DINDINGWE HAD IT HER OWN WAY
The scratching of True Beauty from the Silver Slipper (L) at Borrowdale Park on Sunday meant Dindingwe had it all her own way – winning the second leg of Zimbabwe’s Triple Tiara, an 1800m event, by 16 lengths.
The last leg of the Triple Tiara will be the 2000m Zimbabwe Oaks, and after that stunning performance on Sunday one can only wonder if Dindingwe is virtually home and dry.
The second feature on the seven-race card, was the 2000m Breeders Champion Cup (L). This looked like an open race but the four-year-old Wantage, with Teaque Gould up, won comfortably, and it seems the son of Ato will be a force to be reckoned with going forward.
At present there is no stopping Apprentice Rodgers Satombo who rode Dindigwe for the Kirk Swanson yard. During the afternoon he also scored on Varnica, Supa Memories and Viscountess Vivien for the Swanson’s. This stable is also enjoying a purple patch right now.
Bridget Stidolph, who trains Wantage, won the first race on the card, an 1100m Maiden Plate with Black Duke. Jarryd Penny was in the irons.
Gokhan Terzi saddled Gladstone (Kevin Derere) and won the 1260m Allowance Plate.
Congratulations to all the winning connections.
The next Borrowdale Park meeting is on the 18th of April and it will feature the Zimbabwe 2000 – second leg of Zimbabwe’s Triple Crown. Colts and geldings, as well as fillies, contest the Triple Crown races. Top filly Dindingwe has already won the first leg, the Zimbabwe Guineas.
These are interesting times.
Photographs by Zimbabwe Equine News. ABOVE: Dindingwe triumphed in the 2021 Silver Slipper (L). BELOW: Bridget Stidolph accepted the Breeders Champion Cup from Olivia Gadza of the MTC on behalf of the winning owners, Newbury Racing (Pty) Ltd (nominee Dennis Evans).
VENGESA HEADS TO CHINA
Harare’s pristine Borrowdale Park has over recent years provided an escape from the everyday stress of a battered but recovering, economy. Some races were very popular like the ones sponsored by OK Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Army, and Delta Beverages,
Zimbabwe horse racing has seen local jockeys provide many of the thrills. One such story is that of Boniface Vengesa.
With over a decade-plus of working with racehorses at Borrowdale Park and riding them daily, 30-year-old Boniface Vengesa has left Harare for a stint in China.
This is not the first time Vengesa has left Zimbabwe. In 2017 the youthful jockey left the Swanson Racing Team for a stint in Korea.
His move to China will provide the popular jockey with more opportunities for race rides because here in Zimbabwe we only have a race meeting once every fortnight.
Photograph ZImbabwe Equine News: Boniface Vengesa on Designer Pot in 2019.
GREAT STUFF O’MEARA
Former Zimbabwe Jockey Academy student, O’Meara Rusike, who was offered a place at the South African Jockey Academy a year ago, has settled in well and she swooped two awards at the recent South African Jockey Academy Awards.
The prestigious jockey academy held their small and intimate Prize Giving last week Friday. This was to celebrate and acknowledge their apprentices’ amazing achievements last year.
O’Meara (23), and a third-year apprentice, walked away with the ‘Are You Happy Boy’ trophy named after Mr Ben Jonsson’s famous question that he used to ask each apprentice on his numerous and regular visit to the South African academy. This award recognises O’Meara’s dedication, discipline, enthusiasm, hard work, humbleness, impeccable manners, respect, passion, and willingness to learn.
Despite being concussed after falling off a horse at the track last year, Rusike worked diligently at her recovery and returned to training in August. And immediately signed racing paper.
This contributed to her winning another award for the apprentice who has shown the most athletic improvement throughout the year.
Kylie Bonthrone, owner of Equestrian Performance who has worked with O’Meara Rusike and the other apprentice jockeys still based in Zimbabwe, was delighted. Posting on her Facebook account she said:
‘When I started working with the apprentices, I couldn’t have believed they would get so far, this makes me more proud than any other award could! O’Meara Rusike – well done girl!! I am so proud!
Another one of Kylie’s ‘students’, Apprentice Rodgers Satombo, was Zimbabwe’s Champion Apprentice in the 2019/2020 racing season and he rode four winners at the last Borrowdale Park meeting.
Photograph by Candiese Lenferna Photography.
APPIE’S UNFORGETTABLE AFTERNOON
GOING into the Borrowdale Park race meeting of Sunday, January 17, 2021, Apprentice Walter Shumba had only ridden three winners. That day the promising young apprentice jockey had rides in each of the seven races on the card.
Out of those seven rides he and his mounts finished first in four of them, plus a second, and two fifth placings. This was Walter Shumba’s most noteworthy race meeting to date – four winners in one afternoon being a remarkable achievement for any jockey, and doubly so for an apprentice still claiming 4kgs.
His first chance came in the 1200m Novice Plate aboard the fancied Jubilee trained by Tomcat Racing. They broke sharply and sat just off the pace before taking command inside the final quarter, holding off a late challenge from Mind Master by 0.10 lengths.
Shumba later guided the consistent Citrusdal, to success in the Merit Rated 79 Handicap – winning margin 7 lengths. Smartly away from the stalls in the 1700m Pinnacle Plate, Walter made all the running on Wantage and had enough in hand to hold off the late finishing Three To Tango- ridden by *Rodgers Satombo – by three-quarters of a length.
Short priced favourite Red Pollard, with Shumba in the irons, won the 1700m Merit Rated 74 Handicap by an incredible 9 lengths from Edward The Seventh. Citrusdal, Wantage and Red Pollard are all in Bridget Stidolph’s yard.
It was Magnus Maximus ridden by Apprentice Satombo that denied Shumba a fifth triumph in the feature race of the day, the Guineas Trial. Obscure (Shumba) was beaten by only half a length.
Speaking to Mahachi PaBorrowdale, Walter Shumba attributed his four wins to his fitness workouts. “Every morning I run from Borrowdale racecourse to Mandara, then after that do step work, push-ups and sit-ups. With this kind of fitness workout, you will definitely be prepared for major wins. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised by the first-place finishes.
“To some of us COVID-19 is a blessing in disguise, since we apprentices now get more race rides, which also helps us grow our profiles. Usually, professional jockeys from South Africa would enjoy such privileges. With COVID-19 around most of them aren’t able to travel for races which is an advantage to us apprentice jockeys.”
Going forward Walter is hoping to ride more winners as he is targeting getting his professional jockey’s license which will allow him to race abroad.
Well done Walter.
25 January 2021
WATCHING RACING IS HELPING ME HEAL
“On the 28th of December 2019, I was involved in an accident that almost took my life. I sustained a leg injury that saw me spending 69 days in hospital.
“Those who know me are aware of my passion for sports.
“I remember Sheldene Chant sending me a message and advising me to consider writing more articles about horse racing in Zimbabwe. After that long hospital stay, I was discharged in March. Then, after two weeks, lockdown restrictions were introduced in Zimbabwe.
“Weeks later horse racing received the green light to resume. I remember how Sheldene broke the news to me, “Tatenda, racing is back my dear. But no fans allowed – we have to be content with live streaming the races.”
“With twin scourges of a leg that was healing and COVID-19, I felt as if that was enough. But then I remembered Sheldene’s voice, full of excitement, telling me horse racing was back. The racing ‘analyst’ seemed to have even analysed my mind. I remember tapping on a Facebook notification stating, ‘Borrowdale Racecourse is LIVE’.
“After 69 days in hospital the first sport code I watched was horse racing. Just watching the first race was a beautiful experience that resonated throughout my whole body. Giving me hope that everything would be alright. This kind of hope I will hold in my heart forever.
“But what exactly gave me this kind of hope you would ask? After 79 days off racing the filly, Dindingwe, very nearly won the Jacaranda Tote Free Handicap, finishing 0.10 lengths behind her stable companion True Beauty. There I was comparing 79, and 69 plus days.
“Why compare a horse and a human you might ask? The answer is a human being and a horse share a special connection.
“After such a long layoff Dindingwe still lived in the moment. This taught me to embrace the present. Being in the present helped me cope with the pain, thus reducing distress.
“Before the race began Dindingwe was quite hard to get into the stalls, and shortly after the start she was bumped by another runner. As a champion she never surrendered, but because of acceptance, managed to race, and almost won, being beaten only 0.10 lengths by True Beauty. The lesson I learnt from Dindingwe is that acceptance is an essential part of life relationships and the recovery process.
“I have found a new sense of self-confidence and self-worth and this has helped me to be more responsible, and to take care of myself. I am grateful for the supportive network, particularly from my parents, Sheldene, and my siblings.
“They say the journey to recovery is very long, and painful, and I am battling with a relapse, indescribable pain, and feeling that this is the order of the day.
“There are no quick solutions, no easy answers, you just breathe deep and wait for it to subside. Most of the time pain gets you where you least expect it. It hits you below the belt and doesn’t let up. Pain creates misery and gives you sorrow, and sometimes can even trouble you.
“But watching horses has been, and is, a great therapy. As we wait for the next race meeting, here’s to a speedy recovery for me.”
20 January 2021
ABOVE: True Beauty (nearest camera) and Dindingwe in the Jacaranda Tote Free Handicap. Photograph by Jenny Stock.
BELOW: Dindingwe won the Breeders Fillies Mile (L). Photograph by Gavin MacLeod.
APPRENTICE WALTER SHUMBA IN TOP FORM ON SUNDAY
Any horse can win on a given day is what Sunday’s race meeting at Borrowdale Park taught us. There was the course and like-minded riders on galloping horses, with the only spectators closely following the action online, or on TV.
In her first start the Gokhan Terzi trained Shesalegend won the Maiden Plate over 1200m. The favourite, Ultra Edge, found the soft going a little bit tough whilst her stablemate, Jenny’s Word, put up a brave fight. *Rodgers Satombo (Jenny’s Word) and Brendon McNaughton (Shesalegend) fought it out neck to neck in the last 200m, with the Mogok filly winning the race by 0.50 lengths. Jenny’s Word, Hawi, Ultra Edge and Count Alley settled for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places respectively.
Apprentice Walter Shumba, who had struggled in the first race with Count Alley, was left smiling after the second race, a 1200m Novice Plate. Jubilee, trained by Thomas Mason, was hard to oppose. Credit should be given to McNaughton and Mind Master for making them run for their money, fighting until the finishing line.
McNaughton won his second race of the day in the 1200m Merit Rated 64 Handicap on Double Dab. Gokhan Terzi enjoyed a first and second place finish here which saw Double Dab’s stablemate, Kursk, also racing for glory. However, it was Double Dab who ran into the money winning by 0.50 lengths. Cool Solution and Mill Creek had to settle for 3rd and 4th places.
Citrusdal was influential again, giving *Walter Shumba his second win of the day in the 1260m Merit Rated 79 Handicap. An exceptional performance from Varnica saw the Swanson trained horse finishing second. Newcomer to Borrowdale, Leprechaun, ran third.
Wantage won the fifth race of his career as *Walter Shumba recorded his third win of the day in the Pinnacle Plate ran over 1700m. Three To Tango and Mr Greenlight gave Bridget Stidolph’s charge, Wantage, a good run for his first place finish. The consistently placed Wantage deserved this victory.
The Merit Rated 74 Handicap over 1600m lived up to its billing being special in a unique way. Both horse and jockey recording fourth wins – of the day for young *Walter Shumba, and of his career for Bridget Stidolph’s Red Pollard. Edward The Seventh and the fancied Moxie finished second and third.
This was the third winner from the Stidolph yard on Sunday.
Apprentice Rodgers Satombo came to the fore in the feature race of the day, the 1600m Guineas Trial. Together with Magnus Maximus he denied *Walter Shumba on Obscure what would have been his fifth winner on Sunday. For a fleeting moment, near the wire, it seemed as if Obscure would score, but Magnus Maximus, from the Swanson stable, came back bravely and won.
Unfortunately, True Beauty, the pre-race favourite, was a late scratching from the Guineas Trial.
The next Borrowdale Park race meeting is on Sunday, January 31, and features the Fillies Classic – first leg of the Triple Tiara.
Photographs by Gavin Macleod: Magnus Maximus (above) won the 2021 Guineas Trial. Below – quite a soft Sunday…
18 January 2021
REMEMBER TO WATCH BORROWDALE RACING ON SUNDAY
Mashonaland Turf Club will host their second race of the year on Sunday 17 January. A total of 40 horses will battle for honours in seven races this week.
This is happening under very strict COVID-19 guidelines and regulations. Only trainers will enjoy the privileges of watching the races live. The rest will have to be content with streaming the racing live on YouTube or following the procedures on Tellytrack.
The Guineas Trial over 1600m is the feature race and 2019/2020 Champion Trainer, Gokhan Terzi, will field 2 horses, as will Kirk Swanson, whilst Bridget Stidolph only saddles one. Last season’s Champion Jockey Nobert Takawira will be on True Beauty, and 2019/2020 Champion Apprentice, Rodgers Satombo, joins forces with Magnus Maximus.
Mazikeen and Suave Judge from the Gokhan Terzi satellite yard, Vee Racing, will be ridden by Brendon McNaughton and Nkululeko Sibanda respectively. Apprentice Walter Shumba is paired with Lily Blue’s full sister, Obscure. Having featured in seven races, and won three of them, selectors have tipped True Beauty to bring it home for the Swanson Yard.
The 1200m Maiden Plate will see five runners hoping to win at Borrowdale Park. Gokhan Terzi and Bridget Stidolph will each field two horses, whilst Noelene Peech fields one. After a 92-day rest Count Alley will be trying to do well for Noelene Peech, however he must be careful of the dangers Ultra Edge, Jenny’s Word and Hawi pose.
Selectors have tipped the constant Ultra Edge, who will be in the capable hands of Nobert Takawira, to win this one.
All of the runners in the 1700m Pinnacle Plate have the credentials to win. Can Yarraman carry top weight and score?
The first race on Sunday is due off at 12 30.
Photograph Zimbabwe Equine News: Ultra Edge with Calvin Habib in the irons. Norbert Takawira rides on Sunday.
14 January 2021
STRICT LOCKDOWN IN FORCE AGAIN
Horse racing became the first sport code to host a sporting event in 2021, after Sports and Recreation Commission granted Mashonaland Turf Club stewards the go-ahead to race on Sunday.
This was under very strict lockdown regulations with neither owners nor guests allowed at the racecourse. Out of the seven races on the card trainer Kirk Swanson won three, including the feature race, the Hachiman Sprint. Bridget Stidolph also sent out three winners.
Race one saw the Gokhan Terzi trained Tip To Tap pull off a surprising win in the Maiden Plate run over 1100m. Stable companion Hawi had been tipped to win but Jenny’s Word under J. Penny came second. Tectonic, who raced in steels, finished third, with Hawi having to settle for 4th position. First-timer Shesalegend was scratched for bolting on the way to the start.
The Champion jockey of last season, Norbert Takawira, broke nicely with favourite Wijdaan in the 1200m Merit Rated Handicap. At the 900m mark it looked like the Gokhan Terzi stablemates Wijaan, In Good Time and Mazikeen were well ahead, but Kelvin Derere and Tree of Wisdom streaked through, bringing it home for the Swanson yard.
The Bridget Stidolph runner, Fortuna Doro, with Teaque Gould in the irons, lived up to expectations winning the 1500m Graduation Plate. Milford Sound (Sampson), and Deposition (* Shumba) finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Gould struck again in the 1800m Maiden Plate on Seattle Swift, who outshone stablemate and favourite Master Futura – both from the Stidolph yard. Secrecy under Apprentice Munashe Josi, and Rocquette (Takawira) were placed.
Top weighted Bugatti Blue (Takawira) won the 1700m Merit Rated 83 Handicap after a fighting finish with Nikki Sibanda and Hold The Biscuit in the last 100m.
The fancied Suave Judge disappointed in the Merit Rated 60 Handicap over 1800m. It was Prescott with Gould up, and trained by Bridget Stidolph, who held off Haga Haga in an exciting finish.
The competitive 1100m Hachiman Sprint was the last race of the day and champion apprentice jockey Rodgers Satombo and What A Dandy won with style – leading from start to finish.
Congratulations to all the winning connections.
Photograph on file: Tree Of Wisdom, with Kevin Derere up, found form again on Sunday.
3 January 2021
REMEMBER TO WATCH RACING TOMORROW
The 2020/2021 horse racing season continues in earnest tomorrow at Borrowdale Racecourse.
A total of 50 runners will participate in seven races, the feature race being the Hachiman Sprint where 2019/2020 champion trainer Gokhan Terzi will field three horses which include favourite Gladstone, Verdier and Golden Lion.
Bridget Stidolph will bring in Christofle and Love To Bluff. These five will be joined by the Swanson Racing trained horse What A Dandy.
Another race to look out for is the Merit Rated 60 Handicap run over 1800m. Eight horses -three from the Swanson yard, two from Thomas Mason, and one from Gokhan Terzi – will contest the race. Haga Haga and Bushman have been tipped for a one and two finish.
Seven horse will race in the Merit Rated 70 Handicap over 1200m. In Good Times, Wijdaan and Mazikeen, all from the Gokhan Terzi stable, have been tipped for the first three places.
Credit should be given to the Mashonaland Turf Club stewards for ensuring that horse racing continues smoothly behind closed doors.
2 January 2021
Photograph by Gavin Macleod: Haga Haga (nearest the camera) steps out Race 6 at Borrowdale, tomorrow afternoon.
CLIFFHANGERS ARE GOOD – EVEN WHEN WATCHING AT HOME ALONE
Horse racing and other major sports in Zimbabwe continue to be held behind closed doors, with strict Covid-19 protocols being observed before, during and afterwards. However, at Friday’s Borrowdale Park race meeting the standard of racing was such that excitement grew both on and off the course.
Throw in a couple of cliffhanger finishes and, on the day, it doesn’t matter whether you’re watching racing on-course at Borrowdale, Kenilworth or Ascot – or even at home alone.
Eight races were carded for Friday’s programme with the main feature event being the National Foods Gold Cup Sprint over 1200m. This resulted in a clean sweep for the Gokhan Terzi yard, a formidable achievement.
Gladstone (Greyling) and 2019 Gold Cup winner Verdier (McNaughton) went head-to-head at the finish with Verdier getting the nod. Their stablemates, Fareeq and Armstrong, followed them across the line.
The Maiden Plate run over 1100m saw the Gokhan Terzi stablemates, Tectonic and Bella Noir, fighting it out in the early stages. Bella Noir triumphed but Ultra Edge (Habib) denied the stablemates a one/two finish when she outpaced Tectonic (Sampson) at the 100m mark. Greyling on Bella Noir won this, the first race of the day, by close to five lengths.
The Merit Rated 75 Handicap run over 1200m saw six horse battling for honours. Wijdaan was the favourite but 2020 Champion Jockey, Norbert Takawira, gave it his best on the Swanson trained Over Sharing and won. Apprentice Walter Shumba’s smart push saw Jubilee finishing second, with Wijdaan third.
During the afternoon the Kirk Swanson yard saddled five winners, and In the 2000m Merit Rated 85 Handicap much fancied Bugatti Blue (Habib) brought it home for the Swansons, with Seattle Frost (*Shumba) and Flapjack (Penny) finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.
After being placed twice at Borrowdale Park the ZimFun Racing Club’s first horse, Tricky Business was brave and wise, biding his time before outshining Veseo, Master Futura and Jenny Bee at the wire in the 1700m Maiden Plate. Under the capable guidance of Norbert Takawira, Tricky Business won by a length.
Favourite Red Pollard made Cool Solution work hard for first place in the 1600m MR 60 Handicap, and Walter Shumba on Centre Stage ran third, in front of his stable companions from Tomcat Racing, Farm Yard Tractor and Crown Brewed.
Terzi fielded three horses in the 1600m Pinnacle Plate 90, but favourite Moxie found the going tough. Norbert Takawira recorded his third win of the day on this stable’s Mr Greenlight. What a Dandy. Butchie Boy and Moxie were placed.
2020 Champion Apprentice Satombo’s second win of the day came with True Beauty in the 1600m Tote Free Handicap for three-year-olds. Mazikeen, Suave Judge and Obscure also recorded a podium finish.
Congratulations to all the winning connections.
The Weights & Draws for the next race meeting, on Sunday December 20, have already been published and Acceptances go in on Monday.
Photograph Zimbabwe Equine News: Verdier won the 2019 Gold Cup and repeated this on Friday, winning the National Foods Gold Cup. This is the pic taken in 2019 – so no masks!
GREYLING AND VEE RACING RIDING HIGH
Borrowdale Park, with Tellytrack, was back in action on Saturday November 14, and once again Vee Racing was riding high.
Hennie Greyling, back riding in Harare after a break of several months, made a huge statement on Saturday, riding five winners on the seven-race card for Vee Racing.
First race of the afternoon was Maiden Plate over 1000m, and Apprentice Walter Shumba aboard Borrowdale newcomer Jubilee, won by 0.75 lens. Bella Noir under Greyling, and Ana Lane guided by Brendon McNaughton, finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Thomas Mason trains Jubilee.
Cool Solution and Fire To The Reign came to the fore in the Merit Rated 65 Handicap over 1200m, and Fire To The Rein under Greyling brought it home for Gokhan Terzi’s satellite yard. Apprentice Rodgers Satombo on Cool Solution came second with Double Dab finishing third.
Greyling’s second victory was with In Good Times in the 1260m Graduation Plate. Over Sharing (Rodgers Satombo) and Mind Master (Nobert Takawira) also finished in the money.
Bam Bam Pebbles found the going tough in the Merit Rated 80 Handicap over 1260m. Widjaan and Nobert Takawira almost won the race, but it was White Winter under Greyling who pushed until well up on the finishing line – a third win for the Vee Racing/Greyling combo..
Hold The Biscuit helped Greyling to his fourth flying finish in the 1700m Merit Rated 70 Handicap. Red Pollard and Flapjack made a race of it, finishing second and third.
Dindingwe, winner of the 2020 Champion Juvenile Stakes, won the second feature of her short career in the Breeders Fillies Mile (L). Apprentice Satombo and Dindingwe were fully in charge, winning by 2.50 lengths, from stable mate True Beauty (Takawira) and Mazikeen (Greyling). Dindingwe is trained by Kirk Swanson.
Honours in the first running of the 1800m National Foods Cup went to Yarraman trained by Gokhan Terzi, under Greyling. Fancied Mr Greenlight (McNaughton) ran third behind top weighted Peggson.
The next Borrowdale Park race meeting is on Saturday, 28 November 2020, and features the Champion Fillies Stakes.
Photographs by Zimbabwe Equine News: Above – Presentation of the National Foods Cup won by Yarraman. Below: Dindingwe winner of the Breeders Fillies Mile (L).
STILL RACING UNDER COVER
Borrowdale Park virtually raced behind closed doors on Friday October 30th, so the number of spectators was still very limited. This was particularly disappointing for some first-time owners as the ZimFun Racing Club was sending out their first runner.
The seven-race card kicked off with the 1100m Merit Rated 73 Handicap. The Kirk Swanson yard saddled three winners during the afternoon and Varnica, under the capable hands of Nobert Takawira, managed to outshine fancied Widjaan who finished third behind Titelist.
Sometimes it seems the world is run on bluff and in the 1500m Allowance Plate Love to Bluff, under Jarryd Penny, bluffed those who should have paid more attention to Bridget Stidolph’s charge. This time he outsmarted Gladstone, Mr Greenlight and Over Sharing.
Seven runners took part in the Novice Plate over 1800m. Travelling seemingly faster than sound, Nkululeko Sibanda on Milford Sound brought it home for Gokhan Terzi. Kelvin Derere on Seattle Frost was second, then came Morgan Nyamagwete and Prescott. Milford Sound won by six lengths.
The Merit Rated 80 Handicap, also over 1800m, saw Zambezi Rapids daring to dance the skies, giving Swanson Racing their second win of the day. That same race saw Zambezi Rapids’ stablemate, Bugatti Blue, finishing third behind Moxie. Apprentice Rodgers Satombo was aboard the winner.
Newcomer Tricky Business, owned by the ZimFun Racing Club, made his debut at Borrowdale Racecourse in the fifth race, a Maiden Plate over 1600m. This was one of the most competitive races of the day with Farm Yard Tractor, Tricky Business and Seattle Swift fighting it out and finishing in that order.
The Thomas Mason trained Farm Yard Tractor (Kevin Derere) won by 0.10 lens. The first three horses finished within 0.15 lengths. What a race.
Jarryd Penny, riding for the Stidolph yard, won his second race of the day in the 1600m Merit Rated 60 Handicap, with Citrusdal. Haga Haga and Bushman finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The last race of the day was the 1600m Zimbabwe Challenge.
*Satombo’s second success came here on Swanson Racing’s Three to Tango who set out in fine style, making every post a winning one. Stablemates Butchie Boy and Wantage from the Stidolph yard were closing fast approaching the line, but had to settle for second and third places.
The next race meeting is on Saturday, 14 November 2020.
Photograph by Andrew Philip. Three To Tango, seen here winning the 2019 Zimbabwe Derby, triumphed again in the Zimbabwe Challenge on Friday.
BRENDON GLAD TO BE BACK RACING
Zimbabwe roared back to life at Borrowdale Park on Saturday and talented veteran jockey Brendon McNaughton had three rides.
Two were for 2019/20 champion trainer Gokhan Terzi, and one for Thomas Mason. Of these three rides two of them finished in the top three. Brendon’s first race back after the break was in the Pinnacle Plate run over 1200m on Golden Lion, trained by Terzi in his satellite yard.
Speaking to Mahachi PaBorrowdale, McNaughton said he had always had a soft spot for Golden Lion since the first time he saw him, therefore it was fantastic winning with Golden Lion.
In the competitive Merit Rated 65 Handicap McNaughon finished third on Crown Brewed, behind Cool Solution and Hold the Biscuit. He was happy with the third as “the horse gave me his all, as I gave mine.”
Asked what he attributed his best finishes to on Saturday, McNaughton said,” I have ridden both horses before which always helps, and I have almost 14 years’ experience in horse racing.”
McNaughton believes this wasn’t a bad start and he is is happy to be racing again after a lengthy break. He intends to do his best with every opportunity given to him during the rest of this season.
Photograph by Zimbabwe Equine News
Rodgers Satombo’s thrilling moment with Cool Solution
There is no secret so close as that between a jockey and his horse, and such is the story between Cool Solution and Rodger Satombo.
The young apprentice jockey has had many rides on the Swanson-trained horse – both at work and on the racecourse. This was the fifth time he climbed aboard Cool Solution to take part in a race. Some of them quite disappointing, but they say there can be no deep disappointment where there is no deep love.
During Saturday’s race meeting the two teamed up again in the competitive Merit Rated 65 Handicap run over 1800m at Borrowdale Park. In what horse racing analysts described as the best finish of the afternoon, Satombo was chuffed when he knew he and Cool Solution had crossed the line first, ahead of Hold The Biscuit, Crown Brewed and Centre Stage.
“There’s nothing more thrilling than watching replays of the two of us crossing the line first” said an excited Satombo.
“All thanks to Mr and Mrs Swanson for trusting me with their horse again. I am very thankful and will forever be grateful for having such strong support from them.”
Photograph by Zimbabwe Equine News
FIVE FROM SEVEN FOR THE SWANSONS
The much-anticipated return of racing to Borrowdale Park on Saturday October 17 resulted in a field day for Kirk and Debbie Swanson – the yard won five of the seven carded races.
Although it seemed like it, this was not the beginning of the 2020/2021 racing season. That began on August 1, and race meetings were held at Borrowdale on August 26 and August 28.
The course was looking good on Saturday after the annual maintenance break. Kirk Swanson sent out 12 horses in six out of the seven events. In a ‘you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great’ scenario, the Swanson yard’s first win was in the 1200m Maiden Plate, race two.
Norbert Takawira brought this one home with Magnus Maximums who outshone Veseo. Then came Varnica in the Merit Rated 70 Handicap run over 1260m. Takawira recording his second win of the day by half a length. Titelist from the Stidolph yard came second.
With a weight advantage of 4kgs, apprentice jockey Rodgers Satombo, together with What A Dandy, proved determined to record Swanson’s third win of the day in the 1600m Merit Rated 85 Handicap.
Satombo scored again when clocking up the stable’s fourth win with Cool Solution in a competitive Merit Rated 65 Handicap run over 1800m.
Norbert Takawira’s experience was evident again as he rode True Beauty when winning the Jacaranda Free Handicap, finishing ahead of Dindingwe, Willfull Path and Mind Master.
Photographs by Gavin MacLeod. ABOVE” Stable companions What A Dandy and Bugatti Blue in the MR 85 Handicap. BELOW: Varnica from Titelist in the 1260m MR 70 Handicap.
ALL ACTION AFTER THE BREAK
The top horses from last season and some from years before are spread throughout the seven races carded for Saturday’s Borrowdale Park in what should be an exciting return to racing after the annual break.
The card includes several larger fields and these should improve payouts to punters who have missed the Borrowdale Park Racecourse during the last seven weeks.
With horses such as Razna, Jenny’s Word, Love to Bluff, Fire to the Reign, Mr Greenlight, Cool Solution and Dindingwe, all in different races, it is surely a mouthwatering line-up.
The highlight of the afternoon is the main feature race, the 1200m Jacaranda Free Handicap which pits a newcomer to Borrowdale, Powder Puff, trained by Amy Bronkhorst, against some of Borrowdale’s best three-year-olds. Other contenders are Willfull Path, Dindingwe, True Beauty, Mind Master, Mazikeen and VainLikeThat.
Two Maiden Plates also add to the excitement of the day. These are for horses that are yet to win a race and all are hoping for their first ever first finish.
Photograph: Cool Solution all set for his 60th outing at Borrowdale.
A VERY GOOD ‘YEAR’ FOR CHAMPION APPRENTICE SATOMBO
The 2019/2020 horse racing season ended a month ago in what had been one of the most exciting periods at Borrowdale Park Racecourse.
This season saw a number of young black apprentice jockeys excelling. O’Meara Rusike became the first female apprentice to win at Borrowdale and all the apprentices and black jockeys came to the fore following COVID-19 restrictions.
Third year apprentice jockey, Rodgers Satombo, shone. He was involved in 90 races and rode 13 winners, as well as several top four place finishes. He has been named Champion Apprentice of the 2019/20 season.
Asked if he remembered his first ever race at Borrowdale, Satombo said that all he remembers is that it was not exactly an exhilarating moment.
“I was literally sick to my stomach and shaking, and at some point I felt as if even the horse that I was riding was shaking too, maybe just because it was my first race.
”As a budding jockey I think I made plenty of mistakes along the way, however, I maintained my peak fitness, kept a steady posture, and paid careful attention to my horse’s previous outings.
“My first win was with Double Dab. I still can’t describe how it felt crossing the wire in front. My most memorable race was when I won with Tandava, after losing the stirrup iron coming out of the starting stalls. Thank God I somehow managed to bring it back and won the race. After that win I truly appreciate the fact that he is an amazing horse with a very good turn of foot.”
On being named the best apprentice jockey of the season Satombo attributes his success to Kylie Bonthrone. a high-performance equine physiotherapist and level 4 human sports therapist; Stride Free and Health Alliance.
“Without their support I honestly don’t think I would have won races. I also have to thank Swanson Racing, Vee Racing and all the owners for supporting me during this previous season.
“During this off season I am home relaxing and preparing for the start of the next horse racing season. I wake up every day at 5 30 am and start my fitness exercises. On Tuesdays and Fridays, I go to the academy where we have a wooden horse to practice on.
“This helps me a lot as I will also be maintaining my weight. I can’t afford to let my fitness levels drop at this stage. You know core strength is an absolute must, and so is fitness a test for all jockeys.”
Keep up the good work Rodgers Satombo and go well in 2020/2021.
21 September 2020
IT’S A WRAP – UNTIL OCTOBER
On Friday Borrowdale Park hosted the last race meeting before the annual racing break, with 63 runners in a nine-race card and the first race was a 1100m Graduation Plate for three-year-olds.
The six runners represented three yards – Gokhan Terzi with four, and one each for Kirk Swanson and Bridget Stidolph.
Going into the race True Beauty and Mazikeen were favourites. The race began with all in a straight line, then Willfull Path under the capable hands of Morgan Nyamagwete had an early lead at the 800m mark.
Behind Willfull Path came Mind Master with Rodgers Satombo, True Beauty under Norbert Takawira and Mazikeen with Nikki Sibanda up. Safiyaa (Brendon McNaughton), and Jenny Bee with Bernard Mwindiwa up, were at the back.
True Beauty outpaced Mind Master to occupy the second position at the 600m mark. However, the fast Willfull Path was still in control 400 metres out, followed by Safiyaa, Mazikeen and Mind Master.
Willfull Path was leading by a length at 200m, then Mazikeen proved why he was one of the favourites after he joined Willfull Path at the 100m mark. The last 50 metres saw Willfull Path bringing it home smartly for Bridget Stidolph.
‘We were a bit worried about her fitness after quite a long rest, so it was nice to have her winning this race’, Bridget Stidolph said. On the other hand, Nyamagwete was impressed with how Willfull Path was so determined to bring it home, especially in the last 300m.
WIDJAAN AND LOVE TO BLUFF FANCIED
A 1200m Merit Rated 80 Handicap was the second race of the day with six runners – Love to Bluff and Wljdaan being well fancied.
Love to Bluff (Nyamagwete) broke smartly but approaching the 800m mark it was In Good Time (*Satombo), with Wljdaan (Sibanda), Over Sharing (Takawira) in contention and Love To Bluff still leading the pack. Kilowatt Kid (*Josi) and Golden Lion (McNaughton) were further back.
At the 400m mark Love to Bluff put up a splendid performance outpacing Wljdaan and Over Sharing, but by 300m it was In Good Time and Love to Bluff, with Wljdaan between runners.
In Good Time, Love To Bluff and Wljdaan were head to head 100 metres out but a strong push by Nikki Sibanda saw Wljdaan winning for the Gokhan Terzi yard.
This was the first win of the day for Nikki Sibanda. Assistant Trainer Vanessa Birketoft said she was impressed with Wljdaan’s performance as she though Love to Bluff would win.
The 1450m Novice Plate got off on a slow start with Petroni Vini (*Satombo) taking an immediate strong lead, followed by Milford Sound under Nikki Sibanda. Missy Franklin, recent winner Candy Cane, and Boatswain followed.
This race changed completely when Boatswain outpaced the front runners and by the 400 m mark he had a commanding lead.
Debra Swanson thanked ‘Progress for the effort he had put in working with Boatswain at home’, and also applauded Norbert Takawira on his winning ride.
Holy Land was a late scratching from the 1800m Allowance Plate and Bugatti Blue refused to load, so the field was reduced to five. Legend dropped out of the race quite early on and the fancied Verdier and Mr Greenlight dominated, although Butchie Boy looked as if he might do something at one stage.
At the line Mr Greenlight (Sibanda) was clear of his stablemate Verdier, with Butchie Boy and Sygone filling the remaining places. The Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) gelding has now won both his starts at Borrowdale.
Vanessa said she knew Mr Greenlight would be up there at the front and she was happy that two of their horses fought out finish.
A DING DONG BATTLE
The 1600m Maiden Plate resulted in a ding dong battle approaching the finish between Farm Yard Tractor and newcomer to Borrowdale, Rapid Response, with the latter getting the verdict by a nostril. This gave the Stidolph yard its second winner, with Morgan Nyamagwete in the irons.
As Diamonds ‘n Rubies was scratched from the 1800m MR 65 Handicap, nine runners were left to battle it out, with Infinity Blue and Cool Solutions off to an early lead, soon to be overtaken by Tree of Wisdom – a position he maintained, closely followed by DoubleOSevenAgain, Fire To The Rein, Cool Solution and Haga Haga.
DoubleOSevenAgain (*Shumba) and Red Pollard (*Josi) pulled their magic at the 200m outpacing Tree of Wisdom, but finally It was a fight between Thomas Mason’s Crown Brewed, under Brendon McNaughton, and Red Pollard. This was a tight finish with the first 6 horses finishing within 2.65 lengths.
Apprentice Munashe Josi scored for Bridget Stidolph with Red Pollard. Bridget said this horse had come back from a very long layoff, and Munashe had ridden him well.
The first feature of the afternoon, the 1260m Mashonland Turf Club Sable Flyers was won by seasoned sprinter White Winter (Sibanda) in fine style – winning margin two lengths – followed across the line by stable companion Bam Bam Pebbles and then Varnica and Dunas Douradas.
This was the third victory on Friday for the Terzi yard (Vee Racing) and Nikki Sibanda, and congratulations to the winning owner, Gengiz Goksel.
Tandava disappointed his supporters in the 1450m Pro Bar Breeders Sprint won by stablemate Fareeq, with Yarraman finish second ahead of Tandava and What A Dandy. Nikki Sibanda had the winning ride again for Vee Racing – they saddled the first three horses home. Congratulations Gengiz Goksel.
A SPECIAL HORSE
Vanessa said Fareeq was a special horse, the eight-year-old by Nadeem (AUS) being the old man of the yard. Fareeq has now won eight races.
And, believe it or not, Nikki Sibanda picked up the ride on Zambezi Rapids for the Swanson yard in the last race, the Dean’s Catering MR 75 Handicap over 2700m – and won by seven lengths. Seattle Frost (Derere) was second, then came Flapjack and Designer Pot. Playing a waiting game paid off here as the front runners faded badly. Horseplay did not take part as he was not striding out on his way to the start.
So, five wins for Nikki Sibanda on the day. Well done.
It has been a long time since there were nine races on the card at Borrowdale. However, with the annual racing break now, we have seven weeks in which to recover. The course will be scarified, racing staff get a well-earned rest, and horses have their injections.
Keep well, and I hope to be with you again sometime in October.
28 August 2020
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS O’MEARA
Last year she became the first black female jockey to win a race at Borrowdale Park Racecourse, winning a 1100m MR 70 Handicap.
O’Meara Rusike relocated to South Africa after the decision was made to close the Apprentice Jockey Academy in Harare due to financial restraints. Luckily, O’Meara was offered a place at the academy in Durban.
Recently the young Rusike was given the green light to ride races in South Africa. Below is our interview with O’Meara. Please note OMR means O’Meara Rusike whilst MB means Mahachi paBorrowdale.
MB: Take us through your journey at the South African jockey academy from day one up until you were given the green light to race.
OMR: It has been basically a lot of hard work, much as I expected it to be …Since day one I can assure you that I am way better than I was. I’ve become much stronger and more dedicated with help from the South African Jockey Academy. They have helped a lot and despite having this pandemic, I stayed in the academy with the other apprentices during lockdown, and I worked so hard along with the riding masters helping me in every corner and at every step.
OMR: I started going to track a few weeks after racing was given the green light. That was when I started riding at least 15 horses per day – before it used to be at least 8. I’ve learned and improved my skills by doing that and I’m loving it. It was easy for me to adjust because I don’t settle for less…the more I ride the better jockey I can be. It’s something that I’ve always wanted and because of being here and working the horses at the academy during the lockdown, I am prepared for riding more horses at track.
OMR: Waking up as early as 4am to go and do what I love is such a blessing, and I appreciate every moment , and every horse, as they are part of making me a better and successful jockey.
MB: What have been your challenges and how did you manage to overcome or navigate them?
OMR: Of course, in everything you do there are one or two challenges, but I can say I’m like a horse with blinkers. I’m much more focused on the future and what’s in front of me, so I don’t welcome challenges to pull me down or distract me. Whatever the situation may be, I stay positive.
MB: How does it feel been given the green light to race in South Africa?
OMR: It feels like a dream come true as I have been working hard and putting all my all efforts into achieve this goal.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE OFTEN WRONG
Friday’s race meeting at Borrowdale Park was the third since the government of Zimbabwe announced that low risk sports codes could resume, and RTGS 580 000 was up for grabs for stakes winners of the seven carded races.
Racing on Friday reminded me of the Lemony Snicket book ‘The Bad Beginning’. Snicket said, ‘I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong’. Such was the story on Friday for veteran jockey Morgan Nyamagwete.
The first race was a 1000m Juvenile Plate where Nyamagwete finished fourth on Obscure; in the second race of the day, the 1260m MR 60 Handicap, Born To Shine ridden by Morgan finishing ninth.
The 1260m Merit Rated 85 Handicap also proved difficult for Nyamagwete who finished last with Coastal Torrent. It really was a bad start for this jockey who has won 400+ races spread between Zimbabwe, Kuwait and Sudan.
Citrusdal, trained by Bridget Stidolph, was the game changer for Nyamagwete, when winning the 1700m Maiden Plate. Then with Flapjack, Morgan won the Merit Rated 70 Handicap – an 1800m race.
Then came the big one. For the first time ever Morgan Nyamagweta won the Zimbabwe Derby with Lily Blue. The Zimbabwe Derby is run over 2400m.
‘It was a very good race meeting for me today, especially considering that I won my first Zimbabwe Derby’, Morgan said.
In the last race of the day, the Pinnacle Plate 100, Morgan finished fourth on Owlinthetree.
Nyamagwete told Mahachi PaBorrowdale that it quite difficult to race wearing a mask, but then equine safety and everyone’s welfare has been an important consideration.
‘Racing with fans motivates us, so we hope to see them soon at the racecourse once Covid-19 is declared over.
‘All credit for my wins today to the Stidolph racing team. All of my three winners are trained by Bridget Stidolph. I would also like to dedicate the wins to my family. They have been quite supportive to my career.’
KYLIE BONTHRONE – APPRENTICE MENTOR – SAYS IT’S ALL UPHILL FOR APPIES IN ZIM
Kylie Bonthrone is a high performance equine physiotherapist and Level 4 Human Sports Therapist.
She has a BSc Hons in Equine Science and is the owner of Equestrian Performance.
Recently Equestrian Performance has helped a number of apprentice jockeys and in today’s epIsode Kylie talks about horse racing in Zimbabwe and also the much talked about apprentice jockeys that continue to shine at Borrowdale Racecourse.
Apart from horse racing, Kylie also helps in sports codes like Polo, Polocrosse, Dressage, Showjumping and Eventing.
*RODGERS SATOMBO – COMING UP ROSES
For the second time since racing behind closed doors returned to Borrowdale Racecourse after COVID-19 sports restrictions, local jockeys had the chance to shine at Borrowdale. On Friday three of of the seven races were won by Apprentice Rodgers Satombo.
This was the highest number of wins coming from Rodgers Satombo at a meeting – his first career treble. On Friday Satombo had six carded rides but in the first race his horse was scratched. Then came the second race of the day, a 1200m Maiden Plate, with Petroni Vini, ridden by Rodgers, and trained by Vee racing, finishing first.
In the Merit Rated 50 Handicap 1600m the young apprentice jockey won again with Supa Memories trained by Swanson Racing. Then in the 1700m Novice Handicap (70) Rodgers recorded his second win for Vee Racing, and his third win of the day, with Gladstone finishing in front of Fire The Reign and Hold The Biscuit.
Just when we thought Satombo was about to record his fourth win in the Merit Rated 80 Handicap over 1800m, Nikki Sibanda spoiled the party winning the race with Action Jackson, leaving Arte ridden by Satombo, to finish second. Rodgers finished his day with a third place on Tree Of Wisdom in the Allowance Plate.
“I really can’t explain the feeling but what I do know is that I will never forget this day for the rest of my life. My first career treble,” he said.
Asked by ‘Mahachi PaBorrowdale’ how it felt racing without fans Rodger said “I feel like we are running trial races.”
He dedicated his three wins to Kylie Bonthrone and his sponsors, Fresh In A Box.
He has now won eight races.