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The stage is set for the start of the Triple Crown with 13 horses passing the test to run in the first leg of the Crown — The Zimbabwe Guineas — that is set for Borrowdale Race Course this afternoon.

The Triple Crown is restricted to three-year-olds and an array of the country’s top three-year-olds including three major title holders have passed the test to take part in the 1 600-metre race.

Initially, the race had attracted 18 nominations, but five of them Atso’s Scheme, First Approach, Holdersteholder, Motivate Mambo and Snow Call failed to make it past the final acceptances stage.

The Grade Three Zimbabwe Guineas has stake money of $9 000 with the winning horse guaranteed of $5 400, but it is the punters that stand to get more should they be spot on in their choices.

The race reads like a “Who is who” among the three-year-olds with Zimbabwe Trial Guineas winner Mica Point (3) from Bridget Stidolph stable, Fillies Classic winner Print the Pounds (12), also from the Stidolph stable, as well as Champion Juvenile Stakes title holder Supa Challenge (1) from the Kirk Swanson yard are all staking their claim for the title.

There is also the presence of Alyson Wright’s Picallily (8) who has not been all that lucky finishing second three times in some of the major events gone by. The filly was second in the HIRB Gold Cup Spring behind On this Rock and also finished second in the Fillies Classic behind Print the Pounds.

She was also second behind Supa Challenge in the 1 200-metre Champion Juvenile Stakes, but Wright thinks she will be up there for the title this time around.

Another of the Wright’s top fielding is Tallie Two (9) for whom she has entrusted Francois Herhodlt to ride. Tallie Two won the ZRP Fillies Stakes ahead of seasoned Gentle Brook and Casey’s Dance and was also second behind Mica Point in the Zimbabwe Guineas.

This time the Julie Zieve bred daughter of Soar with Eagles is carrying 55,5kg and is not all that badly drawn at six and should be one of the gest challengers for the Zimbabwe Guineas.

There is also the threat of Amy Bronkhorst’s Young Antwun (2). The Zimbabwean bred won the 1 200-metre Jacaranda Free Handicap on November 2 beating both Picallily and Supa Challenge to the title as well as the highly rated Will Pays.

Young Antwun who will have top stable jockey Karl Zechner as the pilot is along with Supa Challenge, Mica Point, Merhaba (4) Zita (5), So Ruler (6) and Cornie Spies’ Amas Amat (7) are the top weights in the race as they will be carrying 58kg while the rest are 55,5 kg.

Unlike Supa Challenge who on top of the weight is badly drawn on the outside lane at 13, Young Antwun does not suffer from that disaantage as he is drawn at five.

There are places too for Ghokan Terzi’s Eversolucky (10) which will be ridden by champion trainer Quinton Riddle as well as Cornie Spies’ What About Me (11) and another of the Spies’ horses Autum j (13) who as usual will be guided by Fannie Chambers.

What is heartening in the first leg of the Triple Crown is the fact that there are more Zimbabwean horses in this field as the country contributes seven of them, Supa Challenge, Young Antwun, Mica Point, Zita, So Ruler, Picallily and Tallie Two.

This is more than half the field.

The second leg of the Triple Crown is the Bloodstock South Africa which will come on March 23 and was last season won by Lucky Sam who because of age will not be able to defend his crown this year.

But before that, there is the Breeders Champions Cup on March 6 which is the third leg of the Open Series. The Ipi Tombe Stakes which was supposed to have been the second leg of the Open Series has been put on hold.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard

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