No Catching Bugatti Blue

Photograph Zimbabwe Equine News

There was no catching Bugatti Blue when the seven-year-old Traffic Guard (USA) gelding romped home to win the 1900m Republic Cup (Gr3) at Borrowdale Park this afternoon.

Trained by Debra Swanson and with Nobert Takawira in the irons, Bugatti Blue is owned by the Centaur Syndicate (nominee C J Danckwerts). Bred by Summerhill Stud (Pty) Ltd, Bugatti Blue has now won 10 races. The placings went to Seven Seas, Masaaken and Lily Blue.

This was the cherry on top for the Centaur Syndicate and the Swanson/Takawira combo. They also won the 1100m Maiden Juvenile Plate with first-timer Grand Warrior – who is definitely one for the notebook.

Congratulations to all the winning connections.

Another Borrowdale Cliffhanger

Outsider Empress Of Jade won the Zimbabwe Oaks today in an extremely close finish which seems to have become the norm at Borrowdale Park. Unfortunately, if one is not at the course, the limited TV coverage cannot be relied upon to ever give the actual result.

Both Cutback (Schwarz) and Empress Of Jade (De Gouveia) tailed the small field while Tigers Eagle set the pace. They came to the fore in the home straight and the Gokhan Terzi-trained Empress Of Jade managed to catch Cutback on the line. Then came Tigers Eagle and Midfield Girl. Winning margins 0.05, 8.00 and 8.00 lengths.

The daughter of Rafeef (AUS) is owned by Ms S P Moyo and Mr G Tafeni and was bred by Golden Touch Thoroughbred Services and Mr M Kidd.

Congratulations to the winning connections.

Photograph above by Laurent Viguie


Photo Finish 2022 Zimbabwe Oaks (L) – won by Empress Of Jade from Cutback, winning margin 0.05 lengths.

Competitive Oaks Field

The delayed Zimbabwe Oaks will be run over 2000m at Borrowdale Park on Wednesday and in this small field Cutback and Tigers Eagle seem the pick.

Cutback’s last four starts include a Maiden win over 1600m; then the Twice Over (GB) filly won the 1600m Guineas Trial; she ran fourth to Call The Wind in the Zimbabwe Guineas, and her last start was in the Zimbabwe 2000 (Gr3) on April 3, which she won.  She has been beaten by Tigers Eagle over a mile but turned the tables in the Zim2000.

The Tote Free winner Tigers Eagle has been consistently placed from 1800m to 2000m and won her last start, which was over 2700m on June 4, beating stable companion Days Gone By, and Midfield Girl. Obviously, Tigers Eagle is racing fit – while Cutback may need the run.

Midfield Girl, by Alado (GB), won a 1900m Maiden Plate early in April, and was six lengths off Obscure over 2200m, so is distance suited.

Empress Of Jade, by Rafeef (AUS) and out of a Fort Wood mare, makes up the field.  She has only raced twice at Borrowdale – both times up the straight – but is bred to go further.

Denis Schwarz rides Cutback and Wes Marwing will be on Tigers Eagle. Jarryd Penny teams up with Midfield Girl and Diego de Gouveia with Empress Of Jade.

Racing begins at 12 noon on Wednesday and the Oaks is due off at 15.35.

Photographs by Zimbabwe Equine News

True Beauty Joins Lily Blue On 99

After the running of the OK Grand Challenge (GR1) at Borrowdale on Saturday, the winner, Seven Seas, has moved from a Merit Rating of 85 to 90.  True Beauty has gone from 95 to 99, and Holy Land has moved up by two to 98. Lily Blue (fourth) remains on 99.

All of Captain Of Tortuga, Finchatton, Only Him, Wantage, Armstrong and Bugatti Blue dropped down one.

The Merit Ratings of Mr Greenlight, Edward The Seventh and Love The View were reduced by two.

Changes after minor events:


Kursk +2 (now 70); Cool Solution +4 (64); Ian’s Ferrari +2(64); Keen Spirit +1 (65); Tulip Way +4 (81); Shesalegend +5 (77); Oden +5 (85); Tigers Eagle +4 (71). First-timer Why Madera 70.


Cario -6 (41); Empress Of Jade -5 (50); Karoo Winter -3 (40); Deposition -1 (63); Bruce’s Spirit -3 (55); Mill Creek -2 (51); Mutatheef -3 (59), Manvir -1 (59); Albar Warning -2 (48); Ginjamatinja -2 (45); Powder Puff -3 (67); Magic Mike -2 (74); Wild Heritage -1 (71); Magic Vision -2 (68); Viscountess Vivien -1 (63); Emerald Floe -1 (82); Tradition -1 (76); Mr Hugo -1 (73); In Good Time -2 (71); At The Office – 2 (61);

In Case You Missed It

We were lucky to have several hard-working photographers on course for the 2022 OK Grand Challenge (GR 1). LAURENT VIGUIE snapped the field in the home straight – and then the main players as they progressed towards the wire.

If you missed this exciting 1800m event the race was won in the closest of finishes by Seven Seas, from True Beauty, and then came Holy Land and Lily Blue. Winning margins 0.05 lengths 0.75 lengths 2.00 lengths. Time 107.07 sec. The winner is owned by Christopher Peech, trained by Gokhan Terzi and Nathan Klink was riding.


Seven Seas By A Whisker

Seven Seas, with Nathan Klink up, won the US$70 000 OK Grand Challenge (GR1) at Borrowdale Park today – in a thrilling finish with Castle Tankard winner, True Beauty (Schwarz).  Holy Land (Danielson) was third.

Trained by Gokhan Terzi and owned by Christopher Peech, the five-year-old mare was bred by Digleby Stud (Mr and Mrs H. Stegeman).  Seven Seas is by Elusive Fort out of an Argonaut mare and she has now won five races.

Congratulations to the winning connections.

Four-year-old True Beauty was giving the winner 5kgs and was gallant in defeat.

The photograph of Seven Seas was taken by Zimbabwe Equine News on another occasion.  Up-to-date pics will follow later.

The Finish

Borrowdale Racing Today

 The OK Grand Challenge race meeting is off to a very early start today, Saturday 4 June 2022. The first race is off at 10.45 and the feature, the OK Grand Challenge (GR1), is at 14.50.

Eighteen runners will face the starter in the OK Grand Challenge run over 1800m. This is Zimbabwe’s richest race, and it has attracted an ultra-competitive field.  This is the grand finale on the 8-race card.

 If you are unable to be at the course 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, and a link to the online card can be found on this site.

Photograph by Zimbabwe Equine News

A Rare Occasion

Full sisters, Lily Blue and Obscure, will race against each other, for the first time, in the 1800m OK Grand Challenge (Gr1) at Borrowdale Park on Saturday afternoon.

Five-year-old Lily Blue and four-year-old Obscure are sired by Black Minnaloushe (USA) and are out of Mammy Blue (ZIM), a Kitalpha (USA) mare. Both were bred by Geoff Armitage and on Saturday they will race in the Gin’ll Fix It Syndicate’s silks (pink, pink sleeves. turquoise armbands and cap). In this photograph Obscure (below) wears the late Betty Prosser’s colours – Betty had a share in Obscure prior to her passing.

The illustrious Lily Blue needs no introduction. She has won 12 races (including Classics) with only occasional blips and carries 59.5 kgs in the OK Grand Challenge. On the other hand, Obscure has won five races, including her last start, and perhaps may only now be coming to hand. To date, 2000m and further has seemed her game but she will carry 52 kgs on Saturday and could surprise.

It will be interesting to see how the sisters, both trained by Bridget Stidolph, fare. Lily Blue is accustomed to racing in top company – Obscure not so much.

Henk Leyenaar will be holding thumbs for both these runners, having originally owned Mammy Blue.

Photographs by Zimbabwe Equine News.

Do Not Forget Finchatton

This exercise began because I was puzzled by the OK Grand Challenge opening betting when Daffiq who has not raced for a year was at 7/2, and Finchatton , who won the OK Grand Challenge last year, was on 10/1.

Daffiq (Randall Simons) won the 1600m Independence Trophy on 2 May 2021, carrying 57 kgs and beating Finchatton with Diego de Gouveia up (54 kgs) by 0.10 lengths. They are due to meet again on Saturday, June 4, over 1800m – a distance Daffiq has not tried previously although the breeding is there (Silvano (GER) – Crown Office (USA) by Horse Chestnut). At this stage, I stopped worrying about Daffiq as he remains a mystery.

So, what about Finchatton who did, after all, win the 2021 OK Grand Challenge carrying 55.5kgs and beating Peggson, Holy Land (52kgs), and Fareeq. In February he won the 1600m Ipi Tombe Stakes (L) and was followed across the line by Holy Land, What A Dandy and Captain Of Tortuga – all carrying 60 kgs. Holy Land was a quarter of a length off Finchatton, What A Dandy 1.50 lengths, and Captain of Tortuga two lengths behind.

Finchatton’s last start was in the 2022 Castle Tankard (Gr1) over 2000m, which was won by True Beauty on May 7, and, in addition to Finchattton and True Beauty, nine other OK hopefuls also ran in the 2022 Tankard.

Below I have listed the relevant 2022 Tankard runners in the order in which they finished, plus the weight carried in the Tankard, lengths behind – and the weight they will carry in the OK Grand Challenge (Gr1) in brackets.

Your basic arithmetic is sure to be better than mine, but I think Finchatton has to be in with a good chance – as do some others.

TRUE BEAUTY 55.5 kgs (57.5 kgs) +2kgs

ONLY HIM 57.5 – 0.75 lens (58.5 kgs) +1kg

HOLY LAND 58.5 – 2.25 (58 kgs) – 0.5 kg

WANTAGE 56.0 – 3.00 (55.5 kgs) – 0.5 kg

CITRUSDAL 52.0 – 3.25 (52 kgs)

FINCHATTON 60.0 – 4.25 (59 kgs) – 1 kg

BUGATTI BLUE 55.5 – 4.75 (55 kgs) -0.5 kg

LILY BLUE 60.0 – 5.50 (59.5 kgs) -0.5 kg

ARMSTRONG 55.0 – 9.50 (55 kgs)

LOVE THE VIEW 52.0 – 10.25 (52 kgs)

MR GREENLIGHT 57.5 – 25.25 (57 kgs) -0.5 kg

OTHER OK GRAND CHALLENGE ACCEPTORS: What A Dandy 62 kgs; Captain Of Tortuga 59 kgs; Daffiq 57 kgs; Edward the Seventh 54.5 kgs, Seven Seas 52.5 kgs; Mind Master 52kgs; Obscure 52 kgs; Varnica 52 kgs Reserve 1; Tulip Way 52 kg Reserve 2.