CASTLE Tankard and OK Grand Challenge horse-racing events winner Yer Maan is back at the Borrowdale Park Race Course this Sunday bidding to claim a third local major honour in the form of the Republic Cup in one of the top three races in the country in terms of stakes, prestige and prolonged existence.
Veteran local jockey Quiton Riddle was the rider when South African-trained Yer Maan recently won the 27th OK Grand Challenge race as well as the Castle Tankard. Both will be back to try and finish ahead of another in an impressive field that also includes Equina.
Equina won the 2014 Ok Grand Challenge and the Castle Tankard before losing out to Zimbabwean horse Lucy Sam in the Republic Cup.
Also included in that field are Rushmore River, Super Trouper, Warcraft, Thriller in Manila, Gentle Brooke, Rock The Country, Two Gun Kid, Norgay, Menacing, Madigan and Diversify.
Four-year-old stallion Warcraft, who came third in this year’s Castle Tankard, is among the favourites for this race and is popular with punters.
The 19th edition of the race starts at 12.30pm and could turn out to be another epic contest, especially with Yer Maan, Equina and Warcraft in that field.
With US$40 000 at stake this year, the winner in the 13-horse field will claim US$24 000. The first runner-up will get US$8 000, while the second runner-up pockets US$4 000.
The Republic Cup is the third biggest horse-racing event on the local calendar after the OK Grand Challenge and the Castle Tankard in terms of stakes, prestige and longevity.
This edition, as with previous ones, will be broadcast on African television channels as well as in Europe and the Middle East.
The event, whose patron is President Robert Mugabe, is organised by the Republic Cup trustees who include Vice-President Emerson Mnangagwa, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Economic Planning minister Simon Khaya-Moyo as well as CEOs of Catercraft, Air Zimbabwe and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.
Oman business tycoon Kamal Khalfan, who is the Republic Cup board of trustees chairman and also vice-chairman of Mashonaland Turf Club founded in 1892, said preparations for Sunday’s tough race were going on well.
“Everything is on course for the Republic Cup which is a top event on the horse-racing calendar in the country; one of the top three after the Castle Tankard and OK Grand Challenge,” Khalfan said yesterday.
“Entry to the Borrowdale Park Race Course is free, except at the Ipi Tombe VIP Lounge.”
Ipi Tombe, foaled in October 1998 in Marondera, is a legendary Zimbabwean horse which won races locally and regionally before it was taken overseas.
Khalfan, who is also the honorary Oman Sultanate Consul in Harare, said the Republic Cup is always well-managed as it showcases the country’s sporting profile and way of life.
“It’s a big event which showcases Zimbabwe’s sporting profile locally, regionally and internationally. It will be shown on TV channels across Africa, the Middle East and Europe, among other regions,” he said.
“As a result, our stewards will oversee the event professionally, honestly and with integrity to ensure that all rules and regulations are followed by participants.”