Africa’s Best Attended Racing Event

Hello From Harare

Quinton Riddle and Yer-Maan – Rosemary Dorward

Quinton Riddle and Yer-Maan – (Pic: Rosemary Dorward)

Talk about horses for courses!  It would appear OK Grand Challenge winner Yer-Maan has come into his own at Borrowdale Park and there is no stopping this six-year-old son of Jam Alley (AUS). The St John Gray owned and trained gelding won the US$50 000 Gr1 Castle Tankard run over 2000m on May 16 and on Saturday collected the coveted US$40 000 Gr2 OK Grand Challenge, an 1800m event, writes Sheldene Chant.

The next big race at Borrowdale is the Republic Cup (GR3) over 1900m due to take place on July 11.

The question is whether Yer-Maan and his stable companion, Norgay, will still be around to contest it – and if they are I am not going to waste a lot of time working out the likely winner. Yer-Maan ran off a 103 MR in the OK and the Benchmark is MR 102 in the Republic Cup, maximum weight 61 kgs.

Since arriving in Zimbabwe, shortly before the Tankard, Yer-Maan and Norgay have been stabled in Gokhan Terzi’s yard.  Gokhan saddled Rock the Country placed third in Saturday’s race, and according to the Stipendiary Report his charge was slow away, losing half a length at the start.

pic28145The only locally bred horse in the race, Thriller In Manila, also deserves mention.  Just after the 400m mark it looked, for one glorious moment, as if the four-year-old Gharir (IRE) gelding would be victorious but Yer-Maan, with Quinton Riddle in the irons, found a gap and the rest is history.  Thriller In Manila is trained by Amy Bronkhorst who also saddled Equina, placed fourth.

Lucky Sam stayed in close contention with the early leader, Norgay, but Randall Simons eased him out of the race at the 1200m mark.  After the race nothing untoward was found, but on Monday trainer Bridget Stidolph reported  “he is not 100% – there is a problem behind and I am waiting for the Vet’s to come and check him.  It looks to be muscular and hopefully not to serious.”

Madigan was also stalking the front runners but Francois Herholdt reported him unbalanced from the 400m mark.  The veterinary surgeon found slight lameness on the right fore.

Warcraft who was tote favourite, finished 9th, just behind Norgay, 5,75 lengths back

Once again OK Grand Challenge Day lived up to expectations – a huge crowd, spectacular prizes, a great race and plenty of entertainment. I only hope a couple of thousand out of the over 70 000 people who attended on Saturday are now hooked on racing.

Unfortunately the next Borrowdale Park race meeting is not until June 28.  Probably not the way to keep up the momentum and increase the fan base.

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