Ipi Tombe Thriller On Cards

Hello From Harare

Equina wins the Castle Tankard

Two of Borrowdale Park’s favourite horses return to action today when they meet again in the US$ 12 000 Mercedes-Benz C Class Ipi Tombe Stakes (L) over 1600m, writes Sheldene Chant.

Equina, winner of the US$40 000 OK Grand Challenge (Gr2) and the US$ 50 000 Castle Tankard (Gr1) in 2014, has been on a three-month break.

Lucky Sam, winner of the Bloodstock  South Africa 2000 (Gr3) and the 2014 Republic Cup (Gr3), will be having his first start as a four-year-old.

This race, which honours the flying filly Ipi Tombe, has attracted an interesting line-up. If Lucky Sam and Equina strip racing fit it is hard to look past them but, if not, several former victims are waiting in the wings.

A new addition to Gokhan Terzi’s yard, Glorious Jet, by Jet Master out of an Elliodor mare, also deserves respect.

Two Gun Kid - yet to fire in Zimbabwe

Two Gun Kid – yet to fire in Zimbabwe

Seb d’Aquino will saddle Two Gun Kid for his second start in Harare.  This 7-time winner by Toreador didn’t shape in the 2000m Champion Breeders Cup but will probably prefer a 1600m trip.

In this Listed race the colts/geldings carry 60 kgs and the fillies/mares 58.5 kgs, but Apprentice Allowances may be claimed.  Glorious Jet with Apprentice Wes Marwing up will carry 58.5 kgs; Two Gun Kid ( Apprentice Diego de Gouveia) 56kgs, and Gentle Brook (Apprentice Serino Moodley) 53.5 kgs.

If we need yet another reason to be wary of Glorious Jet, this 7-time winner, in his last start at Turffontein on February 7, was a one length second to Sabadell in a Listed race over 1600m. Approval Rating, who is fondly remembered by Borrowdale punters, was 6.75 lengths off the winner and he would have support if entered here.

Approval Rating ran third to Sunday’s runner, Madigan, in the 2014 Ipi Tombe Stakes, at level weights.  That day Equina was second, beaten 1.75 lengths, and then she went on to greater things.  Unfortunately Kirk Swanson’s Madigan has been struggling to find his best form but perhaps, with Sherman Brown aboard, we will see a return of the old Madigan magic.

Equina’s stable companion Gentle Brook, with weight on her side, also comes into the picture.  A daughter of Windrush, the five-year-old has won seven races and seems to enjoy the 1600m trip. On January 10 she won a 1700m MR 80 Handicap with Menacing and Orbit War behind her, both receiving weight.  Gentle Brook won the 1800m Champion Fillies Stakes in November when the favourite, Equina (giving away 6 kgs) was unplaced and 5.60 lengths back.

Trainer Amy Bronkhorst has a strong hand with this pair and she will also saddle Thriller In Manilla. Quinton Riddle rides the speedy ‘Thriller’ who has yet to go beyond 1400m.

Gokhan Terzi’s Super Trouper, with four wins up the straight from his last seven starts, has clashed with Thriller In Manila from 1200m to 1400m recently, and has not raced around the bend for some time.  He was a well beaten ninth in the 1800m ZNA Charity Handicap won by Equina in October, with Menacing and A King Is Born trailing. Orbit War was sixth, 2.70 lengths off Equina.


Lucky Sam – with Gavin Lerena and Bridget Stidolph after winning the 2014 Bloodstock South Africa 2000

Bridget Stidolph will send out Alula Borealis as well as Lucky Sam and Menacing. Both Alula Borealis and Menacing are by Go Deputy (USA) and the former can’t be ignored at these weights as he is more often than not top weighted. However this 5-time winner, from 1400m to 1600m, has not won since December, 2013, when he beat Madigan over 1400m.

Last but not least are A King Is Born and Orbit War from the Gee Racing yard.  A King Is Born’s 5 wins from 1600m to 2000m include the 2013 Castle Tankard (Gr1) and the 2013 Republic Cup (Gr3).He was second to Equina in the 2014 Tankard.  In his last outing on February 8, in the Champion Breeders Cup, the Second Empire (IRE) gelding finished 6.5 lengths behind the winner Rock The Country.  Maybe we should remember that this horse likes to surprise.

Orbit War is now an eight-year-old.  He won five times in South Africa but hasn’t collected the first prize in his 18 starts in Zimbabwe. However he pops up from time to time –   second in the Breeders Champion Cup and fourth behind Gentle Brook on January 10. At these weights I don’t fancy him but one never knows.

If only Equina and Lucky Sam had a run under their belts it would be so much simpler, but it is probably the uncertainty that will make this a great race

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