Harare – Monday marks Zimbabwe’s 38th year of independence and the main race at Borrowdale on Sunday will be the Independence Trophy over 1600m.
It is a conditions event, which gives a fighting chance to horses usually hefting 60kg burdens in the constrained Zimbabwe racing programme.
Strictly at the ratings it is difficult to look past the recently imported Master Switch (Jarryd Penny) who carries 54kg and finds himself 6.5kg to the good of stable companion Ashton Park (Ryan Munger), the next highest rated horse in the field.
Master Switch will need to improve on his Zimbabwe debut, however, if he is to make his presence felt and any Fisher celebrations after the race are likely to be for his stable companion.
Mathematician (Brandon McNaughton) will think he is in heaven once the jockeys are legged up in the parade ring, as will not remember the last time he carried 54kg on raceday. He will give a good account of himself and must be included in all bets.
Race 1 on the card is a Juvenile Plate over 1000m due off at 12.40pm. Mia Finola (Calvin Habib) won the first “baby” race of the season in January. She has not been seen since but her gutsy fight that day impressed and she should get the better of her stable companion Opaque (McNaughton), one of two other winners in the race. Pas De Deux (Munger) also has claims and the betting should be watched on first-timer Party In The Park (Fransie Herholdt). Kirk Swanson has not had a juvenile runner yet and the fact that he is taking on winners with this one might be a signal.
Another first-timer from the Swanson stable, Yaqueen (Sherman Brown), need not be a superstar to win the Maiden Plate over 1000m – Race 2 on the card. This son of Bold Silvano could fight out the finish with Blue Label (McNaughton) and Epee (Munger) who returns to the straight.
Roy’s Sailor (Munger) has made the most of his relocation to Zimbabwe, winning two of his four starts and chances are the handicapper has not yet caught up with him. Watch this six-year- old in Race 3, a MR 55 Handicap over 2000m, where Placid Sea (Habib) should also make her presence felt. Philanthropy will enjoy the longer trip from draw No 1 and should be included.
The Stidolph stable should find the winner’s enclosure in Race 4 – a Maiden Plate over 1800m in which Kilowatt Kid (Chase Maujean) looks the horse to beat. Stable companion Hashtag Rounda (McNaughton) is getting closer with every run and should be included, along with Battle Cry (Herholdt) who might improve over this trip.
Heir Line (Brown) looks hard to oppose in Race 5, a Graduation Plate over 1600m. He is receiving 1.5kg from his closest rival, Peggson (Maujean), in spite of being rated 5kg higher and should open his Zimbabwe account after a poor debut over shorter. Peggson disappointed in the Bloodstock 2000 two weeks ago and could regain his better form in this class, although his weight-for-age allowance is not recognised in this Plate event. Designer Pot (Herholdt) looks safe for a place and warrants inclusion.
Race 7 is a MR 55 Handicap over 1260m and What A Dandy (Brown) has a chance to reclaim his better form. He appeared not to stay the Guineas trip and back up the straight should be included. Stable companion Switchblade (Herholdt) has decent recent form, while Silver Buck (Collen Storey) could follow up on his good win last time out.