A QUALITY field of 19 runners has been shortlisted for the 29th running of the prestigious OK Grand Challenge ahead of the unveiling of the final acceptances at the home of Zimbabwe horse racing, Borrowdale Park Racecourse tomorrow.
BY MICHAEL KARIATI
The nominations for the 1 800 metre race set for June 3 include Duffi’s Call from the Bridget Stidolph stable who took the 2016 OK Grand Challenge title ahead of Windigo, White Line Fever and Mathematician when ridden by local jockey Brendon McNaughton.
Duffi’s Call wants to make amends for time lost after the filly missed out of this month’s Castle Tankard following a last-minute scratching from the 14 horse line up a day before the event.
In fact, Stidolph has nominated a host of other possible title contenders in the form of Mathematician, who ran a strong third in the Castle Tankard, as well as Super Good, and the four-year-old Roman Disscent.
Also nominated for the OK Grand Challenge is Castle Tankard winner Comanche Brave from the Amy Bronkhorst stable.
Comanche Brave is bidding to become only the first horse in history to win the treble — the Castle Tankard, the OK Grand Challenge and the Republic Cup — three of the biggest races on the Zimbabwe horse racing calendar.
With the Castle Tankard already in the bag, the four-year-old gelding could put himself in a strong position to achieve that feat should he pass the final acceptances and win the OK Grand Challenge.
Royal Honour, who came a splendid second in the longer 2 000m Castle Tankard, has also been shortlisted and trainer Paul Matchett wants to go one up after that close finish behind Comanche Brave.
Eleven of the runners who took part in the Castle Tankard are also in the run for a place in the OK Grand Challenge and these include, the Penny Fisher trained Ashton Park, and Rock the Country, Eurakilon and the Zimbabwean Wylde Style from the Amy Bronkhorst stable, as well as Cool Solution who is handled by Kirk Swanson.
Swanson also lines up Fah Fee and Road to Dubai.
The other nominations are Newton Power and Life Is Good (Amy Bronkhorst), Barbarian, David’s Flower and Kevin Barry (Penny Fisher).
The OK Grand Challenge Castle Tankard is sponsored to the tune of $40 000, with $24 000 guaranteed for the winning connections. The other placings will receive $8 000, $4 800, $2 400 and $800 in the order of finish.