate if he did.

“Gael and Dennis Evans have been very great supporters of Zim racing in recent years – they deserve to win it – and there are no finer exemplars of racehorse owners to be found.

“I will be shouting Sygone home from Yorkshire!”

Photograph – Earl Of Surrey – Zimbabwe Triple Crown Winner in 2007.

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