Yer-maan galloped his rivals off their hooves to land the 12th top $30 000 prize in the $50 000 sponsored Castle Tankard before an enthusiastic crowd at Borrowdale Race course yesterday.
By Michael Kariati
The six-year-old son of Jam Alley found an opening in the final 200m and danced home with all his enthusiasm to record a comfortable victory over Lucky Sam, sending his backers smiling all the way to the bank.
To his connection that includes owner and trainer St John Gray as well as jockey Quinton Riddle, Yer-Maan gave $30 000 to share. Ironically, this was Yer-Maan’s first race in Zimbabwe as he pushed his record to nine wins and 10 placings in 35 outings.
St John Gray also becomes the second trainer from South Africa after Geoff Woodruff in 2011 to win the Tankard in the past four years.
Riddle was on cloud nine after winning the Tankard.
“I am the happiest man on earth, it’s every jockey’s dream to win the Tankard and today I am a proud winner,” said Riddle.
In fact, Riddle gave an assured performance on Yer-Maan after the gelding had not been placed among the favourites on 8/1 with four horses opening at 6/1 and one at 7/1.
All had not looked rosy for Yer-Maan as from the start it was Lucky Sam and Warcraft who changed the lead before Gentlebrook took control with 500m remaining. At the turn it was Warcraft who took the lead before the son of Australian horse Jam Alley proved that he was in a class of his own as he shot to the front.
The 6/1 Warcraft came out with a determined challenge but Yer-Maan came out strongly for the lucrative Castle Tankard title and the huge financial pickings on offer.
Focus now turns on the OK Grand Challenge to be run in June with the big question being whether Yer-Maan will emulate the achievement of Equina in 2014.
Equina won both the Tankard and the OK Grand Challenge and came closer for treble after finishing second in the Republic Cup.