Everyone who is anyone should know by now that Sygone, owned by Newbury Racing (Pty) Ltd (nom: Mr D E Evans), and trained by Bridget Stidolph, faces the test of his lifetime at Borrowdale Park on Sunday – in the 2400m Zimbabwe Derby (Gr3).
If he wins, he will have earned the 2019 Zimbabwe Triple Crown, and we have not had a Triple Crown winner since 2012.
By Ato, Sygone has come into his own in two major three-year-old Classics, winning both impressively. Action Jackson chased him home in the 1600m Zimbabwe Guineas – winning margin 3.50 lengths. The son of Jackson came closer in the 2000m Zimbabwe 2000, finishing three-quarters of a length behind.
To be honest I expect this pair to make a race of it again, but this is the Derby – unknown territory for all the contenders. There are so many unanswered questions at this stage. Who will set the pace over the gruelling 2400m trip? Will anyone?
Except for the well-performed filly, Mia Finola, the rest of the Derby runners – Three To Tango, Rain Spider and Crown Brewed – took part and were well beaten in the Zimbabwe 2000, but are bred to do better.
Jackie Cocksedge provided an extensive pedigree analysis for the Zimbabwe 2000, and this can be found at https://zimracing.wordpress.com/…/zimbabwe-2000-runners-in…/
In all the Classics colts and geldings carry 58 kgs, and fillies 55.5 kgs. Mia Finola, by Var (USA) and out of a Wolfhound (USA) mare, has won 5 races from 900m to 1600m, including the 1600m Fillies Classic. She ran second to Simona in the 1800m Champion Fillies Stakes in November when receiving 10 kgs and beaten by 4 lengths. In the Zimbabwe Guineas Mia Finola was third to Sygone, receiving 2.5 kgs and 5 lengths back.
How she will fare over 2400m remains a mystery, but I am prepared to be surprised. My grandfather maintained that well-bred (and for that read well mannered) colts and geldings often let a good filly or mare win.
We shall see!
With help from many people, we have been taking a stroll down memory lane, reviewing past Triple Crown triumphs, and are not quite done yet.
I hope this has inspired Harare racing fans to turn out on Sunday and make the 2019 Derby memorable. It will be an exciting race and may the best horse win.
The first race at Borrowdale Park on Sunday is due off at 12.35 pm, and the Zimbabwe Derby – third leg of the Triple Crown – at 15.30.
Photograph by Gavin Macleod: The finish of the 2019 Zimbabwe 2000. Sygone holding off a late challenge from Action Jackson.