Five-year-old Borrowdale Race Course sensation Equina this afternoon returns for the 1 600 metre Ipi Tombe Stakes which is in honour of the legend of Zimbabwean horse racing, Ipi Tombe, who made headlines across the four corners of the globe.
By Michael Kariati
Equina has made only two starts at Borrowdale Race Course this season winning the Zimbabwe National Army Charity Handicap before a disappointing sixth finish in the Champion Fillies Stakes.
Since then, Amy Bronkhorst’s mare has not made an appearance at the home of Zimbabwean horse racing and her return sees her face the cream that Borrowdale Race Course has to offer.
The Karl Zechner-piloted horse is one of the 12 horses that have passed the final acceptance stage in a race that features one horse which has previously won the event. Six-year-old gelden Madigan won the contest in 2014 and is also a Triple Crown winner. The gelden is from the Kirk Swanson stable and will have former champion jockey Sherman Brown to guide him.
Captain’s Tiger, the 2013 winner of the Ipi Tombe Stakes had initially been nominated to race in this season’s contest but failed to get past the final acceptances, and was the only horse to not make it into the final field.
However, there is a place for Bridget Stidolph’s Lucky Sam who won the Republic Cup and the Bloodstock South Africa last season.
Stidolph is riding on the crest of a wave with Print the Pounds after winning the Fillies Classic as well as the Zimbabwe Guineas.
For the record, Stidolph is having her first year as a fully-fledged trainer having completed her apprenticeship under the guidance of champion trainer Lisa Harris in January.
Ironically, Stidolph also sends out Menacing which has been a very big disappointment at Borrowdale Race Course having campaigned in South Africa with distinction for almost four years.
Stidolph also lines up Alula Borealis and Lucky Sam who on top of a heavy 60kg is also badly drawn at 12. But the Republic Cup and Bloodstock South Africa winner has been in such a situation before and has come out roses.
Equina’s trainer Bronkhorst also has strong challengers in the form of Thriller in Manila and Gentle Brook, although these two have had successes in shorter events than the longer 1 600 metre race.
Just like Equina, Gentle Brook is carrying a light 57kg but Thriller in Manila has the disadvantage of being one of the top weights at 60kg, just alongside Ghokan Terzi’ Glorious Jet and Super Trouper.
Super Trouper, the seven-year-old son of West Man and Queen of Dance has been a revelation this season by dominating races of between 1 200 and 1 400 metres and should find the additional 200 metres not a problem.
Also carrying 60kg is the Sebastien D’Aquino trained Two Gun Kid, as well as Alyson Wright’s Orbit War and A King Is Born which will have Fannie Chambers on the saddle.
The field features some of the oldest horses at Borrowdale Race Course with the seven-year-old Super Trouper being the oldest while four-year-old Thriller in Manila is the youngest. The rest of the field is between the ages of five to seven years.