How’s that for a positive headline?

The Weights & Draws for a race meeting at Borrowdale Park on Friday, 24 April, are out but we have been here before – for a meeting on April 3 – and got no further.

So far attempts to get some encouraging comments from the Mashonaland Turf Club have failed but hopefully we will race – we need to – but can probably assume it won’t be owner -friendly.  On March 27 owners had to watch their horses perform from home. 

However, there is something to be said for TV in isolation.  No need to be a good sport because cats and dogs don’t mind if you start chewing the carpet – and if you win, they will join in an uninhibited victory dance, without deciding you are insane.

Borrowdale is not alone in this on again, off again, situation as race meetings worldwide are few and far between, which is good reason to hope this meeting will go ahead.

The good news is that training locally has not been overly affected.  It has been business as usual without breaking any lockdown rules.

Thomas Mason of Tomcat Racing (above) reports the horses have enjoyed extended spells in the paddock, and he and his grooms have never washed their hands as much as they do now – it has become part of their daily routine.

In addition, Tom says, “The lockdown has given us a chance to get to know our two new recruits, Holy Land and Leicester Square.

“As it stands, we will be giving Holy Land his first outing for the yard on Friday 24th April. Leicester Square is still some time off but is progressing nicely.

“On both sides of the Limpopo I am sure we are all eager to get racing back on track and let’s hope Borrowdale Racing is the first step.”

I have previously referred to Debra Swanson (above), Assistant Trainer, as the Swanson stable’s secret weapon – this girl can ride! She told me it had been “pretty much business as usual, with a few more challenges regarding bedding and farriers, but we made a plan.

“The MTC management and staff have worked hard to keep our track facilities in working order, and diligently produced necessary paperwork to keep us on the correct side of the law with regard to traveling into work.

“The horses are fresh and enjoying the cool early mornings. Some are enjoying the ramifications of lockdown and getting some fun time in the paddock. Explosions of dust and hooves in the air are a common sight as they expel excess energy. 

“Staff have been kitted with sanitiser, gloves and masks. All safety precautions are in place and we pray we can keep our little racing bubble safe. Obviously, we would all love to get back to the normalities of life and racing which we have taken for granted – but we respect decisions made on behalf of the safety of the country.”

So, all going well, we can look forward to a race meeting at Borrowdale Park next week, featuring the Independence Trophy.

Hold thumbs!

Photographs by Andrew Philip


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