Even in its heyday, Borrowdale Park could not quite compare with Epsom and Churchill Downs, but so many who cut their racing teeth in Zimbabwe have moved on to other racing centres, worldwide, and succeeded.
I would be surprised if any other local ‘industry’ has exported a comparable number of trailblazers. For the record – and I know before I start that there will be errors and omissions – let’s mention some of them.
Currently, the stars of this show probably are Owen Heffer of HollywoodBets; Brian Finch, the recently appointed chairman of Epsom Downs; James Frank, winner of a Godolphin Award a couple of years back, and still employed on a stud in England, and Daniel Muscutt, busy booting home winners overseas, while his father, Peter, is saddling them in South Africa.
Nico Kritsiotis has also made his mark – initially as a commentator, and latterly with ClockingTheGallop on U-Tube.
With the help of some friends, I have been compiling lists – and losing them. I can’t keep on dithering so will put out what I have – hoping that when posted on Facebook readers will come to the party with updates and corrections.
For many South Africa was the obvious choice when deciding to move on, and former ZImbos have done well. Among the trainers are Paul Matchett, Roy Magner, Ashley Fortune, Stuart Pettigrew, Clint Binda, Brett Crawford, Peter Muscutt, Alyson and Kevin Wright, and Ivan and Darryl Moore. Sadly Neil Bruss, Colin Lee, George Uren and Ronnie Sheehan have passed on.
Sharon Patterson of Bayshore Barn has swelled the spelling ranks, while her son, Sean, assists Stidolph Racing at the Vaal.
And…we must not forget Michael J Clements Racing Stables in Singapore!
Geoff Armitage, formerly of Trelawney Stud in Zimbabwe, established Sandown Stud down south, with his son, James; Robin Bruss needs no introduction to anyone in South African breeding, and Annie Woodham, now deceased, also had a role here. Craig Carey is with Ridgemont Highlands, and Amanda Carey recently joined Maine Chance Farms. I am almost sure to be called on some omissions in this category.
The NHRA has also been invaded – starting at the top. Arnold Hyde, Racing Control Executive, hails from Gweru and comes from solid Rhodesian/Zimbabwean stock; former Zimbabwean jockey, Robert Moore, is Senior Academy Riding Master, and Martin Ball, previously a Borrowdale Park Stipendiary Steward, is also a South African Jockey Academy Riding Master.
Other members of the NHA Staff with Zimbabwean connections are Hazel Kayiya, Stud Book Manager (from Bulawayo), and Shan Rowe, who is the Central Provinces Inquiry Reporter, and she comes from Harare. Peter Patterson, who passed on recently, will be remembered as a Stipendiary Steward both in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Former jockeys are hard to keep track of. Taps Manxusw and Michael Mangwendeza are still in racing, but maybe not riding, while I understand Rogan Norval won a Gr1 in New Zealand as a jockey, but is training now. Brendon Fitzgerald is training in Australia, Reid Paterson, Gary and Russell Waterston, and Mark du Plessis are alive and kicking. Craig Wonnacott is far away and into Fine Art. Indeed, we are due for some updates here.
Some of you will remember Basil Thomas and Gary Lottering, both formerly part of Borrowdale Park’s administration team. Basil took control at Clairwood in KZN, and Gary is working hard in Tasmania, I hear.
Last, but certainly not least, are the handicappers – Michael Wanklin, Ryan Skelton, Alistair Pulford and Matthew Lipman. Ryan was the handicapper in Qatar for several years but is now handicapping in the United Kingdom. Matthew (better known as ‘Lips’) is in South Africa, and Mike Wanklin is doing great things as the Dubai Racing Club’s racing advisor, having worked all around the world to get there. Alistair Pulford left Zimbabwe, aged 21, and went to Australia. In due course, he became Darley’s Head Of Sales.
This is a very interesting quartet – and I hope to follow up with in-depth coverage of their exploits later.
In the meantime, thank you to everyone who helped with the lists – apologies to everyone who should have been included – and thanks, in anticipation, to those who are going to help put this record straight.
This will also be published on Facebook – on the group page LoveRacingZimbabwe.