The RTGS 150 000 Republic Cup (Gr3) will be run at Borrowdale Park over 1900m on Saturday and what a line-up.
With the exception of Penny From Heaven and Tandava (back from his sojourn in RSA), the other 13 runners took part in at least one of the recent two big features – the 2000m Castle Tankard (Gr1) and the 1800m OK Grand Challenge (Gr2).
Peggson, winner of the 2019 Tankard, teams up again with Brendon McNaughton, and Simona, who won the OK Grand Challenge in 2018 and 2019, will be piloted by Bernard Fayd’Herbe.
The visiting jockeys this week are particularly interesting, and I hope Borrowdale Park will rise above the current problems besetting Zimbabwe. We like to impress those who have not been here before.
Apprentice Ashton Arries has the ride on Amsterdam, while Keagan de Melo once again rides Heir Line, winner of the Republic Cup last year. Corne Orffer will be on 2019 Zimbabwe Derby winner Three To Tango, and Greg Cheyne rides Arte. Jarryd Penny retains the ride on Verdier (third in the OK) as does Hennie Greyling on Fareeq (second in the OK).
Serino Moodley will be back at Borrowdale on In The Mood; Deon Sampson rides Tandava, Wes Marwing Penny From Heaven, Sihle Cele is on Bush Pilot, and Oswald Noach on Wolves Among Sheep.
Morgan Nyamagwete (Leven Point), along with Brendon McNaughton, flies the flag for Zimbabwe.
With half the field carrying less than 53 kgs I am not sticking my neck out here… so what’s new?
Simona is set to carry 60 kgs, Peggson 59, Amsterdam 57, Heir Line 56, Tandava 55.5, Three To Tango 54, and Fareeq 53.
All things being equal (I mean if I had electricity and could go online to check on a few things) I would rabbit on about the turnaround in weights, previous runs and so forth. However, big races being what they are the lack of information may not matter.
For sentimental reasons, many people will be rooting for top-weighted Simona on Saturday. This may be the five-year-old mare’s last appearance at Borrowdale Park.
The daughter of Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) out of a Western Winter (USA) mare, has won 10 and been placed 11 times from 28 starts. She certainly has broodmare potential, but Zimbabweans will be sad to see her go.
The three stables involved in this Republic Cup all field runners with some claims to fame. Bridget Stidolph
will saddle Simona, Peggson, Roman Discent (the 2018 Tankard winner), Leven Point, Bush Pilot and Wolves Among Sheep.
Fareeq (AUS), Verdier and Tandava will represent Penny Fisher’s yard.
On paper Kirk Swanson also has a fairly strong hand with Heir Line, Three To Tango, Arte, Amsterdam, In The Mood and Penny From Heaven.
At this stage, it’s all in the lap of the gods. May the best horse, on the day, win and all the runners return safely.
And, if you are listening, gods, make sure ZESA comes to the party.