BORROWDALE Park’s biggest and best sprint will be run over 1200m on Saturday, and well done MTC for obtaining a sponsor for this historic event in these difficult times.
The Swift Gold Cup Sprint (Gr3) is due off at 16 40 pm and eight runners, including previous winner Coachella, and recent record-breaker, Captain Of Tortuga, are in the line-up. Finding the winner will not be easy – which usually guarantees a great race.
This is my take on Saturday’s field – but it will be worth doing your own homework here.
1 Drawn 3 COACHELLA 60.5 (MR103) J Penny – Bridget Stidolph
8g by Alado (GB) – Festive Event by Camden Park (USA) – 10 wins
Top sprinter who won this race in 2017, carrying 61 kgs, and was placed third in 2018 and 2019 carrying 63 kgs. Unplaced last year (62kgs) but has since won twice over 1100m, beating What A Dandy (receiving 10 kgs) and Armstrong (receiving 7 kgs). On Saturday Coachella is set to carry 60.5 kgs. He could win but this is a tough field. A must, however, for Trifectas and Quartets.
2 Drawn 1 CAPTAIN OF TORTUGA 58.0 (MR98) F Herholdt – Bridget Stidolph
6g by Captain Al – Ebony Flyer by Jet Master – 5 wins
An interesting runner who won four in Gauteng and KZN over 1400m and 1600m. Won his only start at Borrowdale on November 6 and broke the Class Record while he was about it. This was a 1200m Pinnacle Plate 105. Captain Of Tortuga carried 60kgs and What A Dandy (60), Fareeq (58), Coachella (62), Armstrong (58) and Love To Bluff (60) were behind him. That day the winner had the outside draw – and there is a turnaround in weights.
3 Drawn 4 LOVE TO BLUFF 57.5 (MR97) T Gould – Bridget Stidolph
5g by Judpot (USA) – Casa Nostra by Strike Smartly (CAN) – 8 wins
Sprinting is his game and Love To Bluff is the baby in this race. He has, with weight on his side, finished ahead of some of these big boys before and perhaps he is well named. Love to Bluff has won three of his last five starts and when he hasn’t won he has not been placed, so I am not sure what to expect here. That said, should he collect the honours, I won’t be shocked.
4 Drawn 7 MR GREENLIGHT 57.0 (MR96) K Derere – Vanessa Birketoft
6g by Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) – Rakara by Rakeen (USA) – 7 wins
Five of Mr Greenlight’s victories have been over a mile but on February 24 he vanquished What A Dandy by 8 lengths over 1260m when giving away 0.5 kgs. That day the going was soft and Saturday’s runners, Fareeq and Coachella, were further back. Since then, the gelding has had five outings over more ground and has come second over 1600m, 2000m and 1700m. I will be surprised if he lights up this one.
5 Drawn 5 WHAT A DANDY 57.0 (MR96) Wes Marwing – Debra Swanson
7g by Just As Well (USA) – Leba (IRE) by King’s Best (USA) – 12 wins
What A Dandy has won from 1000m to 1800m and is an honest, versatile sort. He won the 1100m Hachiman Sprint in January, and more often than not What A Dandy finishes in the money. He should do well. In his last outing he was a close second to Captain of Tortuga at level weights which was encouraging.
6 Drawn 6 FAREEQ (AUS) 55.0 (MR92) B Nyawo – Vanessa Birketoft
9g by Nadeem (AUS) – Azwa (AUS) by Haafhd (IRE) – 6 wins
As a rule, I don’t do well predicting what Fareeq will do. In 2019 he was placed in the 2000m Castle Tankard, the 1800m OK Grand Challenge and the 1900m Republic Cup, and since then he has won over 1800m, 1260m and 1450m. Jack English was racing editor at the Rhodesia Herald for about 40 years, and he maintained that one only had to look at a horse’s last four starts and if he hadn’t done anything “Forget It”. Using that yardstick, one cannot forget Fareeq. On the 5th June he was fourth to Finchatton in the OK Grand Challenge. On 23rd June, fourth to Love To Bluff over 1000m. He won the 1100m Peter Cawood Memorial Stakes on October 24, and at the meeting on November 6, Fareeq finished 1.25 lengths off Captain of Tortuga when receiving 2 kgs. He will be I kg better off on Saturday.
7 Drawn 8 ARMSTRONG 54.5 (MR91) *W Shumba (4.0) – Vanessa Birketoft
6g by Var (USA) – Walkingonthemoon (AUS) by Galileo (IRE) – 6 wins
Armstrong has won from 1200m to 1700m and although he may not seem the most likely candidate on paper, I think he ticks several boxes. Since Coachella won the Gold Cup in 2017, the lighter weights have won. Armstrong is set to carry 54.5 kgs but will have claiming apprentice Walter Shumba on board. The son of Var is drawn on the outside rail which is always a plus up the straight at Borrowdale – in my opinion. He was a close second to Holy Land over 1450m at the last Borrowdale meeting so should be racing fit.
8 Drawn 2 EDWARD THE SEVENTH 53.5 (MR89) …………… Gokhan Terzi
7g by Seventh Rock (AUS) – Beatrix (ZIM) by Kitalpha (USA) – 8 wins
Edward The Seventh can win from 1200 – 1600m and carry more than 53.5 kgs. At the time of writing, no jockey has been declared, He won a 1450m MR 85 Handicap on October 24, carrying 60.5 kgs, and finished 2.5 lengths off Holy Land on November 21. Has the same things going for him as Armstrong – except for the draw.
Pics by Jenny Stock, Gavin MacLeod and Andrew Philip.