Zimbabwe’s major sprint, the Gold Cup (GR3), will take place over 1200m on Saturday 15th December – and, sadly, HRIB is no longer the sponsor of this event after supporting Borrowdale Park, so well, for so many years.

However – onwards and upwards – the runners won’t know that, and it should be a good race.

The size of a field doesn’t matter if there are a couple of good horses prepared to take each other on. At Borrowdale Park last Saturday, we saw Coachella and Fareeq give it their all in the 1100m MR 100 Handicap.

This was quite an interesting field in view of the approaching Gold Cup – and a learning curve for me as before the race I didn’t believe Fareeq had a hope in hell over that distance. If you look back Fareeq has hardly ever run in a sprint but has distinguished himself regularly over more ground.

Coachella was carrying top weight of 61.5 kgs but has done that previously and won. In 2017 Coachella won the HRIB Gold Cup carrying 61kgs. In 2018 the race was won by Saturday’s runner Twilight Trip (unplaced), Coachella, carrying 63 kgs was third, and Butchie Boy (third last Saturday) was fourth in the 2018 Gold Cup.

All that is history but if Fareeq is among the 2019 Gold Cup nominations I won’t dismiss him quite so easily. The extra 100m might suit him better. In addition, I doubt whether Coachella and Fareeq would go head to head quite so soon if they were to meet again in the big one.

Coachella proved his supremacy in this last outing. Fareeq put up a good fight but Coachella drew clear when it counted and won by two lengths. Fareeq was receiving 7kgs.

Bred by Professor I M Sanne and owned by John Koumides, Coachella has now won 9 races. He is trained by Bridget Stidolph and Keanen Steyn piloted the six-year-old son of Alado (GB).

Photograph by Gavin Macleod.

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