All set for 52nd Castle Tankard

All is set for the 52nd running of the 2 000 metre Castle Tankard on Saturday where 18 horses will battle for the richest horse racing event on the Zimbabwe horse racing calendar.

Of the initial 19 starters, only Disco Al from the South African stable of Joey Ramsden has failed to make it to the final list but Ramsden will still be represented as he fields Coltrane the overwhelming favourite on the opening of betting.

The Argentina bred Coltrane who will be racing at Borrowdale race course for the first time was at 5/1 on the first day of betting and is heavily tipped to take the crown that is in the hands of A King Is Born.

The chances are the odds on Coltrane will go even stronger as we move towards race day. Although the horse which is coming from South Africa is one of the top weights at 58.5 kgs, just behind Madigan on 59 kgs and Arula Borealis at 60 kgs, he is well drawn in lane one and should fancy his chances of winning the oldest sponsored horse race in Africa.

Ramsden was not at the final acceptances but jockeys Lance Pagel who will be riding Approval Rating and Quinton Riddle who will be on Lisa Harris’ Arula Borealis as well as trainer Kirk Swanson admitted Coltrane poses a serious threat to their Castle Tankard title dream.

Swanson was singing the praises of his favourite horse Captain’s Tiger who this time will not be having Sherman Brown but will instead be ridden by Kevin Derere.

Captain’s Tiger who normally carries 60 kgs is lucky this time around with a weight of 57.7 kgs and a draw of five. With the odds at 14/1 Delta Beverages’ marketing director Maxen Karombo was the first to place his bet on the horse that finished third last year and fourth the previous year.

Swanson also fields Copper Bay, Ernie Or Else and former Triple Crown champion Madigan. But Madigan seems to have lost his way around the Borrowdale racecourse with disappointing performances so far this season. However in races like these anything can happen.

On top of Approval Rating, champion trainer Harris also sends out Menacing who is on 9/2 as well as the other Zimbabwean horse in the field Forty One. Forty One does not seem to have too many friends as he has been placed at 50/1 but should he hit the tape first, then those backing him will smile all the way to the bank.

Also at 50/1 is Paul Matchett’s Double Bind. Matchett, one of the oldest serving trainers at Borrowdale is a previous Castle Tankard winner but his success came way back in 2001 when he won the title with Hide Out.

Last year’s runner up Ginepri has opened at 33/1 the same going for Alyson Wright’s Orbit War and Star Dance from the Sebastien D’Aquino stable.

A King Is Born will be back to try to become the second horse in history after Taranaki in 1978 and 1979 to defend his title. A King Is Born was the horse to beat last season and has seen the bookmakers place him at 8/1 along with Rock The Country and Fillies Champion title holder Equina.

Amy Bronkhorst’ Gentle Brook is at 16/1 while Ghokan Terzi’s Super Trouper at 20/1 completes the line-up for the richest horse race at Borrowdale. The Castle Tankard is sponsored to the tune of $50 000 with the winning horse taking home $30 000.

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