Home » Sports » Curtains Come Down On Zim Racing Season

TODAY, the curtain comes down on the 2014/15 Zimbabwe horse racing calendar with the 1 400 metre Breeders Sprint which has attracted an interesting line up of 10 horses.

The race comes as the third on the seven race menu with Zimbabwe Republic Cup champion Equina leading a galaxy of Borrowdale Park Racecourse’s top sprinters.

Two other top four finishers in the Republic Cup — Super Trooper who finished second and Thriller in Manila who came fourth – have also been accepted to this 7th leg of the Sprinter Series which carries a stake purse of $7 000. The Breeders Sprint is the final leg of the Sprinter Series.

Super Trooper won this Breeders Sprint title last season ahead of Count the Music and six-year- old Arula Borealis who is also in the running for this year’s title. Count the Music is however not among the 2015 field and has not even been nominated for the race.

Ironically, it is seven-year-old Super Trooper himself who has been the most consistent in these short distant races compared to the other nine horses who will be on the course fighting to take home the $4 500 winner’s prize.

The seven-year-old has proved that age is no barrier to success in racing, especially as he has regularly galloped his younger rivals off their hooves in races of between 1 200 and 1 400 metres. He is expected to start off as a strong contender for the title.

A winner of the third leg of the Sprinter Series — the Zimbabwe Challenge — the South African bred horse also added to his collection of titles the 1 300 Merit Rated Handicap, the Ipi Tombe Stakes, and also beat the likes of Thriller in Manila and Gentle Brook over 1 200 metres.

The George Chenje groomed brown gelding is facing most of his serious challengers at equal weight, carrying 60kg, the same as Arula Borealis, Quick Glance, Thriller in Manila, Two Gun Kid, Eurakilon as well as Prince Fireball.

Only mares Equina and Gentle Brook, and the only Zimbabwean fielding in the race, Picallily, have weight advantage as they will be carrying 57kg. On top of the light weight, Picallily also has the advantage of being well drawn at three.

However, the Zimbabwean from the Alyson Wright yard needs to do more than what she has done in the past if she is to be taken seriously in this very strong competition.

Although Super Trooper will have Brendon McNaughton guiding him this time around, the Clifford Stud bred gelding has not had a regular jockey as trainer Ghokan Terzi has made him change from Wes Marwin, Mathew Thackeray, Chase Maujean and now back to McNaughton.

Coincidentally, it was through the hands of McNaughton that the son of West Man and Queen of Dance last won a race at Borrowdale Racecourse when he finished ahead of Thriller in Manila to win the 1 600 metre Ipi Tombe Stakes on March 15.

All the trainers at Borrowdale Park Racecourse except Kirk Swanson are represented in the Breeders Sprint with Amy Bronkhorst having the highest number of horses in the field. Apart from Thriller in Manila (4), Bronkhorst also sends out Equina (8) and Gentle Brook (9).

Corner Spies has Quick Glance (6) and Prince Fireball (7) while Ghokan Terzi also fields two, Super Trooper (1) and Eurakilon (2) who has had limited appearances at the home of Zimbabwe horse racing.

There is a place too for Sebastien D’Aquino who fields Two Gun Kid (5), Alyson Wright who has Picallily (10) and Bridget Stidolf who sends out Arula Borealis (3).

The second placed horse takes home $1 500 while the one that finishes third is guaranteed $938. There is $562 for the horse that finishes fourth although punters stand to get far much more than what is on stake for the horses.

Although the likes of Equina and Two Gun Kid have put up strong performances at Borrowdale Park, those have been over the longer distance. Statistics show that Super Trooper and Thriller in Manila have been well suited for events of 1 400 metres, and it would be too risky to ignore them for the title or for the places.

After the Breeders Sprint, racing will take a break and will return to Borrowdale Park Racecourse on September 5 with the staging of the Borrowdale Handicap which will be the first race for the 2015/16 season.

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