AT LAST – A REAL DEAL CLASSIC

The 2020 Zimbabwe Guineas (Gr3) – first leg of the Triple Crown – is the feature at Borrowdale Park on Sunday and is due off at 16 15.

Bridget Stidolph will saddle Wantage, Lily Blue and Prescott and I suspect that in the build-up to this race most speculation will be about the star filly, Lily Blue.

On form the daughter of Black Minnaloushe (USA) is the one they must beat.

In this important three-year-old Classic colts and geldings carry 58 kgs and the two fillies 55.5 kgs.

Kirk Swanson’s trio will have supporters, while the Gokhan Terzi yard is represented by two fairly dark horses – Gladstone and Fire To The Rein.

Don’t miss what is likely to be the most exciting race at Borrowdale Park for some time. There are 8 races on the card and the first is due off at 12 50.

Let’s go through the field:

1 (7) WANTAGE 58 kgs (MR81) – K Steyn – B Stidolph
(R:10 W:3 P:6) Ato – Angora by Tamburlaine (IRE)

Winner of the Tote Free Handicap and the Guineas Trial – both races over 1600m. He received 4.5 kgs from Tree Of Wisdom in the Tote Free, but gave weight to Tree Of Wisdom and Donegal Glen in the Guineas Trial. Can Wantage conquer stable companion Lily Blue? The filly had the upper hand in the 1200m Champion Juveniles Stakes in July. I am sure he is going to try.

2 (2) GLADSTONE 58 kgs (MR73) – D Sampson – G Terzi
(R:10 W:1 P:2) Pathfork (USA) – Lupin (AUS) by Royal Academy (USA)

Well fancied when winning his only start at Borrowdale Park on February 19. This was a 1200m Maiden Plate where Gladstone beat first-timer Globe Master by 1.25 lengths. It might have been different had Globe Master not lost two lengths at the start – and his saddle slipped during the running. It is impossible to judge Gladstone on such limited local form – he previously raced in RSA.

3 (6) TREE OF WISDOM 58 kgs (MR71) – N Takawira – K Swanson
(R:10 W:1 P:4) Soft Falling Rain – Minerva by Western Winter (USA)

Had five starts in the Cape and has won and been placed in five starts at Borrowdale. He beat subsequent winner Moxie in a 1600m Maiden on October 20 but since then has finished over the mile behind Sunday’s runners Wantage, Zambezi Rapids and Prescott. I like his breeding so not keen to dismiss him yet.

4 (3) DONEGAL GLEN 58 kgs (MR69) K Derere – K Swanson
(R:3 W:1 P:2) Biarritz – Yakety Yak by Silvino (USA)

Probably has to improve to beat Wantage, Tree Of Wisdom and Lily Blue over the Guineas trip but being lightly raced he might do so. Donegal Glen won a 1600m Maiden in soft going in December.

5 (8) ZAMBEZI RAPIDS 58 kgs (MR69) – D Habib – K Swanson
(R:3 W:2 P:1) Dynasty – Cool River by Western Winter (USA)

Has won his last two starts and could be the pick of the Swanson runners. At the last meeting Tree Of Wisdom was behind Zambezi Rapids in a 1600m Novice Plate. Has yet to meet Wantage and Lily Blue and this will be interesting.

6 (1) FIRE TO THE REIN 58 kgs (MR66) – Greyling – Terzi
(R:8 W:1 P:3) Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) – Dropdeadbeautiful by Spectrum (IRE)

This son of Gimmethegreenlight won his only start at Borrowdale on February 2 beating Tequila Man at level weights by a whisker. This was in a1260m Maiden Plate, but he raced up to 1800m in South Africa. Expect improvement but your guess is as good as mine.

7 (4) LILY BLUE 55.5 kgs (MR89) – M Thackeray – B Stidolph
(R:11 W:5 P:4) Black Minnaloushe (USA) – Mammy Blue (ZIM) by Kitalpha (USA)

In her last three starts Lily Blue has won the Breeders Fillies Mile (L), the 1800m ZNA Charity Champion Fillies Stakes and the 1600m Fillies Classic, the first leg of the Triple Tiara. She takes on the boys here but has the credentials to do so. I am impressed that her connections have accepted the challenge and wish her well. Lily Blue in the line-up makes this a special race.

8 (5) PRESCOTT 55.5 kgs (MR69) – B McNaughton – B Stidolph
(R:9 W:1 P:7) Ato – Taylinlee by Brave Tin Soldier (USA)

Prescott looks well held by her stable companion Lily Blue but this daughter of Ato is a consistent sort. She has finished in the money in 8 of her 9 starts, and you never can tell.

Photographs by Jenny Stock of Zimbabwe Equine News

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