EIGHT-year-old Captain’s Tiger leads a huge Zimbabwean presence in the 2015 edition of the 2 000 metre Breeders Champions Cup that takes centre stage at Borrowdale Race Course this afternoon.
By Michael Kariati
The son of Century Stand and Beautiful Life who has changed stables from the Kirk Swanson yard to the Alyson Wright stable, is one of the five strong Zimbabwean horses that have been nominated for the Breeders Champions Cup which has attracted 16 nominations.
The eight-year-old gelden has a very impressive record at Borrowdale including top three finishes in all his first five starts at the course and reaching 11 wins and 24 places in his first 43 races.
This means Captain’s Tiger was not placed in only eight of those races, something which can best be described as perfection by any sporting measurement.
In his first four starts with Sherman Brown as the pilot, Captain’s Tiger won two, finished second and third once, while in the other first finish, he had champion jockey Quinton Riddle guiding him.
Captain’s Tiger — who will be carrying 58kg — is the top weight in Breeders Champions Cup race but is well-drawn at six in a long distance event that favours good draws.
The Zimbabwean leads a host of other locals, including five-year-old geldens Kila Man and Forty One, four-year-old Heron Boy, as well as the filly Demitasse from the Bridget Stidolph stable.
Coincidentally, Stidolph also trains the other two Zimbabwean horses in the race — Forty One and Kila — and also sends out South Africa’s Menacing.
Conspicuous by his absence from the race is Ghokan Terzi’s Super Trouper who has taken a rest after a hectic period. The seven-year-old gelden was not nominated to take part in the race.
Also missing from this usual field is five-year-old Equina, the top horse of the year 2014 who has not regularly raced this season.
Equina has taken part in only two races, winning the Zimbabwe National Army Charity race before a disappointing sixth finish in the Champion Fillies Stakes.
But there are places in the Breeders Stakes for A King Is Born, who was the darling of Borrowdale Race Course in 2013 but failed to reproduce that Castle Tankard and OK Grand Challenge form last season.
A King Is Born, also from the Alyson Wright stable, will be carrying as little as 52kg, drawn at nine, should be a strong contender for the title. Wright also sends one of the older horses in the field in the form of the Argentina-bred Orbit War but the horse has failed to make an impression at Borrowdale.
South African trainer Dorrie Shame fields another of the top weights, Two Gun Kid, and the horse is a serious threat, which is the reason why he is carrying 58 kg to make him compete on equal terms with the others.
Both Ghokan Terzi and Kirk Swanson have lined up only two horses each, with Swanson opting for the highly experienced former Triple Crown winner Madigan as well as Copper Bay.
Amy Bronkhorst has favoured Gentle Brook and Supa Dupa for this long distance race but there are question marks on whether they will meet the challenge as they have become used to campaigning in sprint events.
The race has attracted a classy field but long distance normally fits the bill of the older horses and in this regard, Captain’s Tiger, A King Is Born and Two Gun Kid, should be up to the task.
The race is being sponsored to the tune of $9 000 and is coming as the first race on the cards.