First Race At 12 30 Today

COVID-19 protocols apply so racing at Borrowdale Park is still strictly behind closed doors.

The SandSport Livestream from Borrowdale Park will be on ClockingThe Gallop on UTube, with a link on this site. In addition, the Borrowdale races will be on DSTV Tellytrack Channel 249.

The online racecard, tips, card changes etc are available here.

Photograph by Gavin Macleod

A Tougher Test For True Beauty

The 1600m Guineas Trial at Borrowdale Park this Sunday should provide an interesting clash between stable companions True Beauty and Magnus Maximus.

I have said this before – and cannot resist saying it again – but the Guineas Trial is no more a trial for the Zimbabwe Guineas (with set weights) than the 1600m Tote Free Handicap. If one looks back over the years the fancied topweights often feature in the Guineas Trial, but there have also been upsets. For instance, in 2019 Opaque (52 kgs and starting at 44/1), beat Action Jackson (59 kgs) by a length.  

However, last year the race was won by Wantage (60kgs) who finished 3 lengths clear of Tree Of Wisdom (57.5 kgs).

True Beauty looks the horse to beat, having won both the 1200m Jacaranda Free and the 1600m Tote Free Handicaps, and finished second to Dindingwe in the Breeders Fillies Mile. Norbert Takawira rides and True Beauty will carry 59.5 kgs.  

With claiming Apprentice Rodgers Satombo in the irons, Magnus Maximus will receive 2 kgs from True Beauty on Sunday.  *Satombo rode True Beauty in the Tote Free, and she received 2kgs from Magnus Maximus then.

Magnus Maximus has won 2 out of 4 starts, beating Veseo and Mazikeen over 1200m. His last outing was in the 1600m Tote Free Handicap won by True Beauty in soft going. That day Sunday’s runners, Mazikeen, Suave Judge and Obscure finished in front of Magnus Maximus who was 20 lengths off the winner. No explanation in the Stipes Report but let’s assume that was too bad to be true.

Of course, its not all about the Swanson pair, True Beauty and Magnus Maximus. The remaining runners, all with weight on their side, will be waiting in the wings. Suave Judge received 4 kgs from True Beauty in the Tote Free and will now receive 2kgs; Mazikeen is 2 kgs better off, and Obscure, with claiming Apprentice Walter Shumba aboard, meets True Beauty 3.5 kgs to the good.

Obviously, this will be a tougher test for True Beauty, but I’m hoping she will shine.

Photograph Zimbabwe Equine News: True Beauty and Norbert Takawira team up in the Guineas Trial.

No Catching What A Dandy

What A Dandy, owned by John Koumides, made light work of the 1100m Hachiman Sprint at Borrowdale Park this afternoon.

The six-year-old Just As Well (USA) gelding, donned blinkers for his return to sprinting and made every post a winning one. Apprentice Rodgers Satombo was in the irons and What A Dandy is from the Swanson stable.  He was bred by Barton Hall Stud and has now won 11 and been placed 22 times from 40 starts.

Minor placings went to Gladstone, Golden Lion and Verdier.

Congratulations to all the winning connections.

Photograph by Gavin Macleod

Good Wishes For Happy Racing In 2021

The Hachiman Sprint will be run over 1100m at Borrowdale Park on Sunday – the first race meeting in Zimbabwe in 2021.

All things being equal – but they are not – any one of the six runners could, on their day, win. The field includes two-time Gold Cup winner, Verdier, and Christofle who won the Hachiman Sprint in 2019.  Gladstone, a whisker behind Verdier in the 1200m Gold Cup on December 11, is also there, along with What A Dandy (placed in the Hachiman before), Love To Bluff and Golden Lion – who likes to surprise from time to time.

The answer might lie in the going and who can tell what that will be on Sunday?  On December 20 it was soft underfoot, penetrometer reading 29, but since then the course has had a chance to recover. However, this week Zimbabwe had been rife with flood warnings, but nothing has materialised in Harare, so far.

The first race on Sunday is at 12 15 and the Hachiman Sprint is due off at 15 55. The Borrowdale Tipsters have been asked to submit their predictions by this afternoon (Thursday) which is quite cruel in view of the uncertainty about the rain – but one must get the serious stuff out of the way early on New Year’s Eve.

The two races prior to the Hachiman are also rather mind-boggling, but once punters have recovered from their hangovers on Saturday, they will be better placed to make their selections with the help of the online Borrowdale card.

I hope every Borrowdale Park supporter enjoys the New Year celebrations and wish you all a happy and prosperous 2021.  We always know next year will be better – don’t we?  


Dreaming Of Imagined Opulence

Did you notice that this year the lead up to Christmas was somewhat muted – although I am sure it all came right on the day.

Possibly, in Zimbabwe, this was partly due to soaring prices because, for mean-spirited people like me, it is hard to feel festive when simple shopping leads to traumatic shock.

The next hurdle is New Year’s Eve when we are meant to be optimistic and brimming over with good cheer. Zimbos all know next year will be better – and in this case it better be – but I have found out how to be wildly happy, instantly, and bursting with plans for 2021.

The answer lies in imagined opulence. Take a few moments to imagine money is no object and it is amazing how quickly one adapts to this lovely idea. Then decide what you want to happen next year – after you have spread some of your boundless wealth around, buying horses and looking after the less fortunate, of course.

Personally, I want my old stamping ground back – the Ipi Tombe Room at Borrowdale Park with its easy access to the important parts of the racecourse. I miss that relaxed atmosphere with down to earth racing people, who get their kicks out of winning the odd quartet.

And before you say that is not going to happen remember money is no object so I can do what I like.

I have not checked up on what is left in the Ipi Tombe Room for several months. The devastation is too depressing and talked about plans never come to anything. Perhaps someone has leased these premises but so what. With my unlimited funds I can buy the lease, if any; buy tables and chairs, get tablecloths; refurbish the kitchen, stock the bar, replace everything that was summarily sent “upstairs”, order flowers, lavishly, and hire a with-it manager who will keep it clean, engage necessary staff and keep us supplied with delicious snacks.

We could be up and running in a couple of weeks, with all the help that would be forthcoming from other people who also miss the good old days in the Ipi Tombe Room. And there will be a grand re-opening, of course, when former Ipi Tombe patrons will be invited to fill a table with invited guests – drinks and snacks on the house.

Having got that off my chest I feel much better. This sense of empowerment will last several hours, at least – but back to earth and basics.

Racecourses need people, as well as owners, and worldwide the trend is aimed at attracting racegoers. Unfortunately, no-one is going to come racing if there is nowhere to have a drink and chat in between races and meet up with other people.

All credit to those who have kept Zimbabwe racing going during difficult times. However, COVID will not last forever and, hopefully, the powers that be will, in 2021, give some thought to improving the facilities on offer so that new, and former, racing fans come on to the course.

Merry Christmas…

2020 has been memorable for unfortunate reasons but THE CENTAURIAN SAYS there have been achievements“So, there you have it – bucket loads of crap heaped on us all for much of the year – but, despite the challenges, Zimbabwe and its racing community have achieved much.” Read all about it on this site – The Centaurian Takes Aim

BELOW: Photograph by Scott Buchan – last look at Borrowdale Park in 2020.

Borrowdale Racing Today

The first race at Borrowdale Park today, Sunday, December 20, 2020, is off at 11 35.

COVID-19 protocols apply so racing is still behind closed doors.

The SandSport Livestream from Borrowdale will be on ClockingThe Gallop on UTube, with a link on this site..

In addition, the Borrowdale races will be on DSTV Tellytrack Channel 249.

Photograph by Andrew Philip

On A Hiding To Nothing?

The Borrowdale Park Tipsters could be on a hiding to nothing tomorrow – and please don’t ask “What’s New?”

The going was soft at the December 11 meeting and there has been plenty of rain this week, with the possibility of more. At Borrowdale, the going is on top for most of the year so identifying mudlarks is somewhat hit and miss.

Surprisingly, the tipsters seem to have few doubts about the winners of three of the seven races on Sunday’s card.

Red Pollard
has all the support in the 1450m MR 65 Handicap and Port Elizabeth jockey, Teaque Gould, has the ride. In the 1600m MR 85 Handicap three out of four tipsters have taken Mr Greenlight to win, with Nikki Sibanda in the irons.

Citrusdal, with Jarryd Penny up, is the unanimous choice for the 1700m MR 75 Handicap, and the son of Duke Of Marmalade (IRE) is hoping for a hat-trick here.

The get-out stakes are a 1900m Pinnacle Plate 100, but here the tipsters are evenly split between Peggson and Yarraman.

The first race is due off at 11 35 – and “closed doors” still applies.

Second Feature For True Beauty

True Beauty, the three-year-old daughter of the Jet Master sire Skitt Skizzle, won the 1600mTote Free Handicap at Borrowdale Park on Friday, adding another feature win to her tally.

She won the 1200m Jacaranda Free Handicap in October and has won three of her seven starts – so far – doing owners Ms S P Moyo and Mr G Tafeni proud. True Beauty is trained by Kirk Swanson and Apprentice Rodgers Satombo was in the irons. The filly was bred by Bosworth Farm Stud.

Congratulations to all the winning connections.

Photograph Zimbabwe Equine News


Dindingwe has bowed out of the 1600m Tote Free Handicap for three-year-olds, leaving her stablemates, True Beauty and Magnus Maximus, very much in the running.

Trained by Kirk Swanson, True Beauty recently won the 1200m Jacaranda Free Handicap. She has dealt with all of Willfull Path, Mazikeen, Mind Master, Obscure and Suave Judge before, and with Apprentice Rodgers Satombo in the irons on Friday should only carry 56 kgs.

Magnus Maximus and True Beauty have yet to meet in a race and the lightly raced son of Jackson is harder to assess. He has won two of his three starts but has yet to go around the turn.

Although I summarily dismissed Obscure and Suave Judge earlier, maybe that was too hasty. This is a handicap, and this pair receive weight from the field.

Suave Judge from the Terzi yard is by Judpot (USA). Two of his three starts were in open company and he finished in front of subsequent winner Farm Yard Tractor in a 1600m Maiden Plate.

At the last meeting the well-connected Obscure won a 1450m Maiden Plate impressively – and if she really has her act together now, Bridget Stidolph’s charge could surprise.

Going For Gold Again

Weather permitting, Borrowdale Park’s major sprint, the US$3 000 National Foods Gold Cup, will be run over 1200m on Friday afternoon.  This year the field of 8 runners includes three former Gold Cup winners – Coachella, Twilight Trip and Verdier.

Coachella won this race in 2017, carrying 61 kgs; Twilight Trip, set to carry 52 kgs and with a claiming apprentice in the irons, won the following year, and in 2019 Verdier (52 kgs) beat Coachella (63 kgs) by 0.05 lengths.

This time Coachella will ‘only’ carry 62 kgs, while Twilight Trip and Verdier come in at 52.5 and 52 kgs respectively. The chances are Coachella will have to settle for one of the minor places again, while one of the light weights comes skipping through.

Gladstone and White Winter were both set to carry the minimum weight but Gladstone, with Greyling up, will be 1 kg over. Fareeq, ridden by Takawira, will receive 5 kgs from Coachella, Christofle 5.5, and Armstrong 8kgs.

As it stands at present the going on Friday is likely to be on the soft side, which is an added imponderable.

On recent form, and taking weight into account, Christofle gets my vote, without much confidence. Armstrong, maybe, and White Winter is consistent. Who knows?

It will be an interesting race because, possibly, one of the previous winners can collect a Gold Cup double. 

The first race on Friday is due off at 12 10 and the Gold Cup will be run at 16 15.  This is the second feature race as the 1600m Tote Free Handicap is also part of the 8-race card.

Photographs by Zimbabwe Equine News.