Home » Sports » Zimbabweans On the Downside in Tankard

It’s confirmed. Betting has opened for Zimbabwe’s biggest horse racing event, the $50 000 Castle Tankard to be run over 2 000 metres at Borrowdale Racecourse on May 16 with Zimbabwean bred horses on the downside on the opening of betting.

There are only two Zimbabwean horses in the race — Mighty Sha (14) and Killa Man (13) — and bookmakers have been honest enough in their assessment of the chances of the local horses and have placed Killa Man and Mighty Sha among the rank outsiders for this prestigious event.

Mighty Sha opened at 501 while Killa Man was at 251 as the bookmakers do not believe any of the two Zimbabwean horses can win this Grade One race.

Even Mashonaland Turf Club racing expert Adrien Nydam does not think the Zimbabwean horses stand a chance in this classy 15 horse field and instead picked on Glorious Jet (1), Thriller in Manilla (12) and Warcraft (9) for the trifectar.

But this was expected from a top class grouping that also includes a Vodacom Durban July hopeful in the form of three-year-old All The Bids (15) from the Cornie Spies stable.

The good news, though, is that punters stand to come out with huge financial pickings should they place their bets on Kirk Swanson’s Might Sha and Bridget Stidolph’s Killa Man is any of the two horses wins the race, or if both finish in the placings.

As is traditional, Delta Beverages marketing director Maxen Karombo was the first to place his bet and picked on the South African Norgay (7) who is making his first appearance in the Tankard.

In fact, the five-year-old Norgay is deemed too good to the extent that he has been placed among the favourites alongside Borrowdale Racecourse darling and defending champion Equina (4), Warcraft (9), and Rock the Country (10), all at 61.

The spotlight will obviously be on the 2014 star of the show — Equina. The Amy Bronkhorst-trained mare has had limited starts this season. However, after that Zimbabwe National Army Charity handicap title, and a credible fourth in the Independence Trophy, Equina should be up there for the Tankard.

Bronkhorst also finds herself with two other options in the form of another five-year-old mare Gentle Brook (8) and Thriller in Manila. The two have had their share of success at Borrowdale Racecourse this season with the four- year-old Thriller in Manila having been the more impressive.

“I cannot say which one is going to be crowned the champion. All of them have an equal chance and they are also of the same generation. What I just want is the Tankard to remain in my stable,” said Bronkhorst.

While Bronkhorst has tasted Castle Tankard before, for Bridget Stidolph, this is probably her biggest assignment since taking out a trainer’s licence in March. Stidolph offers a three horse challenge with the four-year-old gelding Lucky Sam the most likely stable Tankard champion.

The three-year-old son of Imperial Derby who was bred by Milkwood Stud was a champion in a year in which he won the Bloodstock South Africa, the Republic Cup and was second to Equina in the Tankard.

This season he won the Independence Trophy in his second outing as a four year old and was placed at 71 for the Castle Tankard title on opening day. “He is in good shape for the Tankard. He is well-suited to the distance,” said Stidolph who is enjoying a good run at Borrowdale Racecourse.

On top of Killa Man and Lucky Sam, Stidolph also sends out Menacing (11), the five year old son of Go Deputy who although carrying only 52kg is badly drawn at 15.

Super Trooper (5) from the Ghokan Terzi stable is at seven the oldest fielding in the race but the most consistent in the season so far. The son of West Man and Queen of Dance has been a revelation this season, dominating races of between 1 200 and 1 400 metres and also won the 1 600 Ipi Tombe stakes.

The 2 000-metre distance suits perfectly to horses of Super Trooper’s age as they require endurance, but unfortunately, the Super Horse is drawn wide at 13. However, Terzi said that is no obstacle.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard