By Sheldon Hakata
ALL roads will, tomorrow, lead to the Borrowdale Race Course for the staging of one of Africa’s oldest horse races, the Castle Tankard.
A host of events, which will be capped by the draw of $150 000 jackpot, have been lined up for the prestigious tournament.
The Castle Tankard is one of the oldest sponsored horse race tournaments in Southern Africa and its early history provides a fascinating insight into origins of thoroughbred racing in Zimbabwe.
The Castle Tankard was conceived in 1959 and came of age in 1967.
The National Breweries came on board in February 1960 and offered to sponsor the tournament to the tune of 2 000 pounds sterling.
This led to the birth of the Castle Tankard on Easter Monday 1960.
The event has grown from strength to strength and has never lost its glamour or appeal throughout its history; establishing itself as one of southern Africa’s premier races, a status that has continued to this day.
This year’s Castle Tankard will be no exception.
The race course has become a place of relaxation for many of the country’s citizens, both young and old, who have come to love the sport.
The expected capacity crowd will also be entertained by a music gala.
As part of the tournament, The President’s Fund, through the Mashonaland Turf Club, launched the biggest lottery game in the country, the original ‘Genuine Lotto’, commonly known as the ‘Pink Lotto’, with sales having started on Monday, May 6 2019.
Mashonaland Turf Club chairman Gary Carter stressed that lotto is a charity game.
“You have to be in it to win it,” he said.
“I thank Delta Corporation Limited operations director Maxen Karombo personally for being such an advocate and believer of this sport of kings, Delta Beverages, as an organisation, for the continued support in these difficult and turbulent economic times, also the Delta team for staging the day with professionalism and enthusiasm.”
Delta Corporation general manager (Lagers) Dr Munyaradzi Nyandoro said the tournament has left an indelible mark on the country’s sporting fraternity and that it should continue to be supported by all stakeholders.
“The Castle Tankard has left a formidable mark to reckon with in our horse racing fraternity, stood the test of time, grown bigger and better every year and developed the communities around us through employment creation. It is a race with a history in our country,” said Dr Nyandoro.
He also said consumers were set to win big on the day and hailed the Mashonaland Turf Club for the race, pledging continued support for the sport.
A field of 16 runners have confirmed their participation.
Jockey Brendon McNaughton will be flying the Zimbabwean flag, riding Peggson, which carries a weight of 57,5kg in the main race.
Simona, Heir Line, Twilight Trip, Amsterdam, Knuckleball, Peggson, Freeq, Master ‘N Commander, Bush Pilot, Penny From Heaven, Roman Discent, Verdier, Solinski , Leven Point and Wolves Among Sheep will participate in the main race.
Bridget Stidolph yard will, as usual, bring the highest number of participants at seven while Kirk Swanson has five runners and Penny Fisher brings four.
With several runners in the main race, Stidolph is hoping one of her horses will hit the jackpot.
Stidolph-trained Roman Descent powered to victory in the 2018 Castle Tankard Feature Race at the Borrowdale Race Course ridden by Mathew Thackeray while shrugging a challenge from a field of 10 runners.