Although not a main feature at Borrowdale Park on Friday, the 2000m Pinnacle Plate 100 is probably the closest we will get to a ‘Tankard’ field in 2020 – with the complication of riders who can claim.

Roosting at the top of the list of runners is relative newcomer Owlinthetree who, along with stable companion Peggson, carries 60 kgs.

The trouble is whenever I see that name, I think of former Borrowdale trainer Collin Nicholson. I recall he had a mini fit one day when an owl settled on his roof. Of course, in the dim days before the dark days, we were very superstitious and longed to kill if someone said ‘Good Luck’ before a race. That doesn’t seem to matter anymore (or so they think).

With that out of the way let’s be serious.

Four stables are represented in this line-up. Bridget Stidolph will saddle Owlinthetree and Peggson; Vee Racing and Tomcat Racing are pinning their hopes on Fareeq and Holy Land respectively, and the Swanson yard is in with Three To Tango, Bugatti Blue, Legend and Arte.

Legend, by Gimmegreenlight (AUS) is having his second start in Harare and is rather a dark horse being a winner over 1400m and 1600m.

Owlinthetree by Dynasty out of a Giant’s Causeway (USA) mare, won two races at Turffontein over 1800m. He has had one start at Borrowdale in the 1600m Graduation Plate on June 3, where he came second to Bam Bam Pebbles.

Without a doubt, Peggson is the super trooper in this line-up. A winner of 7 races from 1200m to 2000m, including the Ipi Tombe Stakes and the Castle Tankard in 2019, and more recently the 2000m Breeders Champions Cup where Friday’s runner Three to Tango was three lengths back receiving 2 kgs. Bugatti Blue ran third.

Peggson’s last outing was on June 3 in the 1600m Independence Trophy won by Holy Land. Pegasus ran fourth with Fareeq and Three To Tango in front of him but this was a tight finish – the first four were within 0.90 lengths. Legend was further back.

In the 2019 Tankard Peggson carried 57 kgs, and lightly weighted Leven Point, Fareeq and Arte filled the minor places. This time Fareeq meets Peggson on tougher terms, but Arte comes in at 50 kgs with a claiming apprentice in the irons. Wow.

Independence Trophy winner, Holy Land, still receives 4 kgs from Peggson, Bugatti Blue has a claiming apprentice on board, and 2019 Zimbabwe Derby Winner, Three To Tango, can’t be ignored.

The only certainty is that Peggson has quite a lot to do. I can’t wait to see the betting.

The first race on Friday is off at 12.25. The Zimbabwe Derby is due off at 15.05, and the Pinnacle Plate 100 at 15.40. No spectators allowed on the course but you can watch on DSTV Channel 239.

Photograph by Zimbabwe Equine News

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