Alistair McNaughton (aka Ali or Mr Mac) passed away in Harare on Thursday after an illness bravely borne, and our thoughts are with his sons, Brendan and Marc, at this very sad time.
Ali trained at Borrowdale Park for many years and then became involved with other things – at the start – with the apprentices. – and so much more. Always kind, helpful and a true gentleman, he will be missed by all who knew him.
Sad to say, the next Borrowdale Park race meeting has been cancelled.
The Mashonaland Turf Club has advised: “The meeting scheduled for Wednesday, 5th of April, 2023, had 2 races folding on Monday at the Nominations stage and we reopened under the same conditions and all trainers were called upon for additional horses to allow each race to hold. Each trainer advised the racing centre that they did not have any further horses to add to the meeting.
We therefore have only one option in accordance with our local conditions which is in regard to Rule 3F – ABANDONMENT OF A RACE : The racing operator reserves the right to cancel any race meeting should 6 races not stand after reopening each race on the same conditions.
As a result, this race meeting did not hold and we have no option but to cancel the meeting for WEDNESDAY 05 APRIL 2023.
Wantage won the 2023 Breeders Champions Cup run over 2000m at Borrowdale Park on Friday, 24 March.
This is the second time the son of Ato has triumphed in this race – he also won in 2021. The six-year-old was ridden by Wesley Marwing and is trained by Bridget Stidolph. The winning owners are Messrs RS Dyer, SN Buchan, N Evans, MK Chant, G de Jong, A Dixon, R Morgan, R Sherwood and Bryn Ressell. Wantage was bred by Newbury Racing & Breeding Ltd.
The 2000m Breeders Champions Cup (L) is the feature at Borrowdale Park on Friday (24th March 2023), and It would be difficult to find a more competitive field.
It includes last year’s winner, Lily Blue; the 2022 Castle Tankard winner True Beauty; Only Him, a close second to True Beauty in the Tankard; Bugatti Blue, the most recent winner of the 1900m Republic Cup, and Wantage, thereabouts often, and winner of the 2021 Breeders Champions Cup.
All are distance-suited and finished behind True Beauty in the 2022 Castle Tankard. However, a turnover in some of the weights must be considered, and Lily Blue, at her best, could be a danger.
And then there is Masaaken…
This five-year-old daughter of Teofilo (IRE) won 5 races from 2000m to 2850m in Gauteng and has had 6 starts at Borrowdale for 3 wins over 1700m, 2000m and 2700m. Masaaken ran third to Bugatti Blue in the 1900m Republic Cup in July – finishing 3 lengths back when receiving 5 kgs. Lily Blue, giving away 8 kgs, was just behind her, while Wantage and Only Him were further back. Lily Blue carries 57.5 to Masaaken’s 55.5 kgs here, so the relative newcomer looks well held, on paper, providing Lily Blue is in a racing mood.
I can’t help wondering if Masaaken is the one for Friday. She has won three of her last four starts, impressively, and although she was unplaced in the 1600m Fillies Stakes won by True Beauty in December, she undoubtedly prefers a longer trip.
Masaaken is trained by Debra Swanson, who will also saddle Bugatti Blue. In form Rodgers Satombo rides.
The 2023 Breeders Champions Cup is due off at 15.25 pm and the first race at 12.30.
Photographs by Jenny Stock and Laurent Viguie. ABOVE: Only Him, Bugatti Blue and Wantage. BELOW: True Beauty, Lily Blue and Masaaken.
Perhaps it was only a two-horse race, but what a finish. Stable companions Jacky Sparrow and Down To Business went head to head in the Zimbabwe Guineas (Gr3) at Borrowdale Park on Saturday – and the Jackson filly, Jacky Sparrow, won by 0.10 lengths. Both horses are owned by Messrs G M Littleford ,S H Murray & P C Rugg.
The Guineas winner is trained by Debra Swanson and Rodgers Satombo was riding, During the afternoon Debra saddled two other winners – Red Top (Satombo) and Dindingwe (Takawira). Rodgers also scored on Jubilee and Love The View for Thomas Mason’s yard.
This site was out of action for a month – for reasons still unknown – but racing went on at Borrowdale Park.
The 1450m Zimbabwe Challenge was won by veteran crowd pleaser What A Dandy on February 11, but his next outing on February 23 in the Ipi Tombe Stakes (L) did not turn out well, as he collapsed during the race, giving trainer Debra Swanson a “terrible fright”. Fortunately What A Dandy and jockey Norbert Takawira survived this incident but What A Dandy is unlikely to race again, and the 8-year-old retires having won 17 races.
The 2023 Ipi Tombe Stakes was won by Holy Land, trained by Vanessa Birketoft and Hennie Greyling was riding. Wantage ran a close second. Holy Land is owned by Messrs R S Dyer, S N Buchan, N Evans, M K Chant, G de Jong, A Dixon, R Morgan, R S Sherwood & Bryn Ressel.
This was also a memorable day for Tomcat Racing. From only four runners Thomas Mason saddled three winners – Battle Of Seattle, Testify and Prince Of Kimberly.
On March 9 the Borrowdale Park community was shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of John Koumides. “JK” was an ardent supporter of Borrowdale Park for many years. He owned What A Dandy and many other champions, and Borrowdale will not be quite the same without him.
There are eight acceptors for Borrowdale Park’s feature, the Zimbabwe Challenge over 1450m, and as several took part in a similar race on July 31, that could have some bearing on Saturday.
What A Dandy carrying 60 kgs won the Breeders Sprint at the end of July. Holy Land, also on 60 kgs, ran third, 2.60 lengths back; then came True Beauty (57.5 kgs) and 2.65 lengths behind the winner. Mr Greenlight (60 kgs) was further back that day but meets What A Dandy on better terms this time.
Only Him, Lily Blue, Three To Tango and Brianna also take part on Saturday and are quite capable of spoiling the most fancied runners’ fun. However. the important factor is probably the going.
It was heavy at the last Borrowdale meeting and the rain hasn’t stopped. However, with a bit of luck, it could be yielding rather than heavy underfoot – so I still think What A Dandy may do it again, even carrying 62 kgs..
Photographs by Gavin Macleod, Jenny Stock and Laurent Viguie. Top Left: MR GREENLIGHT. Below Right: TRUE BEAUTY.