OK – Onward And Upward Again

It’s a pity we lost out on one race meeting but that’s not the end of the world. The OK Grand Challenge is around the corner and Borrowdale Park will be firing again.  To begin some good vibes let’s trip down memory lane with former OK Grand Challenge winners.

2015 – YER-MAAN (Quinton Riddle) Owned and trained by St John Gray.  Then came Thriller In Manila, Rock The Country and Equina.

2016 – DUFFY’S CALL (Brendon McNaughton) Trainer Bridget Stidolph.  Owned by the Sunmark Racing Syndicate (nom: Rob Davenport). Then came Windigo, Whiteline Fever and Mathematician

2017 – ROYAL HONOUR  (Jarryd Penny) Trainer Bridget Stidolph. Owned by Mr Juan Taljaard. Then came Windigo, Super Good and Cool Solution.

2018 – SIMONA (Calvin Habib) Trainer Bridget Stidolph. Owned by the Newbury Racing Syndicate (Pty) Ltd (nom: Dennis Evans). Then came Peggson, Master Switch and Kilrain.

2019 – SIMONA (Calvin Habib) Trainer Bridget Stidolph. Owned by the Newbury Racing Syndicate (Pty) Ltd (nom: Dennis Evans). Then came Fareeq (AUS), Verdier and Peggson.

2020 – COVID struck.

2021 – FINCHATTON (Diego de Gouveia) Trainer Gokhan Terzi. Owned by Gengiz Goksel. Then came Peggson, Holy Land and Fareeq (AUS).

Photographs by Gavin Macleod, Zimbabwe Equine News and Laurent Viguie. Thanks to my bad filing, it was difficult to find any pics – let alone, in some cases, to say exactly who took what.

Next Borrowdale Meeting Abandoned

The Borrowdale race meeting scheduled for the 22nd of May, 2022, has been abandoned due to insufficient runners.

At the Final Declaration stage this morning five races folded, and all were reopened, and all trainers 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.

The Mashonaland Turf Club reports:

 “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 7 races not stand after declaration, and after reopening each race on the same conditions.

 “As a result this race meeting did not hold and we have no option but to abandon the meeting for the 22nd May 2022.”

This is very disappointing news for Zimbabwe’s racing fans.

What A Beauty – Great Stuff

The four-year-old filly, True Beauty, was facing the toughest test of her career and came through in style, winning the US$50 000 Castle Tankard (Gr1) at Borrowdale Park this afternoon.  

Only Him, also a four-year-old, came second, followed by Holy Land and Wantage.

Owned by Ms SP Moyo and Mr G Tafeni, True Beauty is trained by Thomas Mason. and Denis Schwarz was in the irons. Congratulations to the connections on winning Zimbabwe’s most prestigious race.  What more can one say!

By Skitt Skizzle and out of a Silvano (GER) mare, True Beauty was bred by Bosworth Farm Stud, and this was her sixth victory.

Once again, the sponsors, Delta Beverages, set the scene for a spectacular and memorable day.

Photograph – Not taken today…those will follow



The first race at Borrowdale Park tomorrow (Saturday, May 7) is off at 12 10 and the feature, the US$50 000 Castle Tankard, is at 15 50.

 The meeting can be viewed on DSTV Channel 240 – and the Borrowdale Park Livestream will be on Clocking The Gallop on UTube.

Tips, Final Fields Card Changes etc on this site (see menu above)..

Please follow the link below to view or download Saturday’s online race card:


Photograph by Andrew Philip.


Diego de Gouveia rides Finchatton

Jarryd Penny – Lily Blue

Kabelo Matsunyane – Holy Land

Hennie Greyling – Mr Greenlight

Keanen Steyn – Only Him

Teaque Gould – Wantage

Nikki Sibanda – Armstrong

Norbert Takawira – Bugatti Blue

Denis Schwarz – True Beauty

Ashton Arries – Love The View

Morgan Nyamagwete – Citrusdal

Wes Marwing – Heir Line

Francois Herholdt – Three To Tango

Three To Tango


13 Drawn 12 52.0 6-year-old horse

Owner:  Mr J Koumides & Mr C M & Mrs E B Shepherd & Mr C G & Mrs K M Bonthrone

Breeder: Mr G J Armitage – Trainer: Debra Swanson

Breeding: Greys Inn (USA) – Danseuse by Joshua Dancer (USA)

Colours: Brown, white crossed sashes, green sleeves and cap

Three To Tango has won seven races from 1200m to 2400m, including the 1600m Tote Free Handicap and the 2020 Zimbabwe Derby, and has been placed 18 times in 37 starts.

Eight of his unplaced runs have come since July 2020. He is still an entire and perhaps didn’t have his mind right, but fortunately, he has shown signs of a return to form in his last two starts when fourth over 1600m and a winner over 1800m at the April 24 meeting in heavy going. Not back to his best but getting there.

In the Castle Tankard, Three To Tango is due to carry 52 kgs and a jockey has yet to be declared. He is drawn 12 and when betting opened was 14/1.  The only time this 6-year-old has carried 52kgs was in the Tote Free which he won when he was three.

If Three To Tango really is back to being his reliable old self, he could make this field – most of whom he knows very well – run for their money.

Photograph By Zimbabwe Equine News

Heir Line


12 Drawn 10 52.0 8-year-old gelding

Owner:  Messrs P D Gorringe, S P Gorringe, V Patel, D K Ward & G Carter, G M Littleford, S H Murray & P C Rugg

Breeder: Varsfontein Stud – Trainer: Debra Swanson

Breeding: Dynasty – Kiss And Fly by Jet Master

Colours: White, blue band of diamonds, yellow sleeves and cap

Heir Line has been around for a while and during 2020 took some time off to do a bit of show jumping before returning to race at Borrowdale Park.

He raced in KZN in 2017 where he won two races over 1600m and 1750m and then came to Zimbabwe. He won a 1700m MR 80 in June 2018, and a month later came out to win the 1900m Republic Cup (Gr3), beating Simona.

Since then, he has won three races from 1800m to 2700m, been placed several times, and in his last three outings has performed well, coming third to Obscure over 2000m, second behind Lily Blue in the 2000m Champions Breeders Cup (L), and half a length off Armstrong in the 1600m MR 88 Handicap on April 24.

This all adds up to Heir Line – a 7-time winner – carrying 52 kg over a 2000m trip which will suit him perfectly. He ran fifth in the 2019 Tankard won by Peggson, carrying 59.5 kgs, and was “resting” in 2020.

So – don’t discount Heir Line.

Photograph by Laurent Viguie.



11 Drawn 2 52.0 5-year-old gelding

Owner:  Messrs R S Dyer, S N Buchan, N Evans, M K Chant, G de Jong, A Dixon, R Morgan, R Sherwood & Bryn Ressell

Breeder: Drakenstein Stud (Nom: Mrs G A Rupert) – Trainer: Bridget Stidolph

Breeding: Duke Of Marmalade (IRE) – Key Bluff by Qui Danzig (USA)

Colours: Orange, white Maltese cross, sleeves and cap

Citrusdal is the fourth runner from the Stidolph yard and rather an enigma – I think. He has won six races from 1100m to 1900m and been placed 12 times from 26 starts.

His last outing was on April 24 when narrowly beaten by Three to Tango – both showing welcome signs of a return to form.

There can be few stamina doubts as Citrusdal ran second to At The Office over 2700m on June 5, but then finished way down the field in a 2700m event won by Heir Line in October. He can also sprint and won over 1100m Hachiman Sprint in yielding going on January 9, beating Emerald Floe.

I cannot imagine what Citrusdal will do on Castle Tankard Day. Morgan Nyamagwete rides and knows this son of Duke Of Marmalade well. He was 18/1 when betting opened.  Be brave – have a flutter.   

Photograph by Zimbabwe Equine News

Love The View

Love The View settling in at Borrowdale, Zimbabwe.


10 Drawn 8 52.0 4-year-old gelding

Owner:  Mr C J Danckwerts and Mrs Laura de Haast

Breeder: Ascot Stud (Pty) Ltd – Trainer: Thomas Mason

Breeding: Global View (USA) – I Love Her (IRE) by Sadler’s Wells (USA)

Recent arrival Love The View had to race at Borrowdale on April 24 in order to be in the Castle Tankard and Thomas Mason said “running on for second showed he had taken his trip from Durban via Johannesburg well.”

Only Him won that 1200m Allowance Plate in heavy going, and Love The View, with Apprentice Walter Shumba on board, was receiving 5 kgs. As far as local fans go, the Global View (USA) gelding is an unknown quantity and one must wonder when, and if, the effect of a change of altitude is going to click in.

Previously trained by Carl Hewitson, Love The View won three races in KZN from 1400m to 1750m and was 2.40 lengths off the winner, Donald McDonald, over the Greyville 1900m in October. He will carry 52kgs in the Tankard, has a reasonable draw, and Ashton Arries rides.

Love The View was at 5/1 when the Tankard betting opened and whatever the outcome let’s hope this grandson of the late, great, Galileo, enjoys the day.

True Beauty


9 Drawn 7 55.5 4-year-old filly

Owner:  Ms S P Moyo & Mr G Tafeni

Breeder: Bosworth Farm Stud – Trainer:  Thomas Mason

Breeding: Skitt Skizzle – Beautiful Jo by Silvano (GER)

Colours: Red, red and black checked sash and sleeves, red cap, black peak

Four-year-old True Beauty faces the toughest test of her career but always gives her best. Her five wins include the 1200m Jacaranda Free Handicap and the 1600m Tote Free, and she was a close second to Dindingwe in the 2021 Zimbabwe Guineas (Gr3).

True Beauty has been in Thomas Mason’s yard since December and has won twice, over 1600m and 1700m. Only Him ran half a length behind her in the 1700m Middle Stakes on March 6 when True Beauty was in receipt of 3 kgs.

It is always interesting when younger up-and-coming horses take on their proven elders in a big race. True Beauty seems to be maturing well but it is hard to assess how she will handle the longer trip – however, she is out of a Silvano mare. When betting opened she was 9/2.

Go well True Beauty.

Photograph by Zimbabwe Equine News.

Bugatti Blue


8 Drawn 5 55.5 7-year-old gelding

Owner:  Centaur Syndicate (Nom: Mr C J Danckwerts)

Breeder: Summerhill Stud (Pty) Ltd – Trainer: Debra Swanson

Breeding: Traffic Guard (USA) – Vintage Event by Braashee (GB)

Colours: Orange, black maltese cross, white cap

Jackie Cocksedge is a member of the Centaur Syndicate so who better to ask for a few pointers about their Castle Tankard runner?

She said: “Bugatti Blue was originally named Oldsmobile.  He is by far the most successful progeny of the very disappointing sire, Traffic Guard (USA).

“He was spotted by the eagle-eyed trainer, Kirk Swanson, on the Ready To Run Sales, from the videos they produce of the gallops. Centaur Syndicate were looking for a horse, and we chose him from a selection of three, and we changed his name.

“As a three-year-old Bugatti Blue ran fourth to Knuckleball in the middle leg of the Triple Crown over 2000mm and in the Zimbabwe Derby over 2400m. He does not sprint and seems to prefer a bit of give in the going. He likes to run from the front as he doesn’t really have a turn of foot in a finish.

“He has now won 8 races for the Centaur Syndicate and been placed in 42 starts. He is as honest as the day is long and has been a wonderful horse to own. Not bad for an R11 000 purchase.”

Thank you, Jackie.  I will only add that Bugatti Blue opened at 14/1 in the betting, and I would not leave him out of a larger quartet.  Have a close look at his last three starts – two over 2000m and the last over 1600m – and who else ran there.  It is interesting reading.

Photograph by Laurent Viguie



7 Drawn 1 55.5 6-year-old gelding

Owner:  Messrs G Goksel, A P Nydam & F Vahab

Breeder: Hemel ‘N Aarde Stud – Trainer: V Birketoft

Breeding: Var (USA) – Walkingonthemoon (AUS) by Galileo (IRE)

Colours: Black, purple crossed sashes, black sleeves, purple cap

Armstrong (opening betting 12/1) won his first race over the Turffontain 1400m in December 2018 when trained by Mike de Kock.  His second success came at Borrowdale over 1200m in November 2019 when in the Gokhan Terzi yard.

Altogether Armstrong has won seven races from 1200 to 1600m and he has yet to try the 2000m trip. He ran 3.10 lengths off Yarraman in the 1800m National Foods Cup in 2020, both carrying 56 kgs.  Mr Greenlight, Wantage and Three to Tango finished in front of Armstrong and Holy Land was behind.

His next bid over 1800m was in the 2021 OK Grand Challenge (Gr2) and again he finished midfield. There were 17 runners – some of whom he will meet on May 7 – so midfield wasn’t too bad.

Without question, to date, Armstrong has performed best up to 1600m.  His last start over this distance was in an MR 88 Handicap on April 3 which he won with claiming apprentice Munashe Josi on board – Heir Line was a close second and Three To Tango further back.

How will Armstrong fare in the big one – drawn well and with a reasonable galloping weight? Only time will tell.

Photograph Zimbabwe Equine News.